As you know, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Wacky Wednesday, and a whole bunch of other cleverly named days are coming up...
Each will present you with a plethora of discounted items, from TV's and Furbies, to digital games, music, and software at bargain prices.
I am actually a huge fan of this time of year.
Not because it turns some people into stampeding, 28 Days Later zombies to get the latest Tickle Me Elmo...
But because it offers me a chance to get things that I had wanted to get anyway at a great discount, saving me money I can then spend on other things (like Let's Rock Elmo's....).
This, of course, poses an ethical dilemma: to buy or not to buy?
Obviously, you can't purchase everything that strikes your interested over the next few weeks leading to Christmas; while there will be many great sales, there are only so many gold coins in your pocket.
That's why, around this time of year, when my wallet is open and ready to make some bad decisions, I ask myself a simple question:
Will this make me better or worse in the next two years time?
This is the simple litmus test I use to decide whether I should pull the trigger and buy shiny new X, or whether I should turn down the endorphin-releasing, red-light flashing, bargain-bin, no-brainer, 99% off limited-time, limited-quantity, discount deal I'm sure to see in the next few days.
Will this make me better or worse?...
A simple question that changes everything.
And if you're buying gifts for friends and family, same rules apply: "Will this make their life better or worse in two years time?"
If you're wondering, "but Tom, how do I use this in my own life you turkey?!"
I'll feed you baby bird.
For example, let's say I see a new 80" LED TV on sale for 60% off, only $1,700; the full-price version is over $3,000 - what a steal, right!?
I then ask myself: "will this make me better or worse in two years time?"
This is where I weigh the pros and cons of making the purchase (removing the enemy from the equation).
Let's start with pros:
Good pros, all of them.
Now let's look at the cons:
All in, I'd personally skip the TV.
(and that's exactly what I am doing this year)
Anything, in my opinion, that can make you or your life better.
What you might notices is that, by necessity, all of these "things" are "production" tools - things that will help me create or improve my life or the life of others.
I know any of these would be a good purchase because my life will improve if I get (and use) them. They aren't just purchases, but investments.
Winner winner chicken dinner.
Fundamentally, what I'm sharing with you is easy; easy to understand, and easy to do.
But it's also easy not to do.
Easy to do, easy not to do.
Yet, it is these small, easy choices that change the trajectory of our lives.
“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” - Jeff Olsen, The Slight Edge
So before you open your wallet, today, tomorrow, next month, or next year...
Will this make me better or worse in two years time?
The answer to this question, and the choice you make after, could change you life.
It's up to you.