Today’s mantra: The myth of consumerism is that buying lots of stuff means you’re exerting your free will, but in reality, you’re just turning your money over to someone else for purposes that they’ve designated.
Today’s action: Write down five words that define you and what’s most important to you. Are any of those words related to your material possessions?
Liz’s article today was very interesting and thought-provoking. I like how she talked about the burden of choice, and how the choice shouldn’t be between 2 different brands like the world says it should be, it should be between whether or not to purchase the item in the first place. It’s easy to forget that’s the real choice.
We assume because we’ve been living with something, that it’s a necessity, but that’s not necessarily the truth. This last year I bought myself a set of bluetooth headphones. I use headphones at work and when I exercise and the cord gets in the way, so I thought bluetooth headphones would be removing a negative in my life.
The headphones were great, I used them all the time and they seemed like a great investment. Then my dog got into my purse and chewed them up. My first instinct was to get another pair, but money was short at the time, and though I’d bought a less expensive pair, bluetooth headphones aren’t cheap. I just couldn’t pull the trigger to buy another pair. And I still haven’t been able to. Apparently, my “negative” they removed wasn’t that big of a negative.
There were a couple of quotes from today’s article that really struck a chord with me. Here’s the first:
“I tend to think that fierce independence, anti-establishment convictions, and the fact that we don’t care what people think of us are all necessary–and perhaps required–components of our path to retirement”
I both identify with this and struggle with this. I never fit in much and by now I’ve learned to embrace it and stand out, but a big part of my personality is being a people pleaser. So while I don’t have a problem standing out from the crowd, I do have self-doubt about whether I’m doing the right thing. I need to be more fierce in my convictions.
“While neither of us is terribly interested in money as an abstract concept or in the accumulation of great wealth, we’re both quite keen on what our money can do for us and in the life it can enable.”
This is exactly how I feel about money. I’ve never wanted to be rich so I could have lots of things, I seek it for the freedom it brings. I find it a necessary evil, but it’s a tool that can be harnessed for freedom.
“The myth of choice is that buying lots of stuff means you’re exerting your free will, but in reality, you’re just turning your money over to someone else.”
This rings true to me on a spiritual level. I’m LDS (Mormon), and we’re often hassled for being restrictive, but this is exactly the mentality we have on our so-called “restrictions”. We choose to exercise our free will to avoid coffee, drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc, not to deprive ourselves, but because we believe these things are addictive and we would just be giving our free will over to them. Exercising our free will to say “no” is what brings freedom.
Money works the same way. When we choose to say no, it opens more doors of opportunity for us. Opportunities to save, so that when something big comes up it isn’t a tragedy. Opportunities to pursue what we want, instead of being chained to a job we don’t like because we need the income. Opportunities to live life differently from the masses.
What myths about consumerism do you struggle with? Were there any thoughts from Liz’s article today that stuck out to you?