Why we buy shit we don’t need?

Running shoes are built to help you run in an efficient manner. A well-designed ergonomic chair is built to help you sit and work comfortably for longer hours. A marketing automation software is built to help you market your products in a faster and more structured manner. An indoor badminton court is built to play the game as it is supposed to be played. A seasoned Salesmen is trained to define channels and scale sales volume.

However,

If you just took up running OR are starting to work on a project that requires 15 hour days OR are going after a few 100 prospects for your product

Then…

You don’t need those running shoes, maybe you don’t need shoes at all, you probably need a place where you can comfortably run bare feet. Regular runners and Usain bolt must focus on the kind of shoes that work best for them coz efficiency is a priority for them at their level.

You don’t need that well-designed ergonomic chair, you need a pillow by your “normal” chair. People with severe back/neck pain must focus on buying this chair coz without it they can’t even proceed. And yes, if the work you took up isn’t captivating, even an ergonomics is not going help the cause.

You don’t need the marketing automation tool, you need a simple spreadsheet or a word document, and your existing email ID/telephone to reach your customers. Businesses with a continuous flow of customers need automation tools, you could manage (for the first few customers) without it and spend an extra “manual” hour on marketing.

You don’t need to sign up for an indoor badminton court, you don’t even need any court; you simply need an open space, two players with racket and shuttlecock. Play for the love of the game, enjoy it and if you see a future after some time, consider finding a classy badminton court.

So yes, for the most part, we buy shit we don’t need coz:

  • Enablers become more important than the task: The focus shifts from doing something to buying things that will make it easier (or more effective) for us to do it.
  • An obsession confused for a regular activity: A trigger leads us to an obsession. The obsession and motivation around the activity die down as it turns out that it was a sudden spurt of excitement that we confused for a long-term event.
  • Erroneously, quality is rated over quantity: That’s the general saying. However, quantity (not quality) is more important when you are doing things that have not stuck with you yet; efficiency and effectiveness are secondary because that’s the goal ONLY after you have achieved enough practice.
  • The misleading perfect start syndrome: When learning or doing something, we want to give ourselves a perfect start. Well, great thought but ONLY those activities that require external motivation need a perfect start; the activities that you really want to do will be done irrespective of the perfect start because you are more eager to start as opposed to more eager to decide on how you want to start.

All in all, if we think and live lean, and we kill that mindless consumer in us, and not associate doing something with buying something, we buy only what we need. Problem solved.

The consumerism, online shopping, discounts that run 365 days a year, and our exponential salaries have taken us away from our inexpensive habits. And, when we buy things we don’t need, we have to maintain them just coz we bought it…more shit…more expenditure. So yeah, if we really give it a thought, our habits were/are/will be inexpensive if we think lean. Good luck with living lean.

PS: Buying because of peer pressure and other such causes are not discussed here because those are more leaning towards knowingly buying shit we don’t need. This article only discusses the purchases that smart shoppers make, which ends up being a shitty purchase.

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