The confusion

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We frequently confuse internal biochemistry [caused by habits and genetics] with external events.

If we didn’t, marketing would not work nearly as well.

Marketing preys on our internal weaknesses.

We buy unplanned material things [and on debt] because we feel depressed on the inside and we call it retail therapy.

Our brains are busy processing chemicals that internally change our moods, but find a way to rationalise those mood changes based on events and purchases in the outside world.

We often act as though money can buy joy, but of course, it works better when we are joyful in the first place.

We don’t say: “I’m genetically pre-disposed to mild depression,” or “I have not exercised in a while and I spend a lot of time watching TV,” instead, we say, “I’m disappointed because I don’t make enough money and my boss is mean to me.”

And yet, someone in the very same circumstances seems much happier than we are. And somehow, nothing ever happens in our career that makes everything all right forever.

We don’t say, “I’m moody and grouchy because of hormones.” Instead, we say, “He deserved that outburst. He was being a jerk.” Of course, he was the same guy last week and you sort of liked him.

We don’t say, “When I dress and act like the people around me, I can feel safe as a member of their tribe.” Instead, we think, “I feel good when I’m with my friends.”

We don’t say, “I have a very complex relationship with money because my parents spoiled me.” Instead, we say, “Hey, the bank gave me a credit card so it is okay to buy things that I deserve.”

We don’t say, “I eat to drown out the way I feel about my mom,” instead we say, “Hey, if it is on a salad bar, it must be good for me. And anyway, next month is my birthday.”

The external world is remarkably consistent, and yet we blame it for what is going on inside of us.

Products are remarkably similar, yet we use their marketing stories as an extension of our self-image and self-esteem.

Should a new phone really make you that happy?

Marketers spend billions identifying common biochemical events, and then they launch products and services with stories that align with those events.

As a result, we spend money on external forces in an attempt to heal internal pain.

You don’t solve what’s wrong internally by acquiring things externally.

Marketers want the equation to be: “if you buy this, everything will be all right.”

I wish it were so easy.

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