I often hear that life has become more complicated and difficult. And I often hear complaints about the outrageous and increasingly unaffordable prices of many items. Indeed, all are true claims as we all feel such pains.
But how can we put a limit to this situation or at least push back against some of those unnecessary items that we purchase anyway? And maybe thus reduce the stress that is resulting from our overspending? The manipulation of the marketers is similar to the manipulation of the politicians. They are vigorously attempting to present every item as a basic need.
Clearly, in many ways we are the ones who allow the retailers and marketers to load us down with extra, unnecessary burdens. And hence, the stress increases either from purchasing what was not needed or believing that we need something unaffordable. It is a society of temptations versus our resistance and self-control.
Obviously, such temptations appear in various images which are designed to influence our brains. Unfortunately, the marketers have become the guiders and decision-makers for our spending.
However, materialism and the love of “stuff” are not a product of modern culture or behavior. Obviously, the ancient Egyptians’ love for materials 5,000 years ago established their belief that they were able to take their possessions with them to the afterlife. And hence, they built pyramids to bury their pharaohs and their possessions in.
The key to combating this begins with us taking control of our thoughts and building mental barrier against the temptations from the marketers. Undoubtedly, the attractive and bright colors, images and videos, and influential advertisements are aimed at us. The hidden purposes behind them are to persuade us to purchase their goods or services.
In many cases, the marketers jump to convince us that, without a specific item, there will be many obstacles in our lives. In fact, we often purchase an item that we truly don’t need or, perhaps, we realize afterward that it was unnecessary. Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman said that 95% of purchase decisions are made subconsciously (How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market).
As humans it’s our responsibility to limit our unnecessary purchases and end the delusions of believing that life satisfaction comes from materials. The true meaning of life is defined based on understanding our purposes and goals. Satisfaction and happiness will not arise from products and brand-name items despite the marketers’ attempts to put such images in our minds.
Only our relationship with God and belief in His power can bring us the most satisfaction in life.
– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.