Modern life is really weird. People want things and when they get them, they want something else. It's not just to please themselves either, as they really want to show other people what they have in order to show them how successful they are.
This hedonistic treadmill that takes over so my people's lives is surely the reason so many of us are unhappy.
Taking a step back from the big picture, I've been thinking a lot about 'possessions' and 'things' recently. Because of this, I thought it would helpful to write this piece in order to explore this and work out if there's a better way. It also ties in directly with what I'm doing on the site.
A few months ago, I asked for some feedback on the site on an online forum and I was really surprised how people reacted to the various products I suggest on site like albums, games and gadgets. They felt this went against the self-improvement aspects of the site and even undermined it.For me, this posed a serious question, do we really need to give up possessions if we want to lead better lives?
What is the alternative? Do we live like monks, become communists or just get rich enough to afford everything? With some of the most creative minds of our time focussed on marketing new gadgets we just can't live without, how can we resist the call of the capitalist system?
That is what it's all about in the end right? Surely our economy is based on us buying the same things over and over again without us realising that we don't really need them.
A new mobile phone is a great example. You'll be happy with the one you have, but suddenly there's a new one with an amazing new design and some snazzy new features. Even if you work out it's not worth the extra expense, you'll be worried about what people might think if they see you with an 'old' one that's probably less than two years old.
It's also easy to start collecting things, like albums, movies and games where you find yourself buying something to fill a gap on the shelf rather than enjoying it for what it is. The feeling of satisfaction when you claim your prize is also likely to be short-lived as there's usually something else that quickly appears and demands your attention.
At this point, there's something really important that I have to own up to.
I've been this person. For years, I had to own the latest gadget, brought more games, apps and movies that I could ever watch or play and was really worried about what people might think if I wasn't at the cutting edge of technology. I never stopped to think that it didn't really matter and if someone is judging you based on the car you drive, they may not be people you should be allowing yourself to be influenced by.
'Things' are often used by many of us to 'fill holes' in our lives as well, but it rarely takes our mind away from the problems in the long run.
My work creating this site and recent events in my life have lead to some huge changes in this area for me and I feel a lot better for it. Last year, I gave away a significant proportion of my 'possessions' to good causes and it felt great.
So why am I still recommending this stuff on the site?
I honestly think it's about our 'attachments' to material things that creates problems and the need to define ourselves by them. Like most things related to wellbeing and personal development though, it's all about finding the right balance.
'Things' can enrich your life and technology can help you you move forward, you just have to create the best relationship with them.
I think it ultimately comes down to changing your perspective and working out what's important. I'll leave to you to do that.