Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I majored in advertising and minored in marketing. Yet I resent the heck out of the manipulative tactics companies use to sell their product to people who don't need it. Or maybe I resent the fact that the manipulation works. 

Look at these stats:
  • The average American consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago.
  • We see more ads in one year than people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime.
  • We spend 3-4 times as many hours shopping as our European counterparts do. 
  • In 1946, the U.S. was ranked happiest among the four most advanced countries. Fifty years later, the U.S. ranks 10th among 23 nations, many of them developing countries.
And this crazy quote: When asked how much money would be enough, John D. Rockefeller replied, "Just a little more."

Ten years ago, I shifted my career in communications from marketing/selling to consumers to educating employees. I feel good about this. I'm not changing the world, but I feel like my company makes a worthwhile contribution. I don't fault people who sell for a living ... at all. I just want to be able to distinguish my need for something vs. my want for it -- the want that some salesperson or ad put in my brain.

My last post talked about Simplicity Parenting and we're tackling the steps as I type. But I want to go a huge step further and try some Simplicity Living. I'm not sure exactly how to do this, but some inspiration from others seems like a good start. I lifted these quotes from my weekly mindfulness email*:

"Consumption...must be balanced to an amount appropriate with well-being rather than to the satisfaction of desires.  

Our ultimate happiness comes from being engaged in life, not just in acquiring more stuff.  Ask yourself, "How much time am I investing in activities that have nothing to do with buying, acquiring or consuming?"

"When you are living in contentment, you automatically start to have a lighter footprint, a lighter use of resources. You don't have to keep adding more and more to your life. In fact, it feels really good to want what you have, to take care of it, and to be aware that everything you're using is a representation of energy...and you feel more and more part of a family."

I don't usually ask real questions here because I think I only have 8 readers, but, what the heck: What are you doing to Live Simply? Come on, step out of lurkdom. Say.

*I apologize for not sourcing these, but I wanted to keep this post simple and I don't think the authors read my blog. 


Evelyn said...

I love these simplicity posts. I hate to say it, but staying off FB has given me a lot more focued time in general. Definitely a step in the simplicity department! I will have to chew on your quotes and your stats. Good words.

Bridget said...

Love this post.

I don't shop. Hardly. Ever. I don't like it, so that helps. :) I only watch shows I have recorded so I never, ever watch ads. I don't waste time trying to nurture friendships that don't fulfill me. I try to stop daily and appreciate the little things.

Thanks for asking!

Christine said...

Raising chickens, for me, makes life simpler. I am taking something out of the mass market by not buying eggs anymore. I also loathe shopping. One of my new year's resolutions was to buy no books this year. All books must come from the library or be ebooks. And I am starting all of my garden plants from seed this year. I loved the simplicity parenting thing. Manny and I have been playing one game all week, inspired by you!

Kim said...

We live in a simple house. Our boys will share a bedroom. We could upgrade to something bigger and fancier, but we choose not too. Thanks for these posts. I've decided to no longer lurk. ;)