If you find yourself sitting in a pile of worthless things you purchased online or bored with things you’ve just bought, you may be wondering, “why do I get obsessed with things easily?”
The answer may be simpler than you think. It may also be irrelevant.
The Joy of Stuff
I don’t know about you, but I love stuff! I used to be a stuffaholic. Back when I had DVDs, it seemed like I had to buy a new DVD every Tuesday when they came out. Then I had to buy shelves to put them in.
When I was really getting into guitars, I went guitar crazy. I had over half a dozen guitars and a few basses, and I wasn’t even that good.
There’s something about getting new things that’s both exhilarating and depressing. It didn’t take long for the high of those purchases to turn into depression and regret. I’d go from being elated to asking myself “why do I get obsessed with things easily?”
The truth is there could be several reasons.
Why We Get Obsessed with Stuff
When I was obsessed with my guitars, there were a couple reasons. First of all, I appreciated the art and beauty of a well-crafted guitar. There was something inspiring and enjoyable about holding one.
I also saw my future self in them. I saw all the potential. I saw that I could use these guitars to become prolific, dedicated, and consistent. That’s somewhat true. Even though I sold off most of my guitars, finding the right one helped me practice every single day for several years now and I’ve put in over 2,000 hours of practice.
At the same time, the DVDs were about something else: not missing out. I wanted to collect every one so I didn’t miss out on the good movies.
There are various reasons we are obsessed with stuff. The truth is that knowing why can help. The good news is knowing when stuff is valuable is more important. The next time you ask yourself “why do I get obsessed with things easily,” you may find it better to ask a different question.
The Better Question
Although I didn’t need nearly a dozen guitars and basses, I did need a good guitar. I did need a guitar that inspired me to play and reinforced my identity as a player.
At the same time I did not need a zillion DVDs. Unless I was planning to become a TV exec, they were a frivolous purchase – not individual movies, but the whole of the collection. Most of them went unwatched or were only watched once – a high price at $15-20.
The question is not why are we obsessed with stuff. There are a million reasons. The question you need to ask is about each purchase: how will this enhance my life?
Is this something you are buying to feel good or something you are buying to enhance your life? Is it something you want to throw some endorphins in your brain for 12 hours or something that will positively affect your life for years to come? Are you going to be pleased with yourself in a week or find yourself asking once again, “why do I get obsessed with things easily?”
Finding the Good Stuff
If you want to buy things that enhance your life, follow these three simple principles:
- Tool or Toy: Are you buying something that will help you create amazing things or something that will make you waste time? Bear in mind, finding peace and relaxation is worthwhile, but letting hours whittle away with nothing to show for it – including peace of mind – is not.
- Opportunity Cost: If you want to spend $100, first ask yourself what other opportunities are you giving up. What else could $100 buy? What could you do in the future if you saved that $100 and added to it?
- Alternative Options: If you’re feeling down and want to buy something or have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), ask yourself what else could you do to feel better? Could you call up a friend? Could you play games with a group over video chat?
There is nothing wrong with enjoying things and spending money when you are spending money wisely. You simply want to make sure you’re spending money in a way that will leave you happy and fulfilled after all is said and done instead of sitting with a pile of worthless things asking “why do I get obsessed with things easily?”
The question is not why you do it. It really doesn’t matter. You simply need to ask yourself “how will this enhance my life?” It’s easy to know when you ask if it’s a tool or a toy, know what you’re giving up to get it, and consider your alternative options. Then you can enjoy the things you have and be thrilled with the life you lead.