Let’s start firstly by explaining what the term “keeping up with the joneses” means, okay, ever seen your neighbour rolling in a new car and felt the urge to also roll in an ever bigger an beautiful car?
Just to show your neighbours that you too are capable of getting yourself an upgrade. Well if this still doesn’t click then I will try making it even clearer, “keeping up with the Joneses” simply explains the phenomenon of people wanting to compare themselves to others only to fit in to a specific social class by building up on material goods.
I have seen this countless times. Comparison or let’s say competition, to some point, can be considered a good thing. Seeing someone succeeding in life makes us want to push ourselves in making a name for ourselves; this is Okayed because we are said to be competitive beings in nature. Actually we feed on other people hence the saying “if you want to succeed you need to surround yourself with successful people”
But all this is only one line crossed away to being dysfunctional. I am one to advocate minding your own business because you will never go wrong with that. But when I heard on TV a grown man describing people wanting to buy cars and a whole lot of things they don’t need as a cause of peer pressure, I thought I should weigh in on the issue.
Competition can give rise to Jealousy
If we are to be honest with ourselves we would agree that it hardly happens that in “keeping up with the Joneses” people buy cars because of peer pressure, unless I don’t get the whole picture of peer pressure; people buy these things because they knowingly want to be better than those around them– they want people looking over to know that they too can buy all sorts of fancy things. If we are constantly looking at the next person’s every little step and trying hard to match what they have or are doing it is not peer pressure it is jealousy.
So what if you don’t have the financial means to keep up with the Joneses? What if they buy all sorts of things that are way out of your league? Will you still pass a gracious and sincere smile or will your failure to match them build up to envy and then hatred. When people compare every tinny thing they do to that of the next person it boils up to wishing bad upon others, because after all, there can only be one king in a jungle and everyone is scrapping to be a lion.
Competition can give rise to lack of self-identity
Calling a spade a spade people who compare can never be themselves wholly because they are living in the shadows of others. Doing things only because others are doing it minimizes the chances of exploring ones true passion and self. It takes energy and time to make sure that the next person is not even an inch ahead of you. Just like a competitor analysis, one will have to know each and every step the competitor takes so it can be easier to anticipate their next step and always be ahead of them. This will mean that the person you are relies on what paths others choose to take –you are never an individual fulfilling your dreams that are solely and entirely yours, with no influence.
Competition can give rise to not having good people skills
People whom are consumed with “completion” tend to be narcissistic; it is all about them and them only, and people don’t want to be around such behaviours. We don’t want our entire dinner date be filled with negative thoughts of “how she thinks she’s better because she just got a new TV set” it’s draining and trust me if you are one of those types, friends will be dropping you like a hot potato; no one wants to be around such behaviour.