Wednesday, 03 August 2016 15:33

Toys and Gadgets Are Just The Means To An End

Most guys I know (myself included) love gadgets, tools and toys. 

These items of desire are often mistaken as the prize at the end of saving money, sacrificing a Starbucks coffee every morning, and working long extra hours to buy whatever it is that your heart desires. The problem is that being able to buy things isn't the prize.

For over a year, I was pretty wild about quadcopters and drones. I have ten of them sitting on my shelf at home. I loved saving up and buying them, but about a month ago, I came to a startiling realization... Buying drones wasn't what was making me happy at all. In fact, even though I like them, and like the fact that I do own some now, it never was really what I was looking for.

Thinking back to when I was a child, the same thought was true.

voltron lionsIt was Christmas in the mid '80's. I was additcted to a cartoon that came on every afternoon, Voltron. In the toy stores, they had all the robot lions (if you haven't seen the show, just bear with me... what the toy is isn't what is important here).

I wanted those Voltron lions soooo bad it hurt. Every other kid had them, and they brought them to school and were playing with them.

The rich kid, Charlie, was the first to have a full set because his parent's just went out and bought him all of them. He was the envy of all the other boys in class.

The rest of us had to either beg our parents or work our asses off to buy just one lion.

It took me three months to buy just one lion (the red lion) by doing odd jobs around the house for my pinch-penny dad.

When I purchased the lion at the toy shop downtown, I was the happiest kid alive... but there was a problem. I needed the other four lions in order to transform them into the giant robot.

To make a long story short, I realized about two months in to earning money for the second lion that it was pretty much futile. It would take me almost two years to earn enough to buy the rest of them. The thought completely deflated my interest and drive, and so the lion went on to my shelf, never to be played with again.

It's Not The Toy That's The Prize...

All too often we think that being able to by something is the answer. Whether it be a new iPhone or a new car, we're trained to think that amassing stuff is the key to happiness, when in reality it's not. Objects are immaterial.

Think about it in a different perspective: We've all been the victim of a salesperson. Their job is to swing our emotions and make us desire whatever it is they're selling enough to buy the product or service. While I will argue that price is NOT secondary if you just don't have the means, it can be temporarily overshadowed by desire until reality sinks back in.

By the same token, when it's something that we already are convinced we must have, and we actually purchase it, a sense of joy -- however brief, takes over. 

What we actually crave is the euphoria and excitement, not the toy.

Think about it...

When you buy something that you want, it's at the very least, mildly exciting.

Sometimes we can't wait to get home to open whatever it is up, and do so in the car while still sitting in the shop's parking lot. The item has a certain appeal for a while, but then you're back to looking for something new to buy...

Why?

Because you're actually buying the excitement.

So what I've started realizing is that buying the drones, or any other gadget for that matter is just superfluous, and what I really wanted all along was having some excitement in my life. 

Once I realized that, Buying things didn't seem as special and fun anymore. On top of that, I realized what I'm actually lacking is that excitement.

I crave excitement now, and am looking for ways to fulfil that need rather than to waste money on buying things I don't actually need or want.

The problem that most of us face is that the excitement does come at a price.

Take a moment and think about all the things that excite you. What are they? Write them down.

Now, cross off every item on your list that costs money to obtain, either directly (like plane tickets if you love world travel) or indirectly (a membership to a golf club so you can enjoy your time golfing). I bet your list has dwindled down to almost nothing.

The one thing that seems to be on everyone's list that costs absolutely no money (between a loving couple) is sex. A few people that I tested this out on were left with sex as the only thing left on their list.

The Items You Buy Are Just A Means To An End

By now, I hope that you see that it's not the things money can buy that bring happiness, it's the state of euphoria or excitement that really are what people describe when they want happiness. We are programmed to think that buy buying something (usually expensive), we will be happy, and this works because you do have that feeling of excitement or happiness in acquiring something new for a while.

But...

What happens when you buy something and you don't get that euphoric feeling? Perhaps it's because you spent too much money, or maybe it's because you know you should have discussed it with your spouse first... Whatever the case, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about...

Buyer's Remorse

Buyer's remorse is nothing more than the loss of that excitement or euphoric feeling, if it was there at all.

Your brain realizes that you don't actually want the product or service, and your conscious mind realizes that life isn't any better whether you have the product or not

The realization of this truth has really made me think about what I was buying when out shopping or online looking for something new. 

In fact, I feel the need to aquire stuff a lot less knowing it's just the desire for excitement, and it's made me really evaluate what I want out of life to get to a level of excitement about something that will last longer than the immediate moment.

Strangely enough, it's also curbed my desire for sex, even though I wouldn't turn it down. :D I find that just knowing that it's a euphoria, when I can't seem to get none (which is a lot these days), I can actually replace it with doing other things that bring satisfaction and excitement to my life.