In one day, the average person will see 3,000 marketing messages. The goal is to say “you deserve it, you need it.” In reality, it’s probably more like 3,000 lies. Donald Miller, author, speaker and business-man, has recently written a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He discusses the concept of writing a good story also applies to living a good story – living a beautiful, meaningful, and fulfilling life. While working in the publishing business, Miller learned a two-step formula that marketers use to get you to buy a product:
- Convince people that they are miserable, and
- Convince them that they will be happy if they buy this possession.
Miller says, “Materialism tricks us into telling really dumb stories with our lives, and consumerism teaches us that these things will set us free and make us happy. It’s all a lie, of course.”
Miller is convinced that there is great fulfillment in living a simpler life. When we live this simple life we are forced to tell stories that actually matter. He illustrates this by saying that you wouldn’t go see a movie about a guy who just bought stuff. The movies that we enjoy are the ones that tell a story. In fact, having less money and “stuff” can actually be a blessing in many ways. Some of the greatest stories that you will hear your parents and/or grandparents talk about are during times when finances were tight in order to get out of debt or to just make it through another month.
“If you’re not trying to buy a boat or a car, and instead you’re trying to love your wife more or spend more time with your kids—in the long run, those stories are much more rewarding than the stories of material possessions.”
Anyone can live a meaningful life; we just have to be intentional about it, regardless of our incomes. We should never fall into the trap of believing that material possessions will make us happy. If we choose to live our lives this way, we will constantly be searching for the next best thing. Instead, we need to see the opportunities that we have with our family as ones that will last a lifetime. Memories and experiences bring people together and make for much better stories than our latest purchase.