You can learn a lot about a society from the sayings that are used by it. Take for example, "Keeping up with the Joneses". This phrase has been with us for so long that it has become what linguists call "fossilized", which means that it is a permanent part of our language whose origins are lost in time.
It may seem like the concept described by this phrase has nothing to do with personal development or how to get the most out of your life, but consider this: There is an attitude behind that idiom that has been with us for so long that no one can remember where it came from. To tell you the truth, it is a very destructive attitude. It makes people feel small and inadequate. It causes people to make bad decisions and to try to be something that they're not.
When people try to "keep up with the Joneses", they oftentimes put themselves up to their eyeballs in debt knowing that they are spending money they don't have. They may even make claims they know they can't support and will then eat themselves up inside trying to find a way to cover their butts.
People, that is no way to live! You know who you need to be better than? Yourself! You need to be a better person today than you were yesterday and you need to be working to be better every day while letting Mister and Misses Jones worry about themselves.
Here is a little secret that you really need to consider: You don't know if the people you are trying to keep up with are really doing as well as they appear. Maybe they are just better at faking it than you are. I urge you not to make this simple financial analysis a determinant of life happiness. Happiness comes from a whole-person perspective involving spiritual, mental, health, career, and relationship elements.
I know so many people who have lots of money but hate their lives, so you need to forget the Joneses; don't worry about the Johnsons; and let the Smiths take care of themselves. Focus your attention on creating the best "you" that you possibly can and you'll get much further in a faster amount of time.
My challenge for you this week:
Consider all the ways that you slow your personal satisfaction when you try to follow the path of others.
Write down the past bad choices you've made personally, professionally, or financially in an effort to appear as more than you are. These choices could involve such things as lies told and purchases made.
Review your list and think about your need for the approval of others. Do you still find yourself not being authentic in your behavior?
Determine what you would be able to achieve if you relinquished the need for external approval.
Now that you know what you could achieve, it's time to go for it... and forget about the Joneses!