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How To Be Much less Materialistic: 5 Easy Actions

We’ve reached a tipping level — with over half of the world’s population being middle class or wealthy

For those who’re studying this, you’re possible within the prime proportion by way of wealth and privilege. Gaining access to extra discretionary revenue means you’re probably the most susceptible to the lure of materialism.

Even if you happen to suppose you’re not a materialist, the delicate influences of wanting to slot in and show your self to your friends can sneak up on you.

Most of us have the need for standing and respect. And I’m not right here to inform you that’s mistaken. 

Nevertheless, an excessive amount of materialism is without doubt one of the extra dystopian advents in humankind. 

The distinction in priorities is surreal.

Proper now, somebody is making an attempt to select the right color for a $3,650 Valentino purse. On the similar time, one other particular person is begging for a pair of first rate sneakers. 

Preserve this angle in thoughts as we work by the that means of materialism earlier than entering into some methods on tips on how to be much less materialistic. 

What’s materialism?

Materialism is broadly thought of a unfavourable attribute, worth or behaviour related to shallowness and greed. Collins Dictionary defines materialism because the perspective of somebody who attaches significance to cash and desires to own numerous materials issues.

You in all probability know folks in your life who’re addicted to purchasing branded clothes, automobiles, dwelling decor after which desperately wish to showcase their new issues. It’s the unstated flex that screams, “have a look at me, I’m profitable, and I even have style”. 

What’s extra, these of us who don’t have these issues might develop envy in direction of people who do — exacerbating a cycle of extra materialism. 

And materialism goes far past our issues. It additionally feeds our wishes for improved standing and respect in society’s ladder. 

Materialism can manifest in what neighbourhood we wish to stay in, what college you attend, your job title and even how “good wanting” your partner is (even when deep down you don’t love them). 

Materialism will quickly exist in digital actuality as we glance to show ourselves within the digital world with digital possessions. I’m you, Metaverse!

Metaverse promo video

For those who really feel the necessity to showcase your issues or standing, which drives you to hunt “higher issues” for exterior validation, you then’re a materialist. 

Hear: 🗣 What You Do For Work Is Not Your Identity – Episode 069

I’ve been there (and nonetheless battling). After I was an actual property agent, all I wished was to make 1,000,000 {dollars} a yr and purchase property, have good fits and drive costly automobiles. 

A part of my motivation was to push myself to develop, however one other a part of me wished to point out others how “profitable” I may change into — as a result of it’s these metrics that outline success in society.

It wasn’t till I got here throughout minimalism that I flipped the equation of success on its head. To pursue much less as an alternative of extra and go inside, not outward to outline my self-worth.

The problems with materialism

In response to psychology professor Tim Kasser, materialism is related to treating others in additional aggressive, manipulative and egocentric methods whereas being much less empathetic. 

It’s this vitality of “I’m higher than you” or “settle for me!” that underscores the materialistic mentality. 

However the place does this motivation come from?

Professor Kasser argues that individuals are extra materialistic when uncovered to messages that extra is best, whether or not by dad and mom, associates, society, or the media.

One other issue is of us are extra materialistic once they really feel insecure or threatened due to rejection, financial fears and even ideas of mortality. 

That’s rather a lot to digest…

Does this imply our need for extravagant issues is all dangerous? Not essentially. Extra on that subsequent.

The hyperlink between materialism and motivation

Good or dangerous materialism comes all the way down to your motivation. 

Intrinsic motivation is doing one thing for its inherent satisfaction, whereas extrinsic motivation is doing one thing due to an exterior trigger like avoiding punishment or receiving a reward.

Being extrinsically motivated to amass issues and standing is linked to materialism. If you buy an costly plate set since you wish to present them off to your finest buddy once they come over for dinner is an instance of unfavourable materialism. 

However if you happen to purchase a pleasant plate set since you get pleasure from utilizing them within the absence of anybody else even realizing, then that’s constructive materialism. 

Your plate set can be seen as a beneficiant act the place your family and friends get to get pleasure from utilizing it.

One other instance is shopping for a Lamborghini since you love nothing greater than to take your automotive out for a drive each Sunday afternoon. It’s your ardour. 

In the identical vein, you could possibly purchase a Lamborghini to point out your buddies you’ve got a Lamborghini; due to this fact, you’re “profitable”.

You see your favorite musician at a live performance however spend most of your time capturing footage and pictures to share on social media for extra likes and views as an alternative of being current and having fun with the efficiency. Or, if you happen to do seize footage, it’s to document the recollections for your self and your family members, not for social validation.

Among the finest moments I’ve had is once I’ve been on an extended and aggravating transit, after which I get to test into a pleasant resort. At that second, I couldn’t care much less about impressing anybody. I simply desire a good heat bathe, cable TV and order room service with my spouse. 

As you may see, the road between whether or not we’re intrinsically or extrinsically motivated for materials experiences is blurred. And infrequently we’ve got one foot in each camps. 

We get pleasure from driving the Ferrari as a lot as we get pleasure from displaying it off. In consequence, we justify our unfavourable materialistic tendencies with our constructive ones. We inform ourselves we’re doing this for ourselves, whereas at coronary heart, we’re additionally doing it to show ourselves to others.

One other factor to think about is what’s the morally applicable stage of materialism? Do well-known folks want mansions? What’s sufficient when others are struggling to outlive? Frankly, I don’t know. 

But one factor is clear. We’re wired to be a part of a group. 

So it’s impractical to eradicate materialism. However we are able to actually attempt to be much less materialistic. 

Simpler mentioned than achieved. Let’s have a look at some methods to assist.

5 tricks to be much less materialistic 

Under are actions that can assist you maintain your materialistic tendencies at bay. Some methods are obvious, whereas others are extra nuanced. Both means, small and constant adjustments will make important progress over time. 

1. Outline how a lot cash you must be fulfilled 

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton presented a study in 2010 arguing that cash doesn’t purchase happiness after a $75,000 wage.

Nevertheless, a recent study in 2021 confirmed that prime salaries are prone to result in extra happiness. The massive purpose is wealthier folks are inclined to have higher well being which is an enormous contributor to happiness.

Moreover, the wealthy can afford to pay for extravagant experiences and create extra free time, which considerably impacts our well-being. 

However. There’s a giant however right here. We have to take into account relative deprivation. 

Relative deprivation is the notion that the specified useful resource (e.g., cash, social standing) is lower than some comparative normal.

As an example, if we are able to preserve the identical lifestyle as these round us, we expertise increased ranges of wellbeing. But when we are able to’t, then we really feel dangerous about ourselves.

The results of relative deprivation can affect our happiness no matter our monetary scenario. You can be in poverty, a scrappy faculty pupil, a nicely paid skilled — and nonetheless really feel shitty in case your revenue and belongings aren’t on par with these round you — an apparent symptom of materialism.

The one means ahead is to outline what’s “sufficient” for you, unbiased of your group. That is, in fact, solely when you’ve made sufficient revenue to satisfy your fundamental wants. 

To be taught extra, try our put up about how we used the ideas of minimalism to get out of debt and outline our sufficient quantity. 

2. Scale back (or redirect) the time you spend with materialistic folks

As Jim Rohn as soon as mentioned, you’re the typical of the 5 folks you spend probably the most time with. For those who hang around with materialists, you’ll change into one.

This isn’t to say you must minimize significant relationships out of your life. We’re all multi-dimensional, so see if you happen to can redirect your interactions together with your materialistic relationships to different areas of life. 

For instance, if one among your favorite issues to do is store on-line together with your finest buddy, see if you happen to can change that point with taking on a enjoyable out of doors exercise collectively as an alternative.

Suppose materialism has totally consumed a relationship — to the purpose the place you’re feeling envious or aggressive. In that case, it is likely to be value quickly taking a step again to see the way it makes you’re feeling. Then slowly reintegrate the connection when you’re assured in your motivations. And hey, possibly your actions will rub off on others over time. 

3. Declutter your areas

Decluttering is without doubt one of the most liberating actions you are able to do. Whether or not it’s your own home, workplace or automotive, eliminating pointless junk will increase readability, psychological wellbeing and productiveness. 

However extra importantly, decluttering shines a light-weight on how a lot stuff you don’t want, so that you’ll suppose twice subsequent time you’ve got the urge to amass one thing. 

With that mentioned, decluttering isn’t a assured components to overcoming materialism. Litter-free surfaces, i.e. the minimalist aesthetic, could be a type of materialism in itself. Once more it comes all the way down to your motivation. Are you decluttering to really feel higher, or are you doing it to point out off an aesthetic? 

For those who’re enthusiastic about studying extra, try our information on how to declutter your home

4. Evaluate your media consumption 

Past who we all know, the data we eat has a monumental impression on our materialistic behaviours. 

Psychologists Jean M. Twenge and Tim Kasser did a study monitoring how materialism modified in U.S. highschool seniors over a few many years — linked to adjustments in nationwide promoting spend. 

They discovered that the materialistic tendencies of scholars had been predictable based mostly on how a lot the U.S. economic system was spending on promoting and advertising and marketing. In different phrases, the extra promoting within the economic system, the extra materialistic the youth had been. 

To beat the highly effective drive of promoting, we have to evaluate what kind of media we eat and the way usually we eat it. 

The media’s enterprise mannequin offers content material for “free” then monetises the eye by promoting and sponsorships. Examples embody tv, radio, social media, blogs (like this one), video streaming and magazines. 

Inserted advertisements on these platforms are extremely efficient. Particularly if you happen to’re contemplating a services or products, and it proceeds to comply with you across the web. 

However even then, we’ve change into fairly adept at tuning out these advertisements.

Maybe the media that’s much more highly effective is product placement or model sponsorships. 

That is the place an influencer — suppose a social media character, a well-known particular person, YouTuber and so on. endorses a product. A lot of these advertisements create an immense need to amass.

You look as much as these folks so not directly through the use of a product they help; you’ll really feel extra linked with these of us or really feel like your life extra intently resembles their lives. 

Figuring out these triggers, we are able to curate what media we eat rigorously. As an example, spending 2-5 hours a day watching your favorite TikToker’s and Instagramers stay otherworldly lives is probably going making you’re feeling envious. And envy is a pathway to materialism. 

Does this imply you shouldn’t eat any media? In fact not. However there’s one thing to say about lowering time spent consuming media that instantly makes you extra materialistic. 

Learn: Social Media Minimalism: 7 Simple Steps To Get Started

5. Set micro service objectives (with out expectations or ego)

Materialism represents selfishness, manipulation and envy. Conversely, being of service represents selflessness, honesty and generosity. 

Serving to others has been linked to elevated vanity, decrease stress ranges, an extended life expectancy, much less melancholy and total happiness and satisfaction. 

The answer is clear, spend extra time serving others and watch your materialistic habits go down. 

This doesn’t imply overwhelming your self with making an attempt to resolve world starvation tomorrow. Begin with small service objectives. Listed below are some concepts to get you began: 

  • Do a 30 day no spend problem with a buddy, and the reward is to donate $50 every to your favorite charity.
  • E-book your self in for a fundraising walkathon or marathon.
  • Schedule each second Saturday morning to volunteer at your native animal sanctuary. 
  • Plant a tree in your space each quarter. 
  • Supply your specialised expertise totally free to a consumer in determined want.

Being of service is a superb technique to fight materialism. Nevertheless, serving to others than telling folks you’ve helped others in itself is a type of materialism. Once more, as a result of our motive on this context is exterior, not inner. It’s arduous to get away from it, isn’t it? 

So I problem you that whenever you follow service, do it with out the expectation of recognition. Over time, you’ll focus extra on the folks you’re making an attempt to assist and fewer on the folks you’re making an attempt to impress.

The right way to be much less materialistic

Keep in mind, whenever you’re feeling the itch to amass one thing, test your motivation. Is it coming from a spot of inner satisfaction, or does exterior validation drive you?

When you’ve acquired a deal with in your motivation, then it’s about making use of the ideas on this put up. On that word, which one of many methods resonated with you probably the most? What else do you do to be much less materialistic? Add your voice to the dialog within the feedback beneath. 

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