Keeping Up With The Joneses
There’s a game that’s played on social media that is focused on one simple objective: Let me show you how awesome my life is.
It’s a game that’s been amplified as FaceBook and Instagram have become household names and as the Kardashians and Reality TV have gone mainstream.
While it’s not a game played by everyone, it’s played by enough folks to be noticeable. In fact, you’ve surely noticed it yourself across any or all of your favorite platforms - people living what can only be called their best life: beautiful vacations, exotic locales, incredible cars, flash clothes, and picture-perfect meals. In fact, they look like they’re living your best life.
The business analogy of this is the entrepreneur who’s gazing out the window of his private jet, who’s making deals at Michelin-starred restaurants, who barely has enough time to get measured for his bespoke suit on Saville Row before being whisked away for that meeting with that Head of State. They’re living your best life.
But, of course, not all of them are. In fact, most of them aren’t. So much of the time, it’s an image with a specific goal: to sell themselves or some idea of who and what they are.
And their content is exactly that. Content. It’s not a random snapshot of their regular life. It’s carefully curated and painstakingly constructed.
So it’s important to remember that what we see is what we’re being shown. Which isn’t the same thing as what reality actually is. And before we get caught up in what we don’t have, the mis-steps we’ve made, the would-have/could-have/should-haves, it’s important to put things in perspective.
There’s nothing wrong with aspiration, but participating in the race to attain is a fool’s errand. No matter who you are, there’s always someone with a nicer house, a faster car, taking a better vacation. Or in business terms, someone always has more money to invest, a lower cost of capital, a hotter and more buzzworthy enterprise.
It’s endless and hence, it’s fruitless. As Seth Godin says, conspicuous consumption is not absolute, it’s relative.
Why get into the race to begin with?