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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Letting Go of Impressing People

As much as I hate to admit it, I have occasionally fallen prey to that inner desire to impress people. It's almost an innate human impulse, isn't it? We want to wear the right clothes, or get the right hair cut, or have the latest gadget.

After I asked Dani to marry me we decided that she would be in charge of the wedding and I would be in charge of the honeymoon. Not that I wouldn't have any input in the ceremony, or that she wouldn't get a say in where we spent our first week as a married couple, but when it came to the honeymoon I was pretty much in charge of all the details.

The 2013 Ford Mustang I rented for my wedding
And, I got to admit, I had a lot of fun planning it! She knew where we were going, but there were a lot of details and surprises that I got to plan along the way—the hotels we stayed at, some of the activities we did. One of the biggest surprises I had planned was the 2013 Ford Mustang convertible that I rented to be our main source of transportation during our 10 day road trip to Kelly's Island, Ohio. Now, as any man reading this will understand, there are many wonderful slices of Heaven that can be experienced on one's honeymoon, but driving that Mustang was near Nirvana all in itself.

I remember when my Best Man and I picked it up at the airport and drove it around town the day before the wedding—the shiny paint, the top down, the purr of the engine, the sheer power under the hood. We could outpace any car on any road in about three seconds. But one of the things that made driving that car such a blast was all the heads it turned. When we stopped at a gas station, people were checking it out. When we passed people on the interstate, other drivers took notice.

And it felt good. We've all had that feeling of people watching us, knowing in the back of our minds that some are looking on in total envy, right? That feeling puffs us up a little, doesn't it? It makes us feel good. It's all stupid, when you think about it. I mean, we spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to buy fancy clothes, beautiful cars, and electronic gadgets that we don't really need to impress complete strangers! It's all lunacy.

It's all pride.

Making the decision to live on a tight budget means letting go of a lot of things. It means letting go of that inner desire to have people admire you for your house or your shoes or your cable TV package. It means letting go of that need to buy the next iPad the moment it hits the market. It means letting go of some pride. And if you can't let go of trying to impress people then you're going to hamper your ability to build wealth.

Sure, I feel a little silly sometimes pulling out my $40 Walmart phone in a room full of iPads and smart phones, but you know what I realized: the great majority of those people with the expensive suits and the pricey gadgets are in debt up to their eyeballs! They're struggling every week to make ends meet. Their blood pressure is up. Their hours of REM sleep are down.

Personally, I don't want to lose my REM sleep. I LOVE sleep too much. I can do without the other stuff.

Has letting go of this kind of pride been difficult for you?

Keep pinchin' :-)

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