This week, I’m sharing a concept, the Diderot effect, I learnt from my personal favourite newsletter, Dense Discovery.
Kai Brach writes extensively on the concept of Enough. If you aren’t already a subscriber, I highly recommend you head over there right now and subscribe!
The Diderot effect, named after 18th century philosopher, Denis Diderot, iswhen the purchase of an item leads to a cascade of new purchases to ‘complete’ the look. Thus enslaving you to a never-ending cycle of consumption.
At the start of the pandemic, I started putting together my home office. I bought a standing desk, keyboard, monitor, pegboard, and so much more. It was really really fun. A nice shopping project during the lockdown. It was also exactly what Diderot warned against.
Since I learnt of the Diderot effect, long after I put together my work from home setup, I’ve been trying to avoid falling prey to it. But I have to admit, it’s fun to complete looks and buy accessories.
So instead of trying to avoid the cascade of purchases (since I enjoy it so much), I now try to think of purchases as groups of things. That is, I now factor in accessories and complementary purchases into the equation before I buy anything new.
So it’s no longer, “should I get a new pair of shoes?”, instead it’s “should I invest in this new look?”
That is, if I’m not willing to spend the money to buy 5 other things to go with the shoes, or if I’m not excited about the whole new look, I don’t buy the shoes.
So far, I think this helps.
Seeya next Monday,
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