Although I still fall prey to it – I think I have been able to manage my spending to a point where I really don't care what type of house I live in, what kind of car I drive or the clothes I wear (of course, this is all relative. I certainly wouldn't enjoy living in a shed or driving a rusty 1970 station wagon).
I have to admit, this wasn't always the case.
My first big car purchase proves my desire to impress others. I bought it in the hopes of “looking cool” and being seen as more wealthy than I was. I chalk it up as a $16,000+ impression cost.
There are many folks who have been equipped with adequate self-confidence where they don't go seeking approvals by outside means.
Then there are those – like myself – who have struggled with the self-confidence and have looked for outside means as a way to conjure good will or to “get you to like me”.
We humans are pretty creative. And some of the most creative are people I have worked with for over 12 years: marketers. These folk spend their day trying to convince you and me that our lives aren't adequate enough. That more is better and the latest and greatest will put you on top (on top of what is never really determined).
I don't believe all marketers are bad. They are trying to do their job – sell a product they believe in (hopefully) which will improve your life (hopefully). The bad marketers are those who do just the opposite.
There are countless ways we have conjured up over the years to impress our fellow man/woman. Among those we tend to spend the most time/money on:
- Appearance (make-up, jewelry, stylists, etc)
- On and on
It's not cheap impressing others. And, if you play the game long enough – you will find that it is never-ending. You'll never impress enough or be satisfied with the impression you are making.
Why do we care so much?
It's very hard to escape the impression-seeking mentality. Unless you live in the jungle or the woods by yourself, we are all surrounded by others. When you see what others have or who they “present” themselves as – it's easy to compare. I agree with Theodore Roosevelt: comparison is often the thief of our joy.
But sometimes if we don't “keep up with the Jones'” we are left out (another marketing ploy). No one likes that feeling. Obviously, in today's culture, if you don't have a cell phone – you are “left out”. If you don't watch tv – you be “left out” of certain conversations. If you don't hang with a certain social crowd or experience the latest restaurant – you're “left out” or “not in the know”.
But, all these things cost us – both personally and monetarily.
How much are impression costs setting you back?