I recently upgraded from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 8 (I know, it’s no iPhone XS you boujee people). For some reason, whenever I get a new phone, I think it is going to magically solve all of my problems. I somehow believe a longer battery life and…ummm yeah that’s pretty much it…will make me a 100x more productive and thus a 100000x happier. And I actually was a lot more productive and happier right after I got my new iPhone – I made myself a to-do list on it and then proceeded to do almost everything on it! But, as you can guess, the iPhone high quickly wore off.
Now, I wake up in the morning and don’t think twice about the beautiful piece of technology sitting next to me that acts as a really annoying alarm clock and secretly listens to everything I say. I’ve grown used to having a slowly dying but longer battery life and an uncracked screen. It’s no longer special to me. No longer appreciated. No longer treasured.
Yes, I know this all sounds very silly (because it is). But, I’m sure you have all experienced similar feelings. Whether it’s a new phone, new shoes, new clothing, a new car, a new house, or whatever new thing that you felt like you really NEEDED in your life, its effect always wears off. It may make you happier for some time, but eventually you adapt to the change it brings to your life. It becomes normal to you.
So what’s the big deal? Sure, things can only bring us temporary happiness, but that’s better than nothing, right? Unfortunately, materialism can actually have a severe negative impact on our personal well-being. According to psychologist Tim Kasser, research consistently shows that “the more that people value materialistic aspirations and goals, the lower their happiness and life satisfaction and the fewer pleasant emotions they experience day to day.” He also notes how depression, anxiety, and substance abuse tend to be higher among people with materialistic values (you can read here to learn more about the research linking materialistic values to less life satisfaction).
The bottom line – things aren’t the answer. Things won’t fill up that hole in your heart. Things won’t solve your problems. Can things be useful? Can they make life easier? Yes, of course. But, don’t expect an overpriced chunk of metal to fill every one of your needs and desires the next time you go to the Apple store. A pet rock would probably do just as well.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my silly thoughts. Would appreciate any feedback you have, good or bad, nice or mean. Send in recommendations on topics you’d like to hear about too! Hopefully this was helpful and I am always happy to chat! Stay Wayvy my friends! (Also, life update, just started graduate school in sunny Pasadena, California this week. The weather is great, thanks for asking.)