Studies have shown that we will do everything in our power to avoid loss. Meaning that once we have psychologically taken ownership of something, we will do what it takes to avoid losing it.
In his book “Predictability Irrational”, Dr. Dan Ariely outlines different studies to prove these human behaviors. For example, we often overvalue the things we have over what the market is willing to pay for them. This is why homes, cars, jewellery are often over-valued by the owner when they are listed for sale.
Our aversion to loss causes us to overestimate the things we own. This also leads to hoarding which is a condition we all suffer from on some level. We hang on to items that are well past their utility simply because we feel they are worth more sitting in storage than donated to a good cause or recycled.
Advertisers understand the psychology of ownership very well. Hence, businesses will offer 30-day free trials, samples and test drives. Once you have accepted the trial, you will have a sense of ownership and it becomes harder to let go.
What happens when this behavior takes control of us? We all understand that living above our means and over accumulating material things equate to financial dependence and lack of freedom. Hence, we must be aware of the thoughts that trigger emotions which force our hand to act in detrimental ways. We must also learn to let go of things we own that no longer have utility or value in our lives. This is the most difficult thing to do, but it is a constant exercise we must engage in. The more we exercise the will to let go, the better and easier it becomes. Take control and have more freedom, with less stuff.
Neo B. Concio, Author: “The Millionaire Employee: Simple Steps to Freedom”
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