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Pick a Card, Any (Credit) Card: Materialism as the Road to Happiness

I don’t know about you, but I am really tired of going through my mail. Every day it seems I get at least one offer from some company for a credit card. If I wanted to, I could be in debt up to my eyeballs. All I’d have to do is say “yes” to every offer and then charge up each card to its limit. Granted, I could buy some really great stuff. I just love electronic gadgets, so Best Buy and Circuit City could come to know be by my first name if I was so inclined.

Of course, I’m not so inclined. I’ve worked hard to build up my business and my good credit, and I am not going to do anything to jeopardize that. However, I’ve known quite a few people who don’t have that same reticence. For them, another credit card means more things; more things mean more things to make them happy. Happiness, for them, is not a pursuit but a purchase, even if they don’t have the money.

On the other hand I’ve known a few people who actually do have the money. So, they use that money to buy and spend and consume, with each purchase hoping they’ll fel better about life, about themselves. These people have a hole, a rather large, expensive hold, being filled with things.

Happiness isn’t so much a destination as it is a filling up of that void in their lives. Cram enough furnishings, cars, trips, jewelry, gadgets, toys, and clothing into the hold, and certainly someday it will be all filled up. There’s just one problem: the hole isn’t sealed at the bottom. Instead, whatever is packed in eventually seeps out the bottom through use, disappointment, or disinterest. Luckily though, through the media, they’re kept up to date on the next great thing that will, surely this time, pack in the hole.

SOURCE: Chapter 1, “Detours On the Road to Happiness,” in Happy for the Rest of Your Life by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc.

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