ABP: The Secret to Not Wanting Fancy Things


Reading Time: 2 Min


We want things because they build anticipation and provide novelty in our lives. We get to dream of what life will look like with New Thing. Purchasing New Thing brings a rush of satisfaction and a hit of dopamine in our brains. But the effect is temporary, and a week, a month, or a year later, we set our sights on something new to bring that same rush. This, my friends is the consumer treadmill we all know so well. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were a long-lasting alternative to this tortured pattern, something that could give you that rush of satisfaction again and again?


There is.


Always be producing.


When you switch from being a consumer to being a producer, you will get the rush almost constantly. You will get so much enjoyment from improving your craft, thinking of ways to improve your craft, and even beating yourself up about how what you created could be made better. The consistent, steady improvements that will provide a steady stream of satisfaction and the new skills involved will provide the novelty and engagement your brain craves. Best of all, it will cost you almost nothing. In fact, the better you get at your chosen project, the more likely it is that you will be able to charge for it.


There are a few categories for projects that produce:

  • Tangible Goods
  • Gardening
  • Writing (books, blogs, freelance articles, game strategy websites)
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Woodcrafting
  • Painting
  • Home Improvement
  • Photography
  • Pottery
  • Singing
  • Playing an instrument
  • Restoring cars
  • Sewing


As a bonus, these activities produce outputs that can eventually be sold. You can sell music online, or baked goods at the farmer’s market. You can do home projects as a side business. There are also activities which produce that don’t necessarily have a commercial element.


  • Lessons/Expertise
  • Running
  • Weightlifting
  • Dance/Yoga/Pilates/Barre
  • Any organized sport
  • Education/Consulting on Any Specialized Subject – college admissions, how to tune up cars, finding great yard sales, golfing


These personal skill-focused activities are also great options. While they don’t necessarily create opportunities to generate income, they still engage you and create anticipation and achievement, two things that will bring more fulfillment to your life than the latest Fancy Doohickey will from the store.


How Much Will It Cost?

Not all projects are equal. You might want to learn tennis, but it may be costly to invest in lessons. In general, I would suggest going with a low startup cost activity, because it is hard to know whether you will take to it long term. Writing is a top contender on that basis. Certain sports are extremely affordable, particularly if you recognize that as a novice, you do not need private instruction and opt for group workshops.


The rise of online video instruction has made so many activities extremely accessible at low cost. You can get into sewing and needlework through Youtube videos, dancing, weightlifting, and even musical instruments.


Always be producing is a great way to build in constant satisfaction and achievement into your life. It will keep your wallet fatter and your heart fuller.



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1 Response

  1. Tim says:

    Excellent lesson. These experiences often get us closer to the real world, and open us to more human interaction as well, while many of the fancy toys we’re told to want can do the opposite. Being part of a community of doers is immensely satisfying.

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