After we did the podcast on smell several people have spoken to me about the idea and other ideas around it. Most seem to agree with me that the constructed world that we live in is no longer natural and rather than smelling like us it smells like a chemist pallet of poisons. Someone said to me that they started thinking about when they were a kid and the phrase ‘someone who has a nose for business’. They payed out to me the tapping of their nose with the first finger of their right hand which, when I was kid translated as ‘good deal’ or ‘a word to the wise’. Anyway the conversation continued to the idea of being able to smell a rat, a fiddle or a bad deal. Then, we talked about the variety of scams that are now hitting us from the internet. That took us back to another podcast when we had spoken about one of the main deficits in online video calls is the complete lack of smell. The comment was ‘online it is harder to smell a rat’. Interesting comment especially as a we all, apparently, are cash rich from the savings that we have made in lockdown.
Money, Money, Money
Money makes the world go round! Or so they say. In lockdown the world of retail has, in many ways, ground to a halt. At the same time savings have grown. Now the shops are opening up again and they want our money.
Is it time to send, spend, spend ?
Money is a fantasy. It doesn’t actually exists. The piece of paper, the token, that we call a note, is just that. It is a piece of paper. Every bank note, in every country, has some kind of statement that implies that it is a token that has a value, “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…” yet if you were to go to the bank of England and ask for your pounds they will probably think that you are mad. The basis of money is that we, as society, agree that the token, the note, has a value that we all agree to maintain.
The need to use money tokens to get beyond the problems of barter became an essential. After all if I am buying your chicken and I want to trade my cow how will give me my change? Anyway, we all use money, often in the form of credit, to create a pool of energy that we can exchange for goods and services, and Christmas means spend, spend, spend.
If you follow our blogs and the podcasts you will realise the importance of the relationship between various addictive issues/substances and the production of dopamine in the brain and, guess what, money is the same. The need to spend money can spike our dopamine levels. the need to continually spend is a dopamine addiction. Dopamine is known as ‘the love drug’. It is produced by the pleasures centres in the brain and creates feelings of happiness and euphoria. It is these feelings that we crave and become addicted to.
When we crave a ‘love object’ that we just need to buy, our brain is telling us that it needs a squirt of dopamine. But dopamine is a fickle friend. As soon as we achieve our love object, as soon as we buy what we were craving, the drive for dopamine ceases and the love object becomes yesterdays news.
Have you been craving to buy something, perhaps spending many weeks or months saving the money. Now at last you can buy it. It may be your flavour of the month for a little while but soon these feelings will wear off. The problems is that because of your addictive habits your brain will now crave more dopamine. So now you will need a new love object to get it going again. More spend, spend, spend.
Advertisers know this and, like Apple, will change their designs and specifications to keep the dopamine needs of their followers flowing. No one really needs to continually update devices at the rate that the market dictates and yet we all buy into it. Sales people and teams understand this and their sales techniques are designed to get our juices flowing, to increase the flow of dopamine.
In big stores the lighting, the music and the displays all are designed to create more dopamine and, to create the need to have, to own and, to buy.
When your expenditure exceeds your income, on a regular basis, and you are not living in poverty, then you are probably addicted to retail therapy. What that means is, that like all addicts, you have trained your brain to connect an activity, in this case spending money, to the production of dopamine in your brain’s pleasure centres.
Just as there is nothing wrong with having the occasional blowout on booze there is also nothing wrong with having the occasional spend fest. It is all a matter of proportion. It is when it is out of proportion that it becomes a problems and that means therapy. As with everything in life when you have a problem do something about it, see someone, talk, seek help.
So what cravings have you developed in lock down? What are your love objects?
Holiday? Meal out? New car?
Our drive for retail therapy can leave us open to be scammed. Right now there are lot of scammers who know that we are craving a money dopamine hit and they are after us. Watch your texts and emails. Question before you respond. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
My resource for this week is to download the app for your bank and use the facilities and advise that they offer. They all have information about how to avoid being scammed.
Overall when it comes to money the deal is…
love people and use money, do not, love money and use people…
Be happy and spend responsibly enjoy