If we all stop for a moment and consider the things we worry about, then most of them are completely irrelevant. It’s interesting to think how our world would be if we spent time concentrating on stuff that matters.
I think we’ve got caught up in a world where we believe that buying and doing more things make us happy. The problem with that approach is that there is no end. Of course we want to make our lives more comfortable, of course we are curious, but there must come a point where we say we don’t need that new experience or product to make us happy. But, the temptations are huge. Walking in the Fitzrovia area of London today, I passed countless interesting shops and restaurants, promising untold joys. I have lived in seven countries; would living in another one make me happier?
Economists will tell you that the multiplier effect of consumer spending leads to ever increasing wealth creation, and that is true. However, I don’t think it is good when people are led on a never-ending search for happiness through acquisition, even when it bumps up GDP.
Want creation is an art form which I both admire and loathe. Companies are masters at creating wants we never knew we had. I spent ten years in Fast Moving Consumer Goods and saw how companies put huge energy into creating new market segments. Of course, some innovation is of course beneficial to our world (I am no Luddite).
There are so many smart young people out there. Please, young people of the world, focus on things that matter. Focus on things which your children will be proud you did.
Let’s stopforamomentpeople and think before we buy the next big, or even mid-size, item or service. Will it make you happy, really? What else could you do with that money or that time you spend deciding what to buy? The benefit to the world of spending time on stuff that matters would easily outweigh the GDP upside of non-stop consumption, and you’ll feel a whole lot better.