I am sure YOU are less healthy and less fit than your parents. You have more dresses than they have. You eat more junk than they do or did. I am sure that they used the public transport more than you did.
Have you ever wondered how you finished that bag of over salted ‘chips’ made by an immoral and unethical company from the land of Sin? Have you picked up things in the shop even when you wee convinced that you did not need that book / dress / cd /….what have you. Did you eat those 6 puris served on your plate even though you felt full at the 3rd puri?
Our culture has become centered on (over?) consumption of all types, and it’s affecting our health, happiness, and well-being. One documentary made in UK traces this ‘over’ consumption as a source of happiness can be traced to the USA just post WWII when they had excess capacity, and had to sell more to justify the capacity. So all the extra advertising push – ‘this cigarette will attract the girls to you’ and ‘this coffee will make you virile’ and kinda stuff pushed extra consumption. Also remember the generation born in 1935 and later in the US did not have the depresssion era hangover, so they went bang on consumption. This leads to what happiness researchers refer to as the treadmill — a cycle that begins with a purchase and post consumption buzz, followed by a crash, which is then chased by a search for another buzz. Just never ends. And we have no solution either. Sadly we succumbed to the worst American blunt lie – ‘more will make us happy’. The Scandinavian countries with much higher taxation has a more satisfied population.
Largely we are all looking to be happy, and as we consume more we realise that the ‘extra’ consumption is not giving us pleasure. Fair enough, if the 20th shirt that we bought gave us pleasure, will the 54th shirt increase the pleasure? It cannot, right? We are adding more to our AGONY OF CHOICE by increasing the things that we have. Cannot talk for women, but do men need more than 5 shirts? The more you standardize, the lesser your needs – white shirt, black pant, black belt, black socks, black shoes. How can you have more than 2/3 shoes? You need a standby, that is understandable, but surely not for variety, right?
I see people coming on to my blog and saying “we have wasted 3 decades by people wanting to be simple and not stimulating the economy enough’. Met one person attending my session – saying ‘What is the use of Warren Buffett having so much money..he still stays in the same house’ – clearly such people completely miss the ‘Art of Living’. They surely need ‘Inner Engineering’!!
The false and hollow promise of happiness in ALL advertising messages has trapped us in a cycle of endless pursuit, convinced that if this product or that experience does not do it, the next one will. I just heard the story of a woman killing 8 delivery boys who came to deliver goods that she had ordered ONLINE. It cannot get worse, right? Such consumption does not just affect our happiness; they are also demanding on the planet. Our discarded stuff all ends up somewhere – either in a landfill choking mother earth, or in the belly of a whale or a shark. How many pictures on internet do we need to see of fishes with stomach full of plastic waste?
The average U.S. household generates more than 20 pounds of hazardous waste a year, the Indian upper class cannot be far behind this atrocious figure. This waste is harmful. Period.
The more things that we accumulate, the more mental energy (and tension) we expend to take care of it. Would it bother you if the Ola taxi in which you were travelling were to get a scratch? When you begin to accept that what you have is enough – start giving up the excess and let go that consumption — including shopping, social media, overeating, anything that involves “input” mode — it can be empowering and exhilarating.
Lets see what I do to reduce this load on mother earth – I can only say this – your choice about what to do:
- Walk short distances to do your work – I do not see the need for any kinda transport vehicle for distances up to 3km one way.
- Use your legs – cycling for distances up to 10 km is a doable solution, explore that.
- Carry a water bottle instead of buying a mineral water bottle and putting it in the bin – that goes to a landfill.
- Fight the urge to buy the ‘best shoe’ or ‘best coffee’ – it is just addicting to keep shopping.
- Remember every ad is just a manipulation and creates a need which is very artificial.
- Put 10 shirts away in a suitcase….and see whether you miss them at all. If not, just donate it.
- Buy a book, read it, and gift it. I need to get rid of the nice, beautiful, big book shelf that I have: Note to myself!!
- Live much below your means: You will get confident of your EARLY retirement, this I did well.
- Buy high end stuff – and look after that well – instead of filling up your life with inexpensive things and clutter
- Own only what you absolutely love – renting for a few hours, days, weeks or months is a great option these days
- Cultivate Pause – why are you consuming something? need? habit? peer pressure? Concentrate on ‘now’
- Cultivate Gratitude
- Cultivate a habit of asking ‘is it enough’? We have lost the art of ‘enough’.
- Stop treating assets as a score card – it is a painful score card
- Most assets are ‘commodities’ I see genY able to treat a house and car as commodities, gen X could not.
- Have less – borrowing your neighbor’s ladder once a month is a great way of keeping in touch
- Inviting your neighbor for tea is a better thing than watch tv. Think about joint activity like walk, run or cycling.
Omg this post is now 1000 words. Lemme stop.
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