This quote can be traced all the way back to the the writings of the Apostle Paul. Variations of the quote are everywhere. A quick google search gets you similar quotes from Benjamin Franklin and Ice Cube.
The root of all evil is not money, it’s desire. Desire drives the constant need for more. More money, more stuff, more likes, more followers, etc.
It would be easy to, but I don’t blame social media for our ever growing desires. We have created these problems for ourselves. That said, social media clearly isn’t helping. We are being sold to all day, every day. We get to see our “friends” and family seemingly experiencing a much better life than we are. Why does everyone I “know” have a bigger house, new car, trendy clothes, better vacations and on and on?
The more we see the more we click. The more we click the more ads we see. Then you have influencers with the perfectly curated life. A life so perfect, yet so relatable to us. If they think it’s the next cool thing then I should want it to, right? It’s a viscous cycle that doesn’t seem to ever stop.
How can you not come to the conclusion that you are failing at life or the world is out to get you when everything you see through that little screen of yours is better than what you are experiencing.
This mentality feeds the impulse we have. We want it, no we NEED it too. I’ll be happier if I get it, I’m sure of it.
Unfortunately, no amount of money, or stuff, or vacations or whatever it may be will satisfy the desire impulse. The world keeps moving. There will always be cooler, newer things out there that you DO NOT NEED. What’s worse is there will be more sophisticated ways of trying to convince you to buy things that you DO NOT NEED as well.
Feeling content is where you will find true happiness. Understanding that things won’t ever fill your happiness void is vital. At the end of the day all that is really needed is readily available to the majority of us – shelter, food, and clothing. When you really look at it you will see most of us have so much excess we don’t even know what to do with what we have, but we still yearn for more.
We need to look inward and ask ourselves why. Why do I want this or that? What will happen if I actually get it? Better yet what will happen if I don’t get it? Why do I care about what this stranger is saying? Why do I feel the need to compete or impress people that I don’t really know and likely don’t care about (at least the opinions they hold) anyway.
I don’t have this figured out, but I know awareness is the first step to breaking the cycle. I used to live for the next vacation or the next raise. And I was lucky enough to get them most of the time. But after each vacation ended or the excitement of the raise wore off I was still not happy. I went on to chase the next vacation, the next raise. Buying a new house would make me happy, right? Wrong.
Being aware of this though has allowed me to really evaluate how I feel and perceive the different things in my life. It’s allowed me to assign a value to them. What do I really care about? What can I live without? What makes me happy?
The only way you can break the cycle and take control of your life is to be deliberate in all you do. Think about the people and things you let into your life each day. Focus your time and energy on the people and things that bring you real happiness. Ultimately your energy should go to the people and things that will still be there after your new clothes are out of style and that new car breaks down.
Live deliberately and keep evolving. Put in the effort.
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