In 6th grade, I tried hard to impress my friends. I would often do silly things and go to great lengths to get their approval. One time, I got on a treadmill and set the speed to maximum, only to slip, fall, smack my face on the treadmill, fly backwards, and create a hole in the wall with my foot.
It was a crazy ordeal that sent me to the hospital and left me with dimples from the treadmill on my chin for a few days, and more importantly, a chipped tooth. I’m not talking about a small chip either. My tooth was chopped in half and I looked ridiculous for a little while, but after a few days I had the tooth fixed, the dimples disappeared, and I came out the other end ok.
Now, 11 years later, I’m still paying for that mistake. Two years ago, I chipped it while wrestling with a friend, three months ago, I chipped it on a pretzel, and finally, on Monday, while I was eating cereal, I chipped it again. It’s extremely frustrating each time, and more than anything, I’d like to find a permanent solution so eating an apple without worrying about the consequences could be a serious possibility.
Nobody wins when we try to impress our friends. Having an accident is a worst-case scenario, but when talking about money, there can be plenty of consequences, too.
If we try and keep up with our friends and spend money, we won’t come out ahead. In fact, in trying to keep up, we may end up falling behind. If we spend a lot of money on a fancy new car every two years, we’re spending money to impress other people. The same goes with a big house we may not need, a snazzy new watch, and clothes above what we need. By spending a lot of money on these things instead of contributing more to retirement or other savings goals, you’ll keep up with your friends now, and you may even impress them, but what will the consequences be 20, 30, or 40 years down the road? I now have to worry about when the next time my tooth will break instead of being able to enjoy pizza crust worry-free, all because of a silly mistake I made 11 years ago. What will your mistakes cost you?
Don’t fall behind so that your friends will like you more. If they need you to have a fancy car and an iPhone to like you, do you really want to be friends with them? You can live very happily if you go without the “stuff” and focus on the activities you like and the people you love.