The Diderot Effect & How It Tempts You To Upgrade

Denis Diderot was a poor and yet well-known French philosopher. As a co-founder of one of the most comprehensive encyclopedias of his time, he was nonetheless reduced to living in poverty.

Diderot’s luck changed when Catherine the Great (Empress of Russia) offered to buy his library for a large sum of money. To celebrate his change in fortune, Diderot purchased a beautiful scarlet robe. And this was the beginning of a strange set of purchasing decisions.

The scarlet robe seemed so out of place in comaprison with the rest of his common goods that Diderot felt a compelling urge to replace the rest of his belongings. The rest of his worldly possessions had to match the beauty of the robe. His old rug was replaced with a new one from Damascus. A leather chair took the place of his beat-up old straw chair. Sculptures and mirrors appeared in the bare room, along with a new kitchen table.

The string of reactive purchases is now commonly referred to as the Diderot Effect.

The Pressure To Upgrade

We live in a society that places a strong pressure on upgrading.

You have last year’s iphone? Get with the times and upgrade to the latest release.

Still driving your ten year old car? Sell it and get a new one on lease.

Living in the same apartment for the past five years? Time to move in to a bigger space.

But when you upgrade, there are other auxiliary purchases that catch you by surprise. When you buy the latest iphone, you also end up buying a phone pouch, new headphones and multiple apps that you did not need before.

The same applies to buying a new car. You end up buying a new set of mats, a car phone charger, an umbrella, emergency kit, and other accessories.

Or you buy a new dress and find yourself shopping for shoes and matching earrings.

Resist The Temptation To Upgrade

There are simple things you can do to avoid making unncessary purchases:

  1. Unsubscribe from marketing emails and social media accounts that try to convince you to buy something you do not need.
  2. Set yourself a budget and put automatically direct the rest of your money into a savings and investments.
  3. When you buy something new, give away a similar item you already own.
  4. Let go of the desire to accumulate material things. Instead, spend your money on educating and empowering yourself with useful skills.

And finally, change the environment that is causing you the temptation. Ask your friends to meet you at a park instead of the shopping mall. Limit to your exposure to advertisements that are not in line with the vision for your life.

Sheevaun Moran is a business advisor, master coach, quantum energy thought leader and the founder of Energetic Solutions. She uses business principles with energetic techniques to help more than 25,000 entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders bring instant focus and shifts to clarity, purpose, and profits.


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