It’s Hard Enough Being You

I know your really hip neighbor just bought a Porsche, and you’ve wanted one for years, but if you have a Volkswagen budget, you should wait for your bank account to catch up to your obsession with European sports cars or better yet, keep your eyes in your own driveway! Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the rat race.

You know that whole “he has one, and I want it too” mentality that you had as a child when you simply didn’t know how to curb your urges. It led to trouble then and will continue to lead to trouble unless you snap out of it and realize that chasing other people’s stuff is not living your life at all.

white coupe

It’s this type of thinking that gets people into serious trouble. I’ve learned over the years that nobody really needs three giant wide screen high-def smart TVs.

I mean, really? Now let’s hope my wife doesn’t read this because I have the perfect spot for a 70 inch TV in my living room. Bad Jim…focus!

The truth is you can’t have it all, you can’t do it all and you can’t be it all. Even if you could, you don’t need it anyway. I like stuff. Growing up, we had very little money, so when I started making some, I spent it. Sometimes on things I needed and sometimes on things I just wanted.

Over time, I bought a lot of stuff. Years ago, my wife and I were transitioning to a new location. We bought a smaller house and put all of my “extra” stuff in a storage building. That stuff sat in storage for a long time. You know what makes you think differently about how much stuff you need? The day you open the door of your 20X20 storage building that you’ve rented for five years and it’s floor to ceiling, wall to wall full of stuff you haven’t seen or used since the day you put it in there. Talk about a collection of bad choices.

I allowed myself to make choices to buy things based on all the wrong reasons.

I was buying to fulfill unsatisfied wants from when I was a kid. I was making purchasing decisions from a place of selfish desire rather than practical purpose. Don’t get caught up in wanting what someone else has or doing what someone else does just because they have it or do it. By doing that, you give them the power to choose what’s right for you. It’s not their choice; it’s yours. Make your decisions for yourself. I’m not bashing having nice things or buying stuff if you want it. Don’t jump to that conclusion. I am simply using this scenario to show how we make choices based on the wrong reasons.

Choose to let the Joneses be the Joneses and you be you.

Jim Howard

When my mom used to ask me, “If your friends decide to jump off a bridge, are you going to decide to jump with them?” I never knew how to respond to that other than simply knowing she was right, and I was just following the crowd. If you asked me today I would say, “depends on how high the bridge is and what’s underneath it.” I would assess the risk and see what the value is before making the decision. Make your decisions from a position that benefits you, not just because someone else is doing it.

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Jim Howard

With over 30 years in commercial print, branding and publishing, Jim Howard has dedicated much of his life to helping entrepreneurs, CEOs and business owners move ahead in their business. Follow him at,

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