The Problem With Trading Up

A new car, a new house, a new job, a new relationship, they seem virtually flawless in the beginning. But as time goes on, we start to see the imperfections. And eventually those imperfections become so glaring, especially in relation to what we think other people have, we think about trading up.

The problem is, we’re comparing what we have intimate knowledge of, with things we only know superficially. Often, the grass really does look greener on the other side. And most of the time it’s not.

We keep fooling ourselves into thinking that perfection exists somewhere out there. We keep thinking we can trade up. But often we end up with a new set of imperfections that we must learn to tolerate or overlook.

How will you know if what you’re trading for is actually better, if the grass merely seems greener? And what happens after we make the trade and realize we were wrong?

We’ll either have to admit it to ourselves and try to go back. Though going back usually isn’t an option. Or we can justify. We can tell ourselves that it was “meant to be”. Which then leaves us prone to making the same mistake again.

Or, we can admit to ourselves that we made a mistake. And recognize that although going back may not be an option, we can at least avoid fooling ourselves the next time we’re tempted to trade up.

This isn’t to say that we’re always wrong. That we should never sell or move on. Sometimes we know in our heart of hearts that it’s time to move on. But we need to recognize how prone we are to getting it wrong.

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