Today, we live in such a fast paced consumer driven society. Much of the time, people are motivated by “success.” In order to be successful, society often defines success as having more “things.” For example, success may be defined as a bigger house, expensive car, fine jewelry, etc. In other words, having “more stuff” is deemed the epitome of all things successful.
And with all that “success” comes all the stress and health problems that occur as a result of working ourselves literally to death. In particular, in order to achieve all that “success,” long hours must be part of the daily regimen. These long hours coupled with stress can have far-reaching consequences such as heart disease, cancer, insomnia, etc.
People do need to work in order to pay the bills, right? Surely, there are the essentials such as food, shelter, etc. Yet, do people really need all that nonessential stuff that supposedly brings more happiness? Is that fancy new car really worth the price? And I’m not talking price in terms of dollars. Likewise, do we need to wine and dine at the finest restaurants that money can buy? Do we need all the latest and greatest gadgets whether we can afford them or not? Do we need the biggest house in the neighborhood? Is all that stuff worth the negative consequences such as loss of family time, spiritual time, connecting with nature, etc.?
Furthermore, how does all that consumerism impact our planet? Are we just going to recycle all of it without any effect on our environment? Has much thought been given to that? Don’t forget we can’t take all that stuff with us! In addition, is this consumerism sending the right message to the next generation? Do we teach kids that spending money is essential to their happiness? Will they love you less if they don’t get those expensive sneakers? Well if so, they will get over it!!
Does society have it all wrong? By the way, we are society! Anyway, should success be defined by how much we achieve in terms of how much money one makes, position title or material possessions? Isn’t quality of life so much more important? After all, I doubt anyone can say that when they are on their way out of this world that they had only wished they worked more hours! Perhaps it’s about time that we redefine “success.”
To redefine success may be particularly difficult for men. After all, men are supposed to be the “breadwinners.” They are the ones that should climb the corporate ladder. Men often “define” themselves by their jobs. On the other hand, women often define themselves in a much broader sense. Of course there are always exceptions. Yet, it’s perfectly normal to hear about women who are stay-at-home moms. For men, there is still somewhat of a stigma attached to being a stay-at-home “dad.” So, there is a bit of a double standard. Also, most women still expect men to be the primary breadwinner.
At any rate, isn’t it about time that we take a deeper look at what is truly important? I doubt very much that we are here on this planet to only achieve in a materialistic sort of way. Why should we define success as less time with family, less spiritual time, etc? Why not live in a more purposeful way? Less bills means more quality time. When we live below our means, we have more time to contribute in a more purposeful way. Instead of being consumers, we become contributors! Think about it. When we have fewer things, we have more time to connect with each other, our planet, wildlife, etc. Life takes on a whole new meaning.
Just to point out, there is nothing at all wrong with having things. It’s just that when we live in such a consumer driven society, we lose our connection to what’s truly important in life. When we have less material possessions, we have more time to focus on broadening our understanding for “purpose.” That is, the shallowness of “things” is no longer as important in a society that thrives on meaningful connections with each other, and the environment in which we live. Finally, are we here just to consume or do we want to contribute in a meaningful way?