Spending Level up but Happiness Barely Keeping Pace with it in China
With average Chinese consumers facing unprecedented lifestyles choices increasingly attractive and within reach ranging from extravagant holidays to luxurious possessions like time pieces and designer bags, the more they need a dose of the 21st century rationale mindset to stay prudent and practical. As a matter of fact, the combination of rising disposable income of the middle class and burgeoning of consumerism has yielded dramatic changes in Chinese consuming behavior in the pursuit of the good life heavily influenced by western public media and contemporary popular values. The way they spend money on often offer a glimpse into Chinese inner modus operandi and a better understanding of the primary motives behind the expenditures enhance the satisfaction levels giving more bang for their highly sought after RMB bucks.
Ever notice how the initial holiday enthusiasm plunges right after collecting a handful of “likes” and “shared” of the vacation pictures posted online either after the trip or like what many other increasingly did now instantly? Or having troubles paying attention to the fine culinary cuisines served at a candle light dinner in an expensive restaurant right after taking food pictures and selfies and having them collected respectable number of “likes” in a spectrum of social media networking platforms in your virtual supporting network instantaneously?
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone.”Henry David Thoreau
Worry not, you are like many of the contemporary Chinese smartphone users had unknowingly being conditioned as Pavlovian dogs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning) craving for the common human desires to be accepted, acknowledged or to the extent of being envied; the actual exciting occurrences of nursing coconut juice at a pool side under a shade at a white sandy beach with blue sky in a hot summer day had to take the back seat, it’s the corresponding “likes” and “share” we are addicted to not unlike the dogs salivating with anticipation in response to the bell, achieved by repeated pairings of the neutral stimulus and the potent biological stimulus that elicits the desired response.
The secrets to be back on our two feet again are to examine the primary motives behind the expenditures; parting away with hard earned legal tenders just to impress others didn’t do justice to the money as euphoria produced if any is anything but short lived. Opening wallets to what and why doing so in the first place are equally important. The satisfaction is half gone if we merely wanted to show off as compared to having our essential desires being addressed.
“Once you really accept that spending money doesn’t equal happiness, you have half the battle won.”Ernest Callenbach,
For an experiential acquirement and genuinely fulfilling lifestyle had more powerful lasting influences on our state of happiness as these will help one grows, satisfying the physiological cravings with sense of achievement and in control, higher level of emotional and an intense state of transcendent happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of contentment. Expenditures toward achieving these had a more profound dollar values So long the motive behind our spending matches with our personal psychological needs and the initiative origins from the strong inner drives, interests, passions and values we would exhibits stronger happiness, sense of satisfaction and solid association with others, our whole body and souls can be truly recharged and in harmony.
For example, for enthusiastic collectors, one didn’t mind paying seemingly exorbitant price to own a piece of rare item like antiques or paintings as they truly capable of appreciating their values and derive pure sense of joys without the need to entice admiration from others. Likewise, any expenditures to feel good on the expenses of others just isn’t worth it as they didn’t appeal to core needs, for example. Someone who has not acquired a taste of premium red wines consumed a bottle of fine wine just to impress his guests and so on.
In conclusion, China which had gone through a generation buffeted by famine in the 1950s and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and ’70s now faces challenges that include the new rich’s relentless flaunting of wealth and a near 100% rate national past time of simmering resentment of the rich during its breakneck urbanization and modernization since 80s, a traditionally Confucian country, with a history of reverence for hard working and thrifty lifestyle has to learn to address how to spend wisely for their swelling wealth for their own benefits.
Money is an opportunity for happiness, but it is an opportunity that people routinely squander because the things they think will make them happy often don’t.”-Elizabeth Dunn, Daniel Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson,
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