It Is The Preoccupation With Possessions, More Than Anything Else That Prevents Us From Living Freely and Nobly. – Bertrand Russell
There is no doubt that American culture encourages us to consume on a consistent basis, every Tuesday there is a new mainstream album to buy, on Friday Hollywood Blockbuster Films are released to enjoyment of millions nationwide. In popular music and films the idea of consumerism is enforced, many rappers call out their favorite Luxury brands and films get financed by huge corporations that use product placement to entice purchase of their products. On YouTube you are bombarded by advertising while searching for content as well as while streaming content. It seems that we are constantly being urged to spend money on products that provide temporary happiness but fail to deliver long-term results. While it is a natural process to consume, over consumption on items that we do not actually need has lent it’s hand to a feeling of emptiness worldwide and has been responsible for the breakdown of traditional culture worldwide. How do we find balance and happiness in an increasingly shallow world?
Live a simpler life. If I can go from a chic that spent all of her extra cash on clothes, entertainment and food it is definitely possible for you to change your consumer habits as well. I am still fine tuning my habits to live a simpler yet more satisfying life but here are some easy ways to start:
- Start reducing the hours that you watch TV on a daily basis. Studies have been published since the 70’s on the detrimental effects of TV. TV programs our brain to receive information in short bursts which over time lend its hand to shorter attention spans. TV also has the power of suggestion, how many times has a song from a particular advertisement stuck in your mind for days, months and even years? Canceling your cable service is a great start.
- Fine tune your idea of Success. Expand your ideas of what successful means to you personally. 10 years ago success to me meant being rich holding an upper management to CEO title within a Fortune 500 company. If that is your idea of success then so be it but for me it evolved to the idea of working a minimum of 5 hours a day doing something that I enjoy independent of an employer, being able to spend time with my family without denting my pocketbook, having the leisure to take time off when needed and exploring my many talents and interests. Freedom to live my life truly for me is success to me.
- Explore independent music artists and films. Independent artists work without the creative restraints of a label or studio and the end result tends to be quite obvious in the body of work that they produce. Also usually independent art tends to be free of the blatant product placement, promotion of over consumption and consumerism. Remember we are what we consume physically AS WELL as mentally.
- Explore the hobbies and interests that have always caught your eye but you have always lacked the courage to do.
- Read Often. Reading whether it is fiction or non-fiction expands the mind and teaches one empathy. Many people claim not to enjoy reading but it is a matter of finding material that you enjoy.
- Make your purchases meaningful by not buying to impress others or keep up with trends.
- Try calling your friends more often instead of texting all the time.
- Value your friendships and relationships by keeping your word and learning the practice of listening more than you speak.
- Find value in nature versus consumerism.
- Cook your meals at home more often. Invite friends over for dinner.
- Put your phone down, make a practice of turning it off at work. Try turning your phone off at intervals during the weekend.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Please feel free to leave additional tips in the comment box below.
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