Just thought I would give everyone a quick reminder today of the purpose of advertising.

I was on my motorbike the other day and went under a raised walkway over the street that had a large, full-color billboard of a new condominium complex.

In the photo, two westerners were sitting by the pool in perfect contentment, each with a fruity adult beverage in their hands. They were smiling with their perfect teeth and beautiful bodies. It was a picture of paradise – a rich man’s dream. Luxury and happiness all wrapped up in photoshop.

If someone purchased a condo there, could they replicate that picture? Yes. For about five minutes. (until the kids jumped into the picture and set the table umbrella on fire, or something like that)

What advertising tries to do is to sell a few minutes worth of happiness as if it is a lifetime worth of happiness. Advertising shows you a glimpse, not the reality. Advertising doesn’t show the debt, the extra-marital affairs, the horrible boss, the exhausting bickering, the kids and their affect on sanity, the divorces, the bankruptcies, the lying, the backstabbing, the complaining, the mundane, the abuse.

Those perfect people with perfect teeth are not real.

If we keep that in mind, perhaps we will all be a little wiser in spending our money on things we think will bring us happiness. Because we can’t buy happiness. Happiness has to be grown. Remember all those things which you once said “I have to have this”? How many of them have become insignificant in our lives? My guess is most of them. (I remember when I was recently married that I tried to talk my wife into going into debt so I could buy some DJ equipment. Luckily, she’s the sane one. What was I thinking?)

So don’t try to find truth in advertising. It doesn’t exist.

(Full Disclosure: Yes, I advertise my novels. But I make no claim that my novels will make your life happy. I do hope they can make you forget your miserable existence for a short while. OK, that was a joke. I hope your existence is not miserable. And if it is, I hope you will start to grow happiness in your life. I truly do!)

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