The other day I was thinking about consumerism and how it got completely out of hand lately. You probably saw the images of riots during Black Friday in supermarkets in the US or more recently in France, where people were fighting to buy Nutella (there was a 70% flash sales).
I’m seeing in our society today a movement where consumption is quite literally taking possession of ourselves and transforming us as zombies.
The compulsive behavior seems to be most ingrained in people that have been exposed to advertising from a young age, watch a lot of TV. Obviously if you start watching ads as a toddlers and then non stop until you become an adult (which is the case for a majority of people in the US) then you are more likely to act upon it and not second guess the message and the product being sold.
Consequently, most people are acting as kids expecting Christmas everyday and having a never ending list of things to buy. Appearance is paramount and they need to keep up with the Joneses. In the process, they usually get into debt, need to work more, usually at the expense of the time they spend with their family or their health. This is a pattern that we keep seeing all over the world but more especially in the US where it feels like if you don’t have a huge house (or several), multiple cars, and all the latest gadgets then you have failed in life. At the same time, the saving rate is negative, and 70% of the population does not even have 500$ for any emergency expense. We went from “I think therefore I am” to “I buy therefore I am”.
These people are usually quite depressed because they think that buying more stuffs will make them happy while it’s the exact opposite. Their buying spree will only bring them more issues and the instant gratification will quickly stop.
Start the rehab process
You need to fight this behavior with reason and focus on your primary needs. Do you really need the latest Iphone when a $200 phone has all the same main features? Do you need a car if you live in a big city with public transportation? And if you live in the countryside, do you need a gaz guzzlers like an huge SUV or can’t you get a compact car that will similarly get from point A to point B and spend less in gaz? There are a lot of things that are completely unnecessary to own but that advertising will make you think that you can’t live without them.
The first thing you need to do is to get rid of your TV. Personally, I have not had a TV for the past 17 years and I live a lot better because I’m not passive but active when I look for interesting contents. The only thing that I would consider indispensable for me would be my ebook reader, having access to 10,000 books with so much knowledge in such a small format is incredible and really life changing when it comes to give a broader access to culture to humanity.
Once you stop watching TV, your buying compulsion will decrease and you will be able to get a life again. Imagine all the hours you will save by not watching TV and time that you spent buying all these useless gadgets. You will be able to go out learn a new skill or sport (what about learning Tak Wan Do or travel to a distant country). How gratifying it is to learn something new and getting good at it.
Furthermore, you will also rediscover your social network, spend more time with your family, meet with your friends, or make new friends. This is what you need to be happy. Humans are social animals and this is something that our society seems to have forgotten.
Reducing your spending will also reduce your needs to work as much since you won’t need as much revenue to cover your spending. So less stress, more time and a much better social life. What are you waiting for!?
Post initially published on Steemit