It’s time to take a few steps back and ask some questions on behalf of the longevity and profitability of your firm. The American input in business social media is extremely strong, not a day goes by when we read at least once a mention of “six-figure business”, and at the same time they have a whole industry dedicated to storage units for stuff people can’t fit into their homes. Are you truly aware of what messages you let into your mind?
The West influences the world and the American Dream informs the West of how to proceed, what to emulate. Once the American Dream took its final steps in the direction of dramatic overconsumption, it began to seep past their borders through movies and tv shows, magazines and lately social media.
The American Dream in its current form will not bend for anything, including sustainable development. Chasing material goods seems more important than caring for the planet, even though their own Harvard Business School is the trailblazer of a course on sustainable business strategy.
In order to make informed decisions regarding where you draw inspiration from, and what sources you learn business principles from, I suggest you watch a documentary by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, also called The Minimalists. You can view it on Netflix among others.
The documentary is called “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things” and in addition to the guys it features researchers of economics and neuroscience as well as various people, who found their way to a simpler life. Peppered throughout there’s shocking footage from Black Friday sales and the like, and even President Jimmy Carter delivers a speech on consuming less.
If you’ve spent time in the decluttering community over the years, you’ll recognise famous people like Courtney Carver with her Project 333, and Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Most of us, who are proponents of mindful spending, at some point get scathing feedback from triggered individuals, who feel everything is an attack. And yet none of these well-know names advocate extreme measures, but simply that you use what works for you and leave the rest.
From what I understand, The Minimalists have received negative comments, too. It’s in the nature of humans to throw dirt on one another when we don’t invest time on personal growth, so do expect some of it coming your way too, if you start speaking up for what you believe is right.
So, are you ready for some scenes of people literally going mad due to wanting to buy stuff? Watch the trailer below:
I’ve heard of people turning into animals during sales in the US, but never saw it before. Since I wasn’t prepared, admittedly it stirred me deeply.
And it’s the foundation for many posts in social media, whether consciously or not. Many of us define success through monetary achievements only, so keep this in mind, too.
Their second documentary is called “The Minimalists: Less Is Now” and has been released this year, also on Netflix. Ironically, according to viewer feedback it feels like a repetition of the first one, so instead I’ll point you to “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, which features her KonMari method if you want guidance on decluttering. Her “spark joy” concept is fabulous.
Moderation In Consumerism
In order to survive we need consumerism at moderate levels. It’s not a question of an immature knee-jerk reaction à la “So I can’t buy anything now???” *drama sulk* Quality wins over quantity in most cases and it’s worth striving for to always buy the best quality one can afford when it’s time to shop.
Fact is we don’t want restrictions on how many children we can bring to the world, so our numbers are exploding right now. While we’ve been able to have toy collections in the thousands, designer shoes equally many, or several storage units in our name, those came about due to financial resources being available.
What do we do when our cities would need urban vertical farms to create food amidst drought, storms and wildfires, but there’s supposedly no money to establish them? And there’s no money to develop large-scale cleaning plants of seawater in the style that for example Finnish Juomavesi.fi (“drinking water”) provides for sailing boats, summer cottages and small buildings since 2004? We can’t eat and drink toys or shoes, but it has to be nutritious food and drinkable water.
Earth doesn’t need us, but we need Earth. Marketing should grow up and accept this fact as well. I don’t tolerate that this would be a case of the band playing on whilst Titanic is sinking, and I especially don’t tolerate that overconsumerism depletes our resources.
Hopefully some impactful leader out there starts singing this same song, because my reach is not wide at all. But wait, there was one already in 1979, yet few chose to listen. I was born a year earlier so to me it feels like there’s been enough time to change the course of our insisting wants, but as a species we are a bit slow at letting stuff sink in apparently.
Here’s President Carter (the clip included in the minimalist documentary starts at 2 minutes) with a speech as urgent today as it was then:
Ask yourself as a business owner why the American people do not want as honest a leader like this, and whether it’s a great idea to follow in their path when choosing a strategy for your own firm. There’s no need to re-test how the environment is affected by overconsumption on a massive scale, as they’ve already done it once.
And therein lies the problem. The US still favours bosses over leaders. They also invented the division of skills into hard and soft ones, the latter obviously being those that enable us to interact constructively with one another.
The game was lost before it began, when the standard of great leadership is to show no compassion or interest in altruism.
Photo credit: Alice Pasqual.