We've Been Duped

Chapter 30 of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works

by Adam Khan

PEOPLE FELT RICHER in the 1950s - when houses averaged 1100 square feet - than they do now, when they average 2000 square feet. There were no VCRs, no microwaves, no cable TV, no PCs, no video games, hardly any dishwashers, and in most homes only the father brought in an income. Yet according to surveys, our reported level of happiness peaked in 1957 and has gone down as our level of wealth has gone up.

The reason is simple: You and I don't need much to be happy. Most of us are doing too much, working too hard, trying to make "enough" money. But it costs us time. And after a certain point - a point we have all passed a long time ago - you get less and less happiness for more and more expenditure of time to earn money. And that is time taken away from time spent with your loved ones, where a good deal of happiness does come from. Those moments of simple human interaction - talking, playing a game, taking a walk, cooking together - those are the real riches of life.

You've been exposed to barrage of advertising, something like a million ads by the time you're twenty. And those advertising people are experts on human nature. They've read all the studies showing what influences people, and they carefully design their advertisements to pull your attention and then to convince you their product would make you happy. They have been trying to manipulate your values since you were a kid. They've been trying to get you to believe having things is what will make you happy.

Most of us are way too busy, and that's just perfect as far as the advertisers are concerned. We're out working to earn more money so we have more to spend on products. If we would learn to curb our desire for so much stuff, we wouldn't have to work as much, so we'd be able to spend more unscheduled time with our loved ones.

You already know this, I'm sure. But the more you hear something the more of an impact it will make on your feelings and behavior. Ask any advertiser.

You want more time? You want more enjoyment? There is a way, but it will require a little discipline: Do without. You'll be a lot richer.

Remind yourself you don't need much to be happy.

What is the most powerful self-help technique on the planet?
What single thing can you do that will improve your attitude, improve the way you deal with others, and also improve your health? Find out here.
Where to Tap


Would you like to be emotionally strong? Would you like to have that special pride in yourself because you didn't whimper or whine or collapse when things got rough? There is a way, and it's not as difficult as you'd think.
Think Strong

When some people get smacked around by life, they give in and let life run them over. But some people have a fighting spirit. What's the difference between these two and why does it make a difference? Find out here.
Fighting Spirit

Learn how to prevent yourself from falling into the common traps we are all prone to because of the structure of the human brain:
Thoughtical Illusions

next: How to Like Yourself More

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 16). We've Been Duped, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: March 31, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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