Five Better Ways to Measure Your Life
Today I am honored to be guest posting on BecomingMinimalist.com!
This world is obsessed with measuring up. Research shows we are exposed to thousands of advertising messages every day—and hidden inside each of those ads is a mistruth: “You don’t measure up until you buy our product.”
Ad agencies are good. Real good. They know how to sneak into our psyches and change the story we tell ourselves. Before long our brains begin to believe their lie—that our lives can be measured by what we buy, wear, drive, and live in. And while their bottom line bursts at the seams, the consumer is broke—financially and otherwise.
Measuring up is breaking us up.
This NY Times article from 2008—written during the Great Recession—shows how powerful a slogan like, “Live Richly” can be. It even contributed to the housing bubble that negatively impacted so many lives.
“It’s very difficult for one advertiser to come to you and change your perspective,” said Sendhil Mullainathan, an economist at Harvard who has studied persuasion in financial advertising. “But as it becomes socially acceptable for everyone to accumulate debt, everyone does.”
Everyone does it, so that makes it okay. As a culture, we begin to measure our lives by the things we can buy, because others are buying it too.
The simple life is not immune to these advertisements. And we aren’t immune to the struggle of measuring our life by standards that contradict the way of simplicity. The nature of today’s world, being in constant reach of advertising through screens and print, demands our intentionality of focus on the true measures of life.