Mindless consumption always becomes excess consumption
A quick and simple think piece on reducing consumption caught our eye this week. 9 Intentional Ways to Challenge Consumerism in Your Life addresses a topic that lies at the heart of resilient investing’s Zone 5 (Tangible Assets/Sustainable Global Economy), yet one that we rarely take the time to really grapple with. Joshua Becker, author of Simplify and Clutterfree with Kids offers up (you guessed it) nine themes to consider, and the comment thread that follows is also rewarding. His core thought is the one in our headline: mindless consumption always becomes excess consumption. If this triggers a twinge for you, then you’d probably benefit from taking a look at what Becker has to say. These two struck us as especially fruitful:
Understand your weaknesses. Recognize your trigger points. Are there certain stores that prompt unnecessary purchases in your life? Are there products, addictions, or pricing patterns (clearance sales) that prompt an automatic response from you? Maybe there are specific emotions (sadness, loneliness, grief) that give rise to mindless consumption. Identify, recognize, and understand these weaknesses. 51% of the solution can be found by simply recognizing the problem.
Seek contribution with your life and usefulness in your purchases. To live is to consume. As contributing members of society, we are going to work and earn and purchase and consume. But we are more than consumers, we are contributors. Our presence on this earth ought to bring value to the people around us. Purchase only what you need to more effectively accomplish your unique role in this world—everything else is only a distraction. Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you should.