We do not search for things in life, we search for what we believe those things will give us. A house can be stability and security, a phone might be attention and friendship, and a high end job can be for prestige, dominance and respect. Of cause, each item means different things for different people, though it can be very obvious where the marketers are leading us. Clothing for females can be aimed at elegance and professionalism, whilst a wrist watch worn by George Clooney can be aimed at confidence, maturity and independence.
The equation works like this…
I need to feel sexy. Angelina Jolie is sexy. Angelina is on TV advertising a perfume where guys are drooling over her. The perfume therefore will make me feel sexy. I will buy the perfume.
Interestingly enough, if we dig deeper and ask what these ‘things’ give us, and we keep asking that same question for each answer we respond with, the final result is inevitably happiness. And this is why many people when asked ‘what is the meaning of life?’ state happiness as their answer. Let’s do another quick equation.
I need the new Iphone. By being the first to have it I will be popular. I want to be popular because I want to be respected by others. I want to be respected because I don’t believe people respect me which makes me frustrated. I get frustrated because I feel helpless to do anything about it. I feel helpless because I don’t have control. If I had control I would feel more independent and strong. If I had independence and I felt strong I would be happy.
At the end of the day we just want to feel good and for some people this constant gauntlet of purchasing works for them. Yet it doesn’t work for everyone. Many find emptiness within this way of life and end up either getting depressed or quitting their job and booking a random flight. But the problem isn’t the items or the marketer’s. It’s that we think we need to purchase these items to feel satisfied and happy.
So what I am saying here is that we are not searching for things. We are searching for emotions. Therefore we are seeking what we believe those ‘things’ will give us because we are lacking the emotions we perceive they represent. Yet saying that we lack emotions is not a truth. The emotions are always within us at any time, we simply don’t focus on them. We focus on the emptiness and this is where we begin our cycle of addiction and dependence.
If I have confused you please, quickly get a can of coke from the fridge and it will make you feel better.
To finish off this line of thought it is worth remembering that once we own some ‘thing’ it can also own us as well. Thing’s can cause us harm when we lose them, when someone steels them or when they lose their value to us (emotionally and physically). And most times we don’t even need to lose the item. The thought that someone might come along and steel our ‘thing’ can give us fear, and fear is an emotion which can get to the core of a person’s ego. We will dive more into this in a later chapter.
So what does this all have to do with the future and goal setting? To find out the answer to this we have to look at one of the great Australian dreams, owning a house.