I am the proud owner, of an iPhone. Many of you may own one as well and are probably thinking, “So what?” Let me begin by telling you why I am happy about mine. Is it because there is a lady that will always sound sweet when I ask it dumb questions? NO! It must be because it has a GPS that can get me from point A to point B anywhere in the world. NO, that’s not it either! How about the fact it has a lightning fast internet connection. No, once again that would be wrong. Why not one of these features? Well, my iPhone doesn’t have any of these features because it is an original iPhone, what I call an iPhone antique. Mine is so old it doesn’t have a number in the name. You may own an iPhone 3g, or iPhone 4, but mine, NOOOOO, it’s just called an iPhone.
I bought mine in 2007. I have been tempted over the years to purchase a new one but I keep asking myself the same question, what is the main purpose of a cell phone? The answer is always the same. To make phone calls. My iPhone still does that very well. In fact, it still does everything it was designed to do. Why am I proud to own my iPhone? I am proud of the fact that I have stayed contented with my phone despite the release of several newer models over the years. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, contentment is “the state of being contented”, or “showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation”. If the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words means you can tell more about something by looking at, the same could be said of what we own. What do your possessions say about your level of contentment?
Notice the definition of contentment contains the words possessions and status. Do you buy things for the purpose of trying to look wealthy or to impress people? In essence, do you find yourself trying to keep up with the Joneses? Before you answer that, let me explain who the Joneses may be. Many of you may assume the Joneses are your neighbors. If so, do you try and maintain a better lawn than your neighbors? Do you attempt to decorate your house with better furnishings? Is your dream to have a bigger deck or nicer pool? Do you try and spend money on your kids the way your neighbors do? Do you purchase luxury cars like your neighbors?
Be careful, your neighbors are not your only Joneses. According to Boston College professor and author Juliet Schor, the modern day Jones are your coworkers and those you see on TV. Do you try and match the way your coworkers dress? Do you try to vacation in the same destinations as your coworkers? Do you want what your favorite TV character has? If you find yourself answering yes more often than not, you may find yourself lacking contentment.
There is a saying, if the Smiths knew how much trouble the Joneses had keeping up with the Bills, they wouldn’t try and keep up with the Joneses. In the book, the The Millionaire Next Door, former Georgia State professor Thomas Stanley and his colleague William Danko present the attributes of the average millionaire. Among them is a high level of contentment. The average millionaire doesn’t own expensive suits or shoes, doesn’t adorn themselves with extravagant jewelry or watches, purchases 2 year old used American made cars with cash, and lives in homes in older more established neighborhoods. These attributes allow them to live below their means. Most importantly, they do not try and impress anyone with their material possessions.
What do your possessions say about you? Is there anything you own that demonstrates to others your level of contentment? If not, might I suggest that you begin today to be more content, to stop worrying about what others have, and live for yourself and your family. Look for that one item that people can associate with you being content. It will bring an internal smile to your heart. For me, I have coworkers that laugh, in a jovial way, every time they see me use my iPhone. Every time they tease me, I just grin on the outside, but rejoice on the inside, because their teasing represents to me, who I am: a contented person who will someday be included among those who Professors Stanley and Danko write about.