Ok, so January. Here’s a list of things I’ve rejected so far:
- build a new mini gaming computer with a badass itx case
- get a new apple watch band
- get a new anime deluxe edition horror book
- buy new movies/tv/amazon crap
- uzumaki dvd
- himizu blu ray
- exte: hair extensions special edition dvd
- miami vice the complete series
- nekromantik 1 and 2
- unsolved mysteries
- pizza stone
- alien dvds (they have different special features/audio)
- buy my own yoga mat
- go to a restaurant
- buy a better design cat litter pad
- buy a better design cat food container
- buy the oxy 4 yoyo on ebay
- Resident Evil 7 preorder
And I’m sure there’s more that I’m not mentioning but those are just the easy ones to remember. And as I’ve closed the browser windows, or added something to a wish list and closed a window, I’ve been thinking about why I had the thought in the first place, and I’ve been thinking about if and why, as I reject these things, the pressure builds to break – to purchase a new, physical item.
It got me thinking about how people feel happy as they see gradual improvement. And what is the definition of improvement? How do we define it for ourselves? Clearly people mark out these big life changes – graduation, pets, marriage, buying a home, having a baby.
I know for myself, I’ve achieved many of these, and since there aren’t any more affordable houses to buy, I have placated myself over time with collectibles. Yo-yos, movies, books, games, pens, camera equipment, whiskies. Each additional trinket amuses me briefly while I fail to advance any larger cause forward in a way that is meaningful to me. I’ve done it so many times it’s boring. But I’m still tempted by it. The connection my mind has made between purchasing an unfamiliar physical item that I can connect with my existing hoard and gradual improvement is undeniable. The wiring is there. There to the point that I fail to sell what I know I do not use. What takes up space and costs me storage monthly.
ROFLMAO and now on eBay I look and see several one of a kind yo-yos I’ve wanted for years that are even better than the Oxy 4. Like, really good stuff. One of a kind, titanium axles, teflon coats, Italian. Let’s think through it. How much do the yo-yos cost?
At the buy it now price, they cost $300 each. So that’s $900 total, and we know from calculations that on a 30 year investment timeline that’s more like $2700. We know from last year though that once you start buying yo-yos… it went up to $5000. And people tend to sell some nice stuff in the spring.
From a different POV, these are not really yo-yos, they are symbols, examples of my addiction to buying expensive yo-yos, and in particular expensive Italian yo-yos. What is the cost of not breaking this addiction? How much will the yo-yos cost that are going up for sale next year?
If I didn’t buy the yo-yos when I know I could have, will I want them as much the next time? Will they seem as appealing if my brain believes the opportunity to get them is not so limited?
What is the cost of not breaking any particular bad habit? Bad eating? Drinking? What is the cost of not developing good habits? Exercising? Writing thank you notes?
Can I rationalize it? Am I allowed to purchase these yo-yos if I subject myself to some other good habit? Do I have the willpower to maintain my New Years resolutions AND maintain this new yo-yo penitence habit? Will the yo-yos give me super powers that allow me to… (lol).
The post is titled “Super Strong Training” to point out how incredibly powerful the draw is to continue buying this shit. I’m trained way, way better to want this stuff than to want $900 more in my investment account. It can be easy to rationalize. My net worth can easily swing >$900 in a day depending on how the market does. It makes it easy to pretend, again and again, that actions don’t have consequences. I try to be neurotic in a different way – to look at my net worth every morning, to celebrate how it goes up nearly every paycheck – but damn those yo-yos are shiny.
I haven’t bought anything yet. I did transfer an additional $500 to the Betterment safety net fund earlier today, leaving my cash safety net at around $600… which I guess is a plus because I no longer have $900 sitting around in my bank account that I could blow on these. It adds that much more resistance. But the pain! The anguish! Someone else will buy them…