I like to think I’m fairly minimalist, but admit I probably have at least twice as many t-shirts as I need.
My standard “uniform” tends to be some kind of print t-shirt, usually with a tree or mountain or Land Rover or bicycle on the front – the kind that Fat Face churn out dozens of subtly different designs of each year – plus casual, hard wearing but comfortable chino style trousers, plus a check shirt or fleece (or both) on top.
My views on temptation lean towards not putting yourself in its line of fire, rather than trying to show some kind of heroic self restraint in the face of a constant barrage of it.
Why put yourself through that torment?
This applies to anything from people (who you may be drawn to in ways that might damage your existing relationships) to cameras to trainers to chocolate to vintage toys, and a thousand other things between.
If you don’t want to be tempted to eat chocolate, don’t have much (or any) of it in the house.
If you don’t want to keep buying trainers, don’t visit trainer stores (online or off), delete those specialist trainer store apps from your phone, and unsubscribe from their daily special offer emails.
With any of these objects – and a million other variations – there’s a pretty low limit to how many you can practically use, benefit from and enjoy.
Beyond this saturation point, they just become a burden – physically and mentally.
Too many means too much choice, too much to store, too much to organise, too much to maintain, and you end up not appreciating any of them.
Plus the unique appeal of each diminishes, because it’s constantly being diluted by highly similar other variations.
If you had, say, one DSLR and one digital compact camera, the differences between operating the two are likely to be very significant.
Whilst there’d be some overlap, there are things you can do with the DSLR that you can’t with the compact, and vice versa.
So you would enjoy and value each for what they can offer.
But owning six or 16 or 26 DSLRs, it’s likely that there’s little between them, other than incremental “upgrades”, or features.
What also happens, is once you get past a certain saturation point, you’re forever looking for these minute differences, hairs are being split ever more finely.
That very obvious difference between a DSLR and compact changes once you have a dozen of each.
Then you start looking at a different compact that has a 35mm f/1.9 lens rather than a 35mm f/2 lens, or weighs only 149g, not 169g, or a DSLR that shoots at six frames per second instead of five, or has 49 auto focus points rather than 45, all the while convincing yourself that these tiny margins makes a huge difference.
In other words, you’re looking for cracks and gaps in your existing collection to fill, rather than enjoying what you have.
With those gaps becoming ever smaller and more insignificant.
This post came about as I resisted purchasing another blue t-shirt the other day, remembering I already have three or four that are pretty similar.
It’s strange how this pattern has come out stronger in something like clothing, which I’m fairly indifferent about most of the time (hence my fairly basic uniform described above, and the fact that I try to buy everything in muted and neutral enough colours (black, blue, grey, green, brown, dark red) that it all matches each other).
Perhaps the fact that I’ve not bought a new (to me) camera in around five months – probably the longest purchase-less run in about eight years – means this curiosity to gather and collect something new is evolving into other areas of my life.
Nevertheless, I’m more aware of it than ever before, so can detect when it’s trying to sneak up on me – in whichever guise!
How do you resist the temptation of constantly buying cameras (or t-shirts, or trainers, or anything else) that are incredibly similar to what you already have?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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