Do you ever think about what kind of a person you would be if you were born in a different country, to a different family, or a different century? I sometimes ponder this, and it always reminds me how impacted I am by the culture around me.
If I was born 200 years ago I wouldn't worry about coloring my hair, having a closet exploding with clothes or a fancy smart phone. So what do I really need in order to be myself and what is really important to me?
In one of my favorite blog posts I wrote about my insecurities and the lies that sprung from them that I used to tell myself to justify my spending. In my self doubt I spent to overcome my perceived deficiencies and simply fit in with those around me.
So here is my #1 piece of personal finance advice: Decide To Be Different.
One day it occurred to me that trying to fit in around me was making me miserable and I took off the glasses that society tells us to judge through. I stopped judging friends by the newness of their highlights, their granite counter tops or the value of their vehicle. I stopped thinking that someone was happier, richer, or fancier because of their jewelry, vacations, or electronics.
And all of a sudden quite a few of my habits seemed ridiculous. Why would I want to impress someone with something other than my thoughts, character, or personality? Why would I want someone to befriend me based on my possessions? Why would I assume that happiness has anything to do with your ability to mimic celebrities and their lifestyle?
Just decide to be different. Evaluate everything around you through your own personal lens of values and beliefs. Don't let anyone tell you how you need to be, look, or act in order to be successful.
Decide to be different and find your own definitions of these things. And the best part is that no one can ever tell you that you don't measure up because you have created your very own measuring stick.