Rule #6: Stop Trying to Impress Other People.

14 money rulesA reader asked me if I could break down my ideas into a handful of principles. After some careful thought, I came up with a list of fourteen basic “rules” that summarize my money and life philosophy. I’ll be presenting these as a weekly series.

The book Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (read my detailed notes on the book) had a profound impact on me when I was figuring out my personal finances. One major theme of the book was the idea that you need to sit down and figure out the small handful of key values that are central in your life. Once you have figured out what those are, the rest is secondary – and that means you should seriously trim back your spending in those areas.

Not surprisingly, a major chunk of the book is devoted to ways to cut your spending. Right at the start of the list – the single most important tactic they suggest for cutting your spending – is summed up in six easy words.

Stop trying to impress other people.

If you buy a car that’s flashy rather than focusing on one that gets the job done as efficiently as you can find, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you go clothes shopping by the store sack full, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you always have the latest gadget, you’re spending money to impress other people. If you always must be seen at the coolest new place, you’re spending money to impress other people.

Stop worrying about it.

I found it was really powerful for me to take people and split them into two groups: people whose opinions I cared about, and people whose opinions I didn’t care about one way or another.

It was easy to stop caring about impressing people whose opinions I didn’t care about. Who cares what they think? As long as I’m not doing something truly offensive or heinous – something that might potentially create a negative reputation for me – it doesn’t matter what they think.

The trickier part was worrying about impressing other people whose opinions I do care about. People I want to meet. Customers. Friends. Family. Shouldn’t I want to impress them?

Again, I go back to the basics. As long as I’m not offensive – meaning I’m clean, I’m presentable, and I behave myself – I don’t need to impress these people with expensive, shiny things. The relationship I’ve built with them – or I’m going to build with them – is based on me, not on the material items. They’ll either like me for me or they won’t – no amount of shiny will change that.

So, to put it simply, take care of the basics. Have good hygiene. Keep yourself clean. Keep your weight under control. Wear reasonable clothing. Work on your communication skills. If you have them covered, you don’t need to invest time and money into impressing other people. You will naturally connect with the people you will connect with, and you won’t connect with those you wouldn’t connect with anyway.

Coming to this realization is incredibly valuable. It drops your clothing budget. It drops your automobile budget. It drops your electronics budget. It drops your housing budget. You don’t need a McMansion, a shiny car, an iPhone, or a $50 haircut.

(Yes, you may actually still want one or two of these things, but the impetus comes from what your personal core values are, not what other people around you seem to value or what marketing messages you receive.)

For some people, it seems impossible. Their social cues come from advertising-laden media and from friends who also get their cues from advertising-laden media. They believe they need a slick cell phone and $100 casual clothes. Their self-worth revolves around that little burst they get from impressing others.

Here are six ways to break through that situation.

1. Take the lead. Be a trendsetter within your group. Back away from the expenses and activities that revolve mostly around impressing other people. Make suggestions for activities that don’t revolve around showing off.

2. Try new activities. You can do this either with your circle of friends or on your own, but try out new things that you might never have considered before. Think of things that seemed fun to you but you never got involved with because others around you decried them – and you were trying hard to impress them by agreeing.

3. Guide the conversation. If the conversation turns to bland compliments of each other and insults of people outside your group, steer the conversation away from it. Focus on being positive towards everyone, particularly in non-material areas. Pick areas you’re passionate about (don’t be a one trick pony – figure out several) and guide the conversation there instead.

4. Use your compliments wisely. Offer compliments on jobs well done, but don’t bother with big compliments on new gadgets or new clothing or a shiny new car. It’ll become clear that what you value are people who take charge of their life, not people who fritter away their money trying to impress others.

5. Share personal growth oriented thoughts. Instead of talking about popular culture and “stuff” all the time, instead mix in some thoughts on personal growth. Talk about ways you’re trimming your spending in positive ways. Talk about your big aspirations and dreams. Encourage others to share theirs as well. It also helps to read good materials in these areas so that you have more food for your own thought and more ideas to share.

6. Explore new relationships. If your circle of friends is still focused too heavily on impressing others and on material gains, spend some time exploring new relationships. Call up people you’ve thought of as interesting but simply wouldn’t fit in your old group and see what they’re up to. Connect with people at the new activities you’re trying. (I’ll touch on this a little bit more with a later rule.)

In short, don’t play socially by the tired old rules that revolve around needing to impress people. Instead, spend your time on things that bring real value to you – and give real value to others.

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51 thoughts on “Rule #6: Stop Trying to Impress Other People.

  1. One of the best examples I recall of this is a story by John Cummuta about the “Wow Factor”. In his previous debtor life, he at one point owned a private plane and a Gold Corvette that cost over $20,000 in 1980 dollars. He recounts how a friend saw him pull up in his Gold Corvette and gave a big “Wow, that’s a great car!”

    Well, it seems that after the first Wow, no one really cared much. The effect diminished significantly. The moral to the story is, is it really worth it to pay $20,000 for one “Wow?”

  2. kat says:

    Who you hang out with is very important. My circle usually is impressed with the great deal on a “new” silk shirt bought at the thrift store or something we have sewn ourselves. Most of my friends have the same ideas on what is important.(Books and fabric). We joke about how we shop at the exclusive one of a kind boutiques- D’AV, Bon Will and Le Arc.

  3. Katrina says:

    I absolutely agree with this. That’s probably why I’m sitting on a recliner that I got for free at my church when they cleaned out the old convent, in a living room of similarly acquired furniture, with a car that has no power windows or locks. But because of those things, we were able to acquire a house to suit our needs, to stop throwing money down the drain of a landlord’s pocket. If we spent money on the fancy car, and the nice furniture, the house would not have been attainable so early. In fact, people whose opinions matter to me are impressed that we were able to acquire a house at 22 years old, due to frugality in other aspects of life.

    However, I do think that there is a corollary to that, which you hinted at in this post. We shouldn’t try to impress people purely by spending money, but we should try to impress people (those that matter, of course) by our actions and behavior.

    You can’t just say “I don’t give a flying crap!” and then behave like a fool, speaking your mind to anyone even when what you say is cruel and thoughtless, and do whatever you want with no consideration for others, be it society as a whole or your family, friends and coworkers. I’ve seen people with this mindset, and it’s not healthy. It’s a great way to ruin, actually, because you push away the people you love the most, tick off your neighbors, and limit your potential at work.

    So, it IS important to impress people. You should just never do it with money, only with your character.

  4. I agree.

    Trying to impress other people can destroy your financial future. I couldn’t care less what anyone else drives, wears, or where they vacation.

    If I do (within the law) what makes me and my loved ones happy, nothing else matters.

  5. KC says:

    One of my good friends is obsessed with the finer things in life and I attribute it to her hard life growing up. Still though, it puts me off when I think of how she’s spent the equivalent of a small house down payment on designer purses and shoes (much like Carrie Bradshaw of SATC). Sometimes I feel like I should be trying harder to keep up with her, but honestly, what good will that do? If anything, I need to be cutting down on stuff, and I’d like to think I have other redeeming qualities that will impress people instead of the things I own.

  6. graytham says:

    How does the saying go? Something like “Be yourself- because the people who care don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t care.”

    And another saying, “Don’t spend money on things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t even like.”

    So true! Though I predict some crazed FA’er (member of the Fat Acceptance movement) will take you to task for telling people to keep their weight under control.

    Another great post, Trent.

  7. Studenomist says:

    Being a college student let me tell you this: everybody wants to be a “roller” at the night clubs. I will see a guy buying every girl drinks at a club one night and a week later I see him serving coffee. Too many college students want to give off the impression that they have money to impress others. I choose to save that money to travel. Just my opinion.

  8. Torrey says:

    I see men go out and make impractical and irresponsible purchases to woo women that normally would not be attacted to them. Cars, clothes, gadgets, jewelry, etc.

    For example, I have a good friend who bought a new Chevy Tahoe ($800+/mo.) while with no savings and living in a shabby apartment. But when speaking with him, he’s happy on how much attention he gets from the ladies.

  9. Craig says:

    You need to live your life and what works for you. Can’t keep trying to get the approval of everyone it’s not fair to you and it will only make things more stressful in the end.

  10. This is a great article. If more people could live by even just this one rule their lives would have much more meaning & they would be much happier. Thanks!

  11. Kevin Wood says:

    Trent,
    Long time fan first post. I did want to point out that cheap clothes seem like the best deal at first, but that is not necessarily the case. Better clothes tend to last longer. Additionally, from a professional standpoint dressing in higher quality clothing (along with being well groomed) can be the difference between promotion and being left behind.

    Good post, but just an interesting thought.

  12. Suzanne says:

    I remember a simple way to determine whether you are spending to impress people (cannot remember where I heard it). Imagine you were stuck on an island (such as Rhode Island) where the population had all disapeared except for your closest family and friends. These are the people whose opinion actually matters. Which house would you pick to live in? Which car would you pick to drive? Anything more than what you would pick in this situation is just to impress the rest of the world.

  13. “Be yourself- because the people who care don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t care.”

    That’s a great quote! Growing up in a small town with frugal parents, I feel like it was easier to foster this mentality. I let it get away from me when I moved to the city for school. I’m still living in the city and trying to bring back those values my parents taught me.

    Perhaps it was just a stage of my life or a sign of the times, but I feel like, living in the city, I have access to a lot more rope to hang myself with, in this respect. Back at home, with limited options, I think that “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon comes into play a little more.

  14. Maggie says:

    I am not some crazed FA’er, but it did jump out at me that you put controlling one’s weight right after cleanliness on the list of basic things to judge people by. You stated “As long as I’m not offensive – meaning I’m clean, I’m presentable, and I behave myself – I don’t need to impress these people with expensive, shiny things.” So is overweight that offensive? I am glad the people who matter to me don’t judge people that way.

  15. kev says:

    On the other hand, some money-saving skills can impress people too.
    A great vegetable garden can be the envy of the neighbours, especially if you share a bit.

    I’m always surprised by the reactions of people who seem really, truly impressed that I can drive a manual transmission (I’ve never driven anything else). A new manual car costs around $1000 less than the equivalent automatic, you can get better gas mileage, and you can work yourself out of snowy entanglements easier. And it’s more fun to drive.

    Becoming a decent veggie gardener, learning to drive stick, being able to cook a respectable meal, troubleshoot a computer, learning to do at least basic home improvements without calling somebody in; Anybody can do these things with not much effort, and save themselves a lot of money, and yet these skills are like freakin’ wizardry to those people around us who couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to understand.

    I replaced a damaged phone cord for someone once. A phone cord! They were so impressed that I could unplug the old cord and plug in the new one where they had failed. I might as well have been wearing a robe with moons and stars on it.

  16. Robin says:

    This post is all true, the thing is for many people the person they are trying to impress is themselves. There are so many people walking around that are covering up major feeling of inadequacy and insecurity. Buying a Mercedes and dressing in $500 suits, or living in a $1 million dollar house (the bank owns) is all about making themselves feel like they’ve “made it”. Some time spent looking at our real motivations and giving ourselves a break for not being so great would go a long way in getting our finances in order.

    robin
    BackpackBaseCamp Blog

  17. Julia says:

    I honestly never considered your suggestion about using compliments wisely. If all you ever do is shell out compliments on material items, people are going to get the impression that material goods are all that you care about.

    Excellent point.

  18. Marianne says:

    I was obese for many years, and for me personally, it was a result of my lack of self-discipline and my disordered relationship with food. I used food and overeating to relieve anxiety, loneliness, boredom, etc. I had no desire to practice moderation. I was unable to say no to my desires for food, even when those desires were inappropriate and excessive.

    I recognize that my obesity proclaimed these personal failings to the world. If we can tell something about someone’s personality by their habits of personal hygiene, I don’t think it’s much of a stress to say we can tell something about their personality by whether or not their weight is in a normal range.

    I have lost and kept off about 90lbs and am now at a normal weight due to working really hard at my own self-discipline, moderation, etc. For me, my weight (high or low) DOES reflect those personal strengths/weaknesses, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to include that in a list of ways we broadcast our strengths to others. It says something about someone if you can tell from their weight that they prioritize their health, just as it says something about someone if you can tell from their appearance that they prioritize hygiene.

  19. It’s unfortunate that we tend to establish our values on an outside-in basis (from others, the media, etc), rather inside-out (show who we are or really want to be inside). A lot of that is social conditioning, a lot is lack of confidence.

    #6 is really important, because if you’re taking your social cues from your social group, you’ll continue to attract similar personality types to the ones you have while repelling others who might actually effect growth in your life.

    I think people mistake being in a group as a way of not being alone, so they’ll deny their true selves to conform to the group. (I guess this is where the term ‘groupies’ comes from, the seldom respected and seemingly souless followers of celebrities.)

    But at the same time, people respond positively to individuality and leadership, so if you display these qualities, you may lose your current friends, but it’s almost guaranteed you’ll draw new ones, the type who will like you for who you really are. And then you’re in a position to have a positive impact on the lives of people around you.

  20. Maggie says:

    I get that people look at me and just think they know so much about my by my weight. That is just a reality. But by what you are saying they would look at my mom who has lost over half her body weight and think “healthy” and “in control” when what they should think is “chemo”. SO maybe what people think they know is not always so clearcut. I am not into fat acceptance, arguing that overweight people are healthy, I am more about wondering why people seem to only be able to see that one aspect of them and think they know everything about them.

    It just seems to support the argument that I COULD buy a bunch of cool stuff and impress people, since they are clearly not likely to look beneath the surface.

  21. karyn says:

    I’m lucky to have found pretty frugal friends. Ignorance is truly bliss sometimes. I only notice how “weird” I am when I’m around “regular” consumer-type people like my in-laws and realize how different we are. Sometimes it is helpful to flock to birds of a similar feather.

  22. Jenzer says:

    “Instead of talking about popular culture and ‘stuff’ all the time, instead mix in some thoughts on personal growth.”

    Have you read -The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class- by Keith Cameron Smith? He shares a similar idea: “Millionaires talk about ideas. The middle class talks about things and other people.”

    In other words, millionaires direct their thoughts and conversations towards creativity and growth, while the middle class thinks and talks about Stuff.

    It’s an excellent inspirational book, and a quick read.

  23. Kin says:

    “The people below will always hate or envy you.

    The people above you will always look down on you.

    There really is no point in “climbing” or impressing other people.”

    Something I read a long time ago, in my words.

    How about this idea — do your best to impress yourself to the degree where you say, “Oh? i can actually do this? I am capable of this?” :)

  24. I think we do a lot of things without realizing we just doing it to impress others. And why are we doing it to ourselves? We only hurt our own pockets. The price we are paying for doing so is not worth it all.

  25. akb says:

    Jenzer: thats an interesting twist on an old Elenore Roosevelt quote:
    “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

    interesting how it parallels..

  26. Foxie says:

    Thanks for throwing in there that you may want one or two “status” items just because, well, you WANT them. It’s not entirely materialistic to want stuff, but if you think that having stuff makes you, well… It’s not a money problem you’ve got.

    I absolutely adore my sports cars. I won’t ever live my life without one, they’re my babies and very, VERY spoiled girls! I just hate how other people try to bring us down about it. When others get the impression that you’re “rich,” they like to try to bring you down. Makes me wish that if people didn’t have anything nice to say about our cars, that they’d just shove it.

    Seriously, anyone could own a Porsche if they wanted. We could have had TWO, including a 911. I got my Miata over a Porsche 944… I was kinda worried anyhow that if I had gotten the Porsche, it would have made things worse. People seem to assign a higher value than is necessary to most cars… Search AutoTrader, you’d be surprised what you can afford. (We’re in our early 20′s and could have either a Porsche 911, BMW M3 or C5 Z06 Corvette if we wanted… All for less money than the average person thinks.)

    Other than that, I’m trying hard to stop caring about what other people think period. Not easy for me, I’m still young and still looking to be accepted somewhere other than online… (I get to meet people with similar mindsets online more often.)

  27. Rob says:

    A few times a week I go to certain meetings in a church. Different churches, different places. Most times there will be about 10 motorcycles, usally always harleys. Some are actually nice. I look once, think to myself..nice bike..then go do my thing. The funny thing is some of these bikes cost over $20,000 dollars. Not being bias…all of the owners are men. Funny how 8 out of ten dont pay, are behind in payment, or complain on the child support they pay ( or dont ). Of course being egotistical with the TDMS ( typical dumb male syndrome )status comes before children. Now that is purely one of the most pathetic things in life.

  28. Mighty says:

    I like thinking that our outside appearance can encourage others to get to now our inside selves. Dressing and grooming in a tidy manner is not a burden, but something adults simply do.

    I’ve known a number of people who were kind and brilliant, but who had a hard time making friends and being socially accepted. The only problem common to all of these particular people was that all of them fell a little (or a lot) short in the hygiene department. Or sometimes their hygiene was fine, until meal time.

    Maybe it’s shallow, maybe it’s not, but the fact is, nobody wants to sit next to someone with bad breath, body odor, dandruff, greasy hair, or inappropriate clothing.

    I’ve known many popular kids who wore second-hand or cheap house brand clothes. I’ve never, ever, ever, in nine different schools from pre-school to grad school, met someone who was popular and had poor hygiene.

    As far as the weight thing goes, of course it’s wrong to judge fat people. For anyone who is fat and struggling for social acceptance, I would work on the things you can do well right away, like good hygiene, appropriate clothes, white teeth, and especially a great perfume. People stereotype fat people as “sweaty” for some reason–so give me them advance notice that you are well groomed and beautiful. This is cheesy, but your confidence has a lot to do with how much you get labeled as “THE” fat girl/guy. I’ve known a handful of very heavy people who were so loving, charming, and caring that I really didn’t see them as “fat” but as “Sophie” or “Rich.”

    For all of us, the more we allow others to see our humanity, the more humanely they will treat us. Nobody needs a BMW for that.

  29. anne says:

    yeah- what maggie (#15) said.

  30. Rob says:

    Anyhow, it seems that our cars put off a lot of people who don’t know us… Everyone seems to assume that we have more money than we do. We don’t, seriously. It just so happens that our spending priorities sit out in our driveway for everyone to see. Other than cars, our only real splurge is on food… I’m a sucker for paying for convenience. I’m not good at cooking and not a fan of dishes!

    Spending priorities that sit in the driveway…..sounds like somebody with a intelligent head on their shoulders.

  31. Ray says:

    1. Cognitive lie: I fear making mistakes because I see everything in absolutist, perfectionist terms–one mistake and the whole is ruined.

    Cognitive Truth: This is erroneous. A small mistake certainly doesn’t ruin an otherwise fine whole. It’s good to make mistakes because then we learn in fact, we won’t learn unless we make mistakes. No one can avoid making mistakes-and since it’s going to happen in any case, we may as well accept it and learn from it.Recognizing our mistakes helps us to adjust our behavior so that we can get results we’re more pleased with-so we might say that mistakes ultimately operate to make us happier and make things better. If we fear making mistakes, we become paralyzed we’re afraid to do or try anything, since we might (infact, probably will) make some mistakes. If we restrict our activities so that we won’t make mistakes, then we are really defeating ourselves. The more we try and the more mistakes we make, the faster we’ll learn and the happier we’ll be ultimately. Most people aren’t going to be mad at us or dislike us because we make mistakes-they all make mistakes, and most people feel uncomfortable around perfect people.

    2. We don’t die if we make mistakes.

    3. In your perfectionism you are undoubtedly great at focusing on all the ways you fall short. You have the bad habit of picking out the things you haven’t done and ignoring those you have. You spend your life cataloging every mistake and shortcoming. No wonder you feel inadequate! Is somebody forcing you to do this? Do you like feeling that way? Here’s a simple method of reversing this absurd and painful tendency. Use a wrist counter to click off the things you do right each day. See how many points you can accumulate.This may sound so unsophisticated that you are convinced it couldn’t help you. If so, experiment with it for two weeks. I predict you’ll discover that you will begin to focus more on the positives in your life and will consequently feel better about yourself. It sounds simplistic because it is! But who cares, if it works?

    4. Another helpful method involves exposing the absurdity in the all-or-nothing thinking that gives rise to your perfectionism. Look around you and ask yourself how many things in the world can be broken down into all-or-nothing categories. Are the walls around you totally clean? Or do they have at least some dirt? Am I totally effective with all of my writing? Or partially effective? Certainly every single paragraph of this book isn’t polished to perfection and breathtakingly helpful. Do you know anyone who is totally calm and confident all the time? Is your favorite movie star perfectly beautiful? Once you recognize that all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t fit reality very often, then look out for your all-or-nothing thoughts throughout the day, and when you notice one, talk back to it and shoot it down. You’ll feel better

    5. The next method to combat perfectionism involves personal disclosure. If you feel nervous or inadequate in a situation, then share it with people. Point out the things youfeel you’ve done inadequately instead of covering them up.

  32. littlepitcher says:

    he sad truth is that the job is the only place in our lives where impressing others is key.
    If working with others, the wardrobe and car are a way of saying “Don’t mess with me, I can afford an attorney on retainer”, or to keep the office bi***es at bay by implying that said creatures would merely be taking out their jealousy on you.

    Outside of that malignant necessity, impressing anyone except potential mates is wasted money.

  33. I don’t even think we necessarily need to impress people on the job either, not with clothes or cars.

    Cars and clothes are often part of the profile of the pretenders. The real competitors are recognized by their production, confidence and competance. Those are the qualities that bring the money in the door or get the jobs done that are necessary to bring the money in.

    If cars and clothes rule the day where you work, you might need to find someplace else to work.

  34. Charlotte says:

    Mighty, please, NO perfume. What smells good to one person smells bad to another. Besides, many people are allergic. Be kind to others and wear no scents.

  35. Sharon says:

    Marianne, I wish you healing and good health.

  36. Great rule, and very powerful and freeing when it can be applied consistently in life.

    There is however another category of people who spend money on the things you mentioned at the beginning of your post: people with compulsive behavioral problems. Some people spend just to spend because maybe, once upon a time, it made them feel good. Like most addictions, the pleasure fades with time and only the compulsion remains. But I suspect there are a fair number of people with compulsions around spending and acquisition. Not sure how much this rule would help them, at least not without professional counseling.

  37. I have a neighbor who bought a $100,000 second hand Aston Martin DB9 last month. Although he spent $100,000, he did save $95,000 buying it 2 years old given it costs $195K new!

    He does have low self esteem, so if the car makes him feel better about himself, then that’s fine.

    I’ve been guilty of car splurges in the past too, but only 1 out of the 8 cars i’ve had in 10 years was really expensive ($73K). The others averaged around $10K.

    Best,

    RB

  38. Hi Trent,

    Out of all the content on your site, I really enjoy these list posts on your personal growth experiences. This quote was good,

    “It was easy to stop caring about impressing people whose opinions I didn’t care about. Who cares what they think?”

    … which reminds me of something I’ve read recently that said,

    “What other people think of me is none of my business,”

    Good rule of thumb ;)

  39. business says:

    This is great advice for everyone. And it’s true, all the extras in life are really merely for impressing people. It doesn’t help you intrinsically at all. I hadn’t thought of it this way. Thank you for being so clear.

  40. Sybil says:

    As the motto says “Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’”. Many people judge on material things instead of the individual. I think if you have to dress or drive something for others to like you they are not liking you for you, but for what you have. Doing all this is going to take you straight to the poor house.

  41. donny says:

    or your in a life situation where cant just change all your life details the way you want because people are dependant on you

  42. Diana says:

    “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

    Just a thought, but I find that people are incredibly fascinating to discuss. Although I may be taking a different angle and discussing things like human nature, physiology and thought processes I find that I am no less great than those who don’t discuss this.

  43. Ellen says:

    Though I see your point, sometimes these extras aren’t really about impressing people. For example, workplaces have different regulations for how professional you should look on the job. Though this may be about impressing people, you shouldn’t skimp on your budget in this instance. Also, owning a house can be very self-rewarding and provide a family with much-needed space. Though, I have to agree that the McMansion is probably a little too extravagant to be all for the sake of one’s needs. I guess, my point is that each person can not just group clothes, cars, and electronics into the category of “To Impress Others,” you really need to assess that for yourself.

  44. Jim Bauer says:

    Warren Buffet is perhaps the quintessential example of the unimportance of impressing others. Being the 2nd richest man on the planet affords him all the luxuries and toys he could ever dream up, yet he lives in the same house he’s lived in for years, drives an older model car, and wears dated clothes. People who spend to impress typically have something within themselves that is lacking, and it’s the ‘impression’ of success and importance that they need to fulfil that void. Being yourself is not only cheaper, but as you stated (and very importantly) your life will be filled with a much better calibur of people as well, thereby enriching your life more than money or toys could ever afford.

  45. Derek says:

    hmm i dont know about this issue. I feel like getting flashy cars, cool clothes, and the latest gadgets, BECAUSE I WANT TO. Sure it makes me look like a poser, someone whose sole purpose is to impress, but it’snot that simple. I’m sure there are other people out there who get the “cool stuff” not just to impress, but because they want to, simply because it’s a total must buy.

  46. Derek says:

    heh its interesting how you guys are talking about people are more valued based on their personality such as confidence which makes them succesful. I think those sucessful people also buy expensive clothing and cars and etc. I think the main focus is, don’t spend unecssary money on things that you cant afford and will only hamper you down financially. Coming from a rich family, I guess my opinions are somewhat biased.

  47. Dorothy says:

    I find that there is nothing wrong with material things if you want them for YOU, not to impress and you can pay for them with ease, not having to rob Peter to pay Paul. If you tithe, save, spend, and invest your money wisely,then you can treat yourself to wonderful things. The problems come when folks buy to impress others of their ‘status’ and don’t have a pot to you know what in and not even the window to throw it out of! Lots of people do not like high end and are happy with what they have $ that’s cool. I find it a bit disturbing is when people who do like high end are heavily criticized for having it. That I call simple jealousy and not called for. Live and let live.

  48. Mark says:

    Most people spend their entire life trying to impress others. That is why most of us aspire to get a better job, education and material possessions. Honestly, we only do it to impress others and to avoid the “mediocre” lable that most of us dread. Why we continue to deny this is beyond me. Human nature is so easy to predict.

  49. zach says:

    “You don’t need a McMansion, a shiny car, an iPhone, or a $50 haircut”
    well, as you will find out by what i write below, i completely disagree with this article and many comments.
    i doubt i could fit 2 enormous pool tables, a very large tennis table, 4 king sized beds, a large pool for the kids(i will not deny them they’re favourite type of exercise), all the gardens for my wife to enjoy her gardening hoppy with, the guest area, and the endless amount of other items we have, into anything else but a “mcmansion”?

    since i (and many other people) have the funds available, you’re going to tell us not to buy a nice, comfortable car to cruise around in? i bought the cars for my personal enjoyment (as many other people do), and certainly not for impressing people off the street.

    without my iphone, i have no idea how i would stay organized. it syncs all of my mail accounts, notes, calendar info, etc. to make sure my imac, pcs, and iphone have the same info, and constantly updates anything i change/do, via mobileme. it has hundreds of thousands of apps, including MANY extremely useful ones. now, of course i could do without it, but i would not be able to remain in my current job without it… i’m sure many other expensive cellular phones have similar, very helpful abilities

    any haircut less than 100 for me has been ridiculous, and if you honestly don’t care if your hair is a nightmare, then go ahead and get a cheap haircut; you certainly won’t be impressing other people then.

    apologies if some of my writing makes no sense, im in a pretty big rush right now. after reading this and a couple comments, i had to comment on this ridiculous article, and how some people actually DO need these things, for other reasons than to impress others…

  50. Wow, so true.

    I had the problem in the past where I had to wear name brands e.g nike, nice car etc. to impress people, but as I matured my mindset changed.

    So now I am content with what I have and I don’t need to impress nobody and put myself in debt to impress them.

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