The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t need much to get by in life. The basic necessities in the material world is clothes, food and shelter. Add some books and music to that and I have more than enough.

Among the non-materialistic things, I enjoy exploring, creating, learning, reflecting and like having valuable conversations with friends. I’m content with that.

Yet, modern society is proclaiming that I need to have so much more. It proclaims that I need to have the latest technology gadgets, transportation vehicles, expensive accessories, branded clothes and whatever else is showing through in the frequent breaks on the TV. It comes dressed up in the superstition that I’ll get happier if I just had those things. That is because happiness is counted in external validation.

If I buy an expensive watch and post some photos on Facebook, I’ll generate admiration from my “friends” which will gain me more satisfaction. That’s the modern equation of happiness. Social proof.

I’m not disliking material things per se, there are many wonderful achievements which has been made as inspiration for man’s ability. What I can’t get is the wide recognized notion that this is the formula which my self-image is dependent on. It’s not. I create my own happiness.

What I’ve found out is this—everything I add in my life comes with a price. No matter if it requires money by maintenance, time by attention or energy by labor; there’s more to it than the initial price tag suggests. It’s easy to accept things that are cheap or free for the moment and later, getting bogged down by splurging time, irritation and effort as alternative currencies for those objects.

By this knowledge I choose carefully what I incorporate in my life, to keep my mind in a flexible state and nourish what I am.