By Victor Ochieng
A “Social Comparison Theory” introduced by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 says that people are inclined to judge themselves and what their individual abilities based on what they see in the world around them.
This is something consciously done as a way to learn how best to define oneself.
In a Black Enterprise article written by Stacey Tisdale, she gives an example of a woman who earns $20,000 a year from her work at a charity event. She was being given $1,000 cash gift during events to help her take care of her own children. Asked what she was intending to use the money for, she said she would purchase an Xbox for her children. One can’t help but see how much the world around us influences our decisions. In her case, what she saw on television and online is that normal children own a game console. This kind of reaction comes from one’s instinct and not intellect. This is in spite of the fact that most people in her neighborhood had the challenge of keeping up with their mortgage payments and private school fees for their children. But at the end of the day, humans get programmed to do that which is considered normal.
Besides going into a financial burden, when we get into do things considered normal, we end up losing our focus on our priorities and the persons we really are.
There are, however, some things we can do to help us control this conditioning and ensure we remain focused on what really matters.
One of these is to tune ourselves into our personal goals so it helps us stick to our budgets and spending plans.
Tisdale shares three questions, which she advises that we should note down and put them inside our wallets.
You should ask yourself whether you can afford what you want to buy; whether it falls within your goals; and why you have to do it if you either can’t afford it or if it isn’t within your own set goals.
Breathe in and get the answer to the questions.
Doing so also gives you the push to know exactly how much you earn in a day and to think of what you’re purchasing and why.
What you could also do is share your goals with someone close – a friend of a relative – and request them to help you stick with your plans.
Ensure you spare time, at least once every month, to have a heart-to-heart conversation on your achievements, how far you’ve come with your goals and whether you’re on the right track.