Simplify By Harnessing Your Urge To Get Ahead

Peter's picture

It is difficult to maintain a simple lifestyle when we are surrounded by others who don't. It is tough not to get the latest and greatest when everyone else is getting it. It can be one of the hardest aspects of getting started with simplification in your life and can sometimes cause you to give up. Our desire to compete with others and to compare our situation with others is deeply rooted in our genetic make up. However, by looking at things slightly differently, we can take full advantage of this natural impulse to get ahead to keep us going down the road to simplicity.

Changing The Rules

We all have a natural tendency to want to compete, to want to win. It's perfectly natural to feel this way. In our current consumer society one of the ways we compete with each other is by comparing our possessions and our positions to those of others. Bigger is better. More is better. Newer is better. Higher is better. So when we decide that we want to cut back on our spending or leave work in time to make it home for supper with our families, it can feel like we are losing the race.

We are losing the race. We're losing the race that doesn't matter though. You see, everyone is in the wrong race! They've got it all wrong and they haven't noticed yet. The real race is the one to financial freedom. It's the race to a more satisfying and more fulfilling way of life. So, let's give into our competitive side and use this to our advantage to really get ahead. Let's play by these better rules and win.

Keep Comparing

You can keep comparing yourself with others to check how you are doing, but now we are looking to see how we are doing in this new race. The new race is much different than the old one.

Now, instead of feeling like you've been left behind when you don't have the newest and biggest TV, you can feel like you are getting ahead. By reducing your expenses and investing your hard earned money, you are getting closer to financial freedom. You are getting ahead.

Next time you leave the office with enough time to be home for supper, you can feel like you are getting ahead. You are investing your time in your family and yourself instead of investing your time in an unsatisfying career that you don't really enjoy. You are getting ahead while everyone else works for their bonuses.

We've All Got A Choice

I'll admit that I don't always like to relish victory over others when the stakes are so high. We are talking about people's happiness and people's futures. So, don't rub it in too much if you get it and other people don't. No one likes a gloater. Maybe instead you could even divulge some of your competitive advantage secrets.

Give them a chance. Let them know that you are playing by a new set of rules. You are shooting for financial freedom. You are looking to live the life you want not the one that everyone else thinks you should live. We've all got a choice. If they decide that they like the new rules better they can make the necessary changes in their lives. If they like the old rules better then that is also their choice.

Final Thoughts

So next time you have the urge to buy a fancy doodad try to remember that you are playing by different rules now. The way to get ahead in the new game is to cut back on the things that don't matter and focus on what does matter. Instead of feeling left behind, feel like a winner.

I'm always amazed at how clear things can become with just a small change of perspective. In this case we don't fight the rules, we just change them! Now we're really off to the races only this time they're the right races.


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Hey! Great post. The

Hey! Great post. The comparison thing is probably what gets so many people into trouble. You hear this conversation at work all the time with "what kind of house Nancy lives in" and "what kind of Beamer I want." It's all about feeling that to be financially successful one has to "look the part" and show off. Of course, the truth is that this doesn't make anyone any happier.

I got to your blog via the simple living forums (I'm MikeFromMarz on the forums.) I've "met" some really great people on these forums! Good to know we aren't alone.

Peter's picture

Mike: Hi! Thanks for

Mike: Hi! Thanks for dropping by! Yep, you've got it right. The satisfaction you get is very short lived when you seek happiness by getting more stuff. Part of the problem is that your "goal" is a moving target since everyone is always getting more stuff too. That's why I like to "change the rules" a bit!

Yes, the Simple Living forums are a very nice place with lots of like minded people. I see our blogs also have a similar theme of "escaping" the 9 to 5 grind.

Good luck and I'll see you around!

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