Reasons Why We Want What We Can't Have


Just wanted to share this article on why we want what we can’t have:

It argues that we’re always driven to want something more, especially when it concerns material possessions. That brand new watch loses its appeal real fast; before we know it, we’re angling for a shiny necklace.

I think this explains, in part, why so many of us have the urge to “keep up with the Joneses.” Instead of thinking that we already have more than so many people out there, we harp on the fact that others have more than us – thus, we yearn for that which is unobtainable, or above our means.

What’s your take on this? Is it possible for us to reach a point where we’re content with the material possessions we own, or do we have an innate need to always strive for something better?


Yes, it is possible, but it requires a shift in the way a person normally sees and experiences the world. Basically, a person who’s living for possessions and external gratification will never have enough, because there’s only so much a thing can do for you before it starts to lose its flavor and you cast your eyes on something else. To place less of a value on material possessions (though, not necessarily by going the route of extreme asceticism), a person simply has to orient themselves to what, at bottom, they value and are driven to accomplish in life, and focus on living that out. This is a process that takes YEARS to fully tap into and realize, but what gradually happens is that things really only become valuable as far as they feed into that part of you, and can easily be let go if they’re a hindrance. The constant striving to reach goals eventually is transmuted into dedicating one’s life to furthering something much larger than any individual (not just any cause, what I’m pointing at is much bigger than that), as well as seeing your actions and the actions of others who are knowingly and unknowingly participating as being part of a greater unity. At that point, material possessions are just not a priority, though, funnily enough, a person living on that level will find themselves with more material possessions than they would have dreamed of before they started.


Great post. I’ve read that people get more satisfaction out of experiences (traveling, dining out, etc.) than material goods.