Often we hear that spending on experiences make for a happier life than buying into consumerism. In concept it sounds great, but many people think that it’s hard to rejig their life to be focused on doing things rather than consuming things. This TED talk is about breaking free of that passive normality and living life to its fullest.
Consumerism takes a huge toll on our planet and out pocketbooks and one generation raised in a consumerist culture has opted out. Many in the generation following Gen-X have realized that doing activities is more fun than owning plates (or whatever people buy, I have no idea) and have decided to live a lifestyle conducive to an experience-over-material mindset.
“I don’t give material possessions. I prefer to give experiences — let’s see a concert together, or let’s watch a sunset together. If I do give something that is physical it will be consumable — like a bottle of wine.”
While their minimalist tendencies may be most noticeable during the countdown to Christmas, for young minimalists this is a year-around commitment. Many have downsized everything about their lives. Those who had large homes shed them for smaller, more efficient digs. They’re pruning possessions, clawing back work schedules, even eliminating fringe friends and non-functioning lovers.
And when they compile their Christmas shopping lists, the minimalist has one wish: Don’t contribute to their clutter and they won’t contribute to yours.
Starting today, consumer tracking program Air Miles will begin rewarding people with points when they make environmentally friendly purchases.
But whereas previous initiatives were intended to inspire a single socially conscious decision, “these [programs] have a permanent effect,” Souvaliotis said.
“If you find a way to create a trickle of reward for the consumer, then you’re actually supporting a change in behaviour,” he said. “Not only will these [programs] start to bring a lot more people to this type of behaviour, but they will stick to this behaviour.”
Souvaliotis, an occasional blogger for The Huffington Post, is not shy about the success of — or his vision for — Air Miles for Social Change, which he says is the “world’s first ever — and to this point only — social venture that’s built entirely inside a loyalty points program.”
Every person has a different take on what one truly needs as opposed to what they want. Over time as a culture we collectively define our needs and those needs change over time. The never-ending question is ultimately what do we need to live and what do we need to be happy.
Obviously, we support looking through the archives of Things Are Good for our tips on bringing more happiness to your life.
Over at the Bucks Blog at the New York Times this issue was recently brought.
From personal experience, I know that the shiny new toy I just had to have often ends up in a pile of things that I eventually need to sell on eBay. I’m not the only one that’s fighting this battle. It’s yet another example of why personal finance can be so complex. Because there’s no definitive list of the 100 things that every family must have, these end up being very personal decisions.
In Western culture owning stuff i prized in and of itself, but there are still people out there who don’t see ownership of things as a way to define themselves. Andrew Hyde is one of those people and he has a good rundown of what it’s like.
Minimalism is equally easy as it is boring to do. What shirt today? The one I didn’t wear yesterday. “How tough is it for you?” You mean, to pick the shirt I didn’t wear yesterday? Once you get used to simplicity, the complex normality others have becomes the audacious thing.
The first question someone asks me when I tell them about the project is “How do you define something you own?” Great question, but that is a lie. The first question is always “Do you do laundry? How many pairs of underwear?” I’ll never get a stranger’s obsession with my knickers, but that is *always* question #1. Question #2 is the “What do you own?” countdown, which is both fun and annoying to answer.