When we are poor, we should not indulge the “I want” impulse.
When you are rich, you might well have grown beyond the “I want” impulse.
Such is the nature of being human, at least in my experience. The instinct (if indeed it is an instinct and not a manufactured thing) for wanting what we do not currently have is strong. Not in all cultures, to be sure. But in our decidedly material society, stuff has cachet.
My colleague Luis is poor. His car was repossessed back in the summer. (A car, by the way, bought on the never-never, a POS Chrysler that lost all value once it hit the street.) His phone bill went unpaid, and so he borrowed friends’ and work phones. And I had to drive him to work, in a three month grind that took a toll on my life. I consider that my charitable act for the year.
And yet, here is this man without a dime in the bank eating fast food. Well, we can say, it’s not that big a deal. Fast food is cheap and fun. It’s a small indulgence.
No. When we are this far in the hole at age 44, indulgence is no longer part of our life. This man will never climb out of his hole at this rate, not because he is incapable, but because he chooses not to.
His McDonalds and Little Caesar’s and Burger King meals all add up. For the cost of all these meals, every week, month after month, my friend could be making delicious home-cooked meals at a fraction of the price. The money saved could go towards building the ladder he will need to get out of the financial and life-hole he created. His work can be made whole with rice and beans and spices.
But it won’t happen. He “wants” a Whopper and onion rings, so he has it. Indulging a whim for salt and fat will kill his future. And it will kill him, too. Did I mention that he is pre-diabetic?