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From the monthly archives:

February 2011

Transformation and Keeping Up with the Jones’?

by Gary Bamberger on February 8, 2011

Recently, the phrase “keeping up with the Jones’”came up during a conversation with a friend of mine. In doing a little research on-line, I found the background interesting. This phrase was the name of a comic strip that started around 1913 where the creator, Arthur R. (“Pop”) Momand, used his experiences of living beyond his means to keep up with his neighbors as the inspiration behind the comic strip (source). So, the gist behind this phrase is that the “Jones’” establish the standard that others strive to meet, whether it be possessions, social status, community involvement, income, position at work, etc.

When this phrase came up in conversation with my friend, it bristled my subconscious, and I began pondering what it really means and whether it serves me in any way. My pondering started out as a indignant…what gives them the right to set the bar? Who gave “the Jones’” the power to set the standard? As I dug deeper, I realized that striving to keep up with the Jones’ would actually ended up defining what success means for me. And, given that we’re all unique, it’s unlikely that their definition of success is the same as mine. By striving to keep up with the Jones’, I realized that I would actually be giving away my power to the Jones’.

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