As Americans living in 2015, we have the privilege of choice in what we consume. From clothing and technology to cars and and gadgets. We are able to walk into a grocery store and see choices that don’t exist in other parts of the world. We see commercials that remind us of those choices and options that we might want to purchase. We are definitely lucky to have all of these choices right in front of our eyes, or are we?
It is true that all of these choices create a society based on consumerism that is the source of our wealth and strength. We are one of the few countries whose appetite to consume is so great that many people have built thriving businesses and corporations designed to satisfy those wants and desires. As much as this ability to buy and consume has helped our economy grow for the individual like you and myself having all of these choices is not always the best thing.
Four reasons why a life based on consumerism is not always the best thing.
1. Business always needs to create the next best thing, new car, new fashion and that always leaves us unfulfilled. I makes us live in a society of comparison. It makes us question our own self worth if we don’t have those things. When your own value and self worth is in question, it chips away at your happiness.
2. The things that we are sold, the big money makers for business are not necessarily things that are good for us. So much money is being made by the fast food and pharmaceutical industry that they will find creative solutions to produce, market and sell products to us that are unhealthy for us. The question that big business is solving is, ‘how can they convince us we need something that is profitable for them to make?’ It will always be difficult for sellers of products to be have the best interest of consumers in mind if doing so will mean making less profits.
3. A life philosophy of instant gratification, short term mentality and lack of discipline is better for businesses to make money from. People like this are great for business. But for the individual, it will leave the people who live this way, unhealthy, dumb and broke. The opposite would be to embrace a philosophy of life long growth (growth of intellect/wisdom), living healthy, disciplined lives. Living this way leads to more stability, accomplishment, fulfillment and ability to live life on a more meaningful plane.
4. Human connection can look very different in a world filled with many choices. If I play golf and have a boat and a big house and my kids are always playing video games it is more possible for me to live in a distracted manner. It is easier to be physically present and not have any meaningful connection with my wife and children. Meaningful connection happens in the simple, quiet moments. Meaningful connection has has the power to energize you and feed your health. It really make life worth living and is something you need to always remember to make a priority in your life.
America, still a great place.
In the traveling I have done, I have visited 15 different countries. I still love living in the great US of A. I, like most Americans do indulge in what America has to offer and consume many of the things that can be had in a modern society. Enjoy these things in moderation but do not allow them to sweep you up. Remember that living life in a manner that is dominated by consumerism will come at a price. American Unhappiness comes as a result of needing to keep up with everything that is available. That price can be a loss of connection, lack of meaningful living and loss of true joy and happiness.
Remember to connect on a real level, take time to be healthy and embrace a life that is based on living a life that is much better than the things that you can buy.