Baby boomers keep telling me I should own stuff. I’m not sold. In fact, I’ve done the exact opposite. That nice BMW, sold; all of the stuff I never use like vinyl records and old posters, sold. Then there’s the technology. We’re all addicted to having the newest whatever and half the time it’s no different from the previous model.
I’ve been a possession junkie for most of my life. When you’re making good money, it’s easy to buy things and not even notice. Ultimately, when I analyse it carefully, the times I brought things were typically to fill a void in my life.
You can’t buy your way to happiness and owning stuff is not the answer to success even though TV, movies, and the Internet try and make us believe this myth.
Here are 8 reasons why young people like me no longer want to own stuff:
1. Progress only matters in life, not stuff
We’re sold this dream that the more we keep updating and improving with material possessions the happier we’ll be. This is only partly true. In reality, the more we progress as a person and continue to experience growth, the happier we’ll be.
Growth is a fundamental human need, and it’s what all happy and sane humans need. Young people have figured out that when you buy something new, the good feeling only lasts a few days or maybe weeks if you’re lucky. Then, like magic, it’s gone.
2. Starting a business makes more sense
We’re in the age where anyone can start a business for next to nothing. Rather than spend all your money on possessions, it’s now far more popular to invest in a startup. Young people have figured out that you can’t work full-time for someone forever.
“At some point, you have to cut the umbilical cord of your false sense of safety, and start your own thing”
This may be part time forever, and that’s cool. Young people know that you need multiple revenue streams just like a business does.
By saving up your money to invest in a business, you get to hopefully do something you love, and make some money on your own terms. Yes, you may fail miserably, but eventually, you will start the right business.
3. Stuff depreciates
Young people have figured out that the value of stuff goes down quickly. The moment you buy a car and drive away from the showroom, you’ve just lost money. We’re in a new world now where the sharing economy has taken over.
It’s often cheaper to share an asset with other people because you are never going to use anything 24/7.
4. We have less room
Finding places to store stuff is becoming increasingly difficult because we’re often living in smaller places than our parents. Piling up garages full of useless junk that we never use is no longer cool anymore. Owning less has become the smarter way to live.
5. It’s impossible to own
While we’re on this whole topic of ownership, I hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing. You’ll never own anything for eternity unless you have drunk the magic water and are going to live forever.
We all have an expiry date and so those things you think your own, are only on loan to you while your two feet are on the ground. After that, they become someone else’s. That’s what we young people have figured out, and that’s why ownership is no longer popular.
6. Owning makes us feel worse
Clutter makes our mind feel uneasy. That’s why when I write blog posts I clear all the junk out of my office and make everything feel nice and clean.
Owning also gives us unneeded stress. Do any of us need more stress? No, thank you. Statistically we’re more stressed than ever, and a lot of that has to do with the stuff we own. Free your mind from all the negative feelings and sell some stuff.
Go on eBay and unload as much as you can. The beauty is that you’ll have a pocket full of money for your next holiday before you know it.
Possessions also create worry because we’re afraid something could happen to them. They could get stolen or damaged. They may wear out sooner than we expected. Oh no, what do we do with all of these what if’s? Buy insurance? No, sell my friend.
Have you ever seen one of those picker shows? It’s where they go to some old person’s home and look at all of their antiques and tell them how lucky they are. Usually, the owners of all the junk are fat, old, depressed, and lonely.
The junk has become a burden, and that’s why the picker is there in the first place. These people with all these barns of stuff look like some of the unhappiest people on the planet…there’s a reason for that!
7. The concept of success has changed
Success used to be based on your postcode and how many cars you had. Young people reinvented the idea of success when they discovered college debt. College debt makes us young people have to work ten times harder, often for something that doesn’t bring us a lot of success.
That’s why, now, debt is frowned upon by young people. The reason we don’t want to own stuff anymore is that it requires debt to purchase all of these possessions. Personal debt (business debt is different) equals more pain and less freedom. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me.
8. Experiences are everything
The most popular reason why young people don’t want to own stuff is because we value experiences. Rather than owning stuff, we want to experience life. It’s very hard to travel when you’re trying to pay for your AirBNB accommodation and your permanent residence.
When you don’t own you can do whatever the hell you want and go wherever you want to go. Instead of living in one city you can live in every city. If you’re best mate on the other side of the world calls you up to come over and watch the latest James Bond movie you can.
All you have to do is jump on a plane, and you’re there. No more being bored because your surroundings can be different as often as you want. You’re not tied to useless possessions and out of date models of the world.
The upside of experiences is that they involve other people. We get to have an experience and share it with the people close to us. Hearing about other people’s possession is freaking annoying, and no one likes it. Hearing about experiences though is captivating, and we all love it.