Living in a modern “technologically advanced” world we enjoy benefits people living even 50 years ago could not imagine. From buying clothes online to simply sending a tweet about what we had for dinner. We are through the power of the Internet, more connected now than humans have ever been in the past. But that is only one part of the story. While most of us agree that this infinite connection to people and information is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its negatives. Face to face connection has rapidly decreased, privacy concerns and cyberbullying have become real issues and digital experiences have numbed our senses to what the real world has to offer. And believe it or not, all of that I have mentioned so far is just about the Internet. When it comes to the entire “modern life” package this is just the tip of this deceptive iceberg.
We are living in uncharted territory. Never in history before has the world moved so quickly. Everything is replaceable, nothing is sacred and it’s all about “what’s next.” Before you are can even enjoy something you buy, its next version is released. Polka dot shirts could be all the rage in December and then next month in January you could be made fun of for wearing the same thing. We have twisted our lives into a constant race and this phenomenon has gotten so extreme, that so much so even relationships are not sacred anymore. Compared to in the past when most people would have one to a maximum two marital relationships and that to if things got really bad. It is normal for a person living today to have 7 or even 8 partners in their lives because literally “everything” has become replaceable. 50 or so years ago if you were divorced or you took part in “extracurricular activities” outside of marriage you weren’t considered a good match and you would have a tough time getting into a new relationship. But now you could have been with 5, 6 people before and it wouldn’t hurt your chances at all in finding someone new. Rather in some cases, this would even help you, as having “experience” is becoming more desirable.
We have all become addicts and the consumption of “everything” has become our drug.
Our lives have become stuck in this rat’s race and rather than having a larger purpose to life most of us have embraced this endless race to have more. We see singers and rappers throwing money and having new partners every week and we begin to think that this is the purpose of life. We see billionaires buying luxury yachts for hundreds of millions of dollars and we make these things into our goals. We see our friends buying new products and devices and we mortgage our futures to have them. We think we’re getting closer to our goal of becoming happy but the faster we run the further away it gets.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating becoming an apathetic person. Many of the articles I have written are about becoming successful and becoming wealthy. But my main concern is your purpose. There is nothing wrong in wanting to be wealthy. I personally feel that money is a great motivator and I urge everybody to try his or her best to become as prosperous they can. But it all comes down to, are you doing it for the right reasons? Don’t make it your goal to become rich just for the sake of being rich like our modern society teaches us. Don’t just become rich so you can consume better things at a faster pace (Because that’s what this consumerism culture promotes). But make it your goal to become rich so you can positively affect your personal life. That you can strengthen your bond between your family and friends and that you can use your money to remove financial constraints that were stopping you from meeting and sharing time with them. And at an even higher rank make it your goal to help those in need. Rather than consuming designer shirts for thousands of dollars make it your goal to clothe the poor and feed the hungry.
But one again, please do not get me wrong into thinking that I’m advocating %100 “consumer celibacy” You can and should buy things that make you happy. If you can afford a brand new Ferrari and really want one, you should buy it. Just don’t make only consumption the goal. As long as you can keep a good balance and make your purpose bigger than just yourself you will be okay.
Now with that quick tangent about success, I want to get back to the issue we were talking about. The reason why we feel so empty while we have so much is because we are always mentally moving to the next big thing. We might have the latest cell phone in our pockets but right when the announcement for the next model is made we fixate our attention to the new model and our appreciation for what we have goes down. And the sad truth is that this is the foundation of our current society and it regrettably applies to everything and anything we are able to have.
You could be in a relationship and in that too after a few months you will begin to mentally fixate on the next person. You will begin to focus less on the positives of your current partner and only see the negatives. While you will mentally make the person you don’t have into being perfect. And this is the perfect definition of consumerism and it has regrettably even infiltrated our relationships. But it’s now about what we do about it. But before we move on answer these questions so you can be primed for the next part:
How can you ever be at peace? Or even think about having it without giving up your current way of life?
How can you even think about living a life without stress when you are mentally living in the future, always trying to hide the past and completely ignoring the present?
After limiting consumption I feel this is the second most vital point you must try to implement in your life. If you want peace and you want to eliminate stress: Live in the present. Live in the NOW. Like right now you are reading this article, live here. Live in this very moment. Don’t live today for tomorrow or for the past but live today for today. Only “now” exists and the future and the past are just in your head. Of course, you should use “the past” to make better decisions in the now and use “the now” to plan for a better future but don’t let things that don’t really exist in reality loom over you.
Nowadays people are so caught up in controlling their future and changing their past that they never really live life in the present. They give themselves unnecessary stress about the future that in reality doesn’t even exist. I mean student suicides are the ones that really get to me. And I’m not talking about suicides due to bullying because that’s another issue all together but suicides over failing exams. “EXAMS!” Students worldwide take their own lives simply because they don’t pass certain exams and therefore can’t pursue certain careers and that’s pretty much the ONLY reason. Now I’m sure you can argue that the students have a lot of family pressure and that certain parents mortgage their entire futures so that their children can get educated. But trust me when I say that eventually, it comes back to my initial point that they only commit suicide because they failed and “were not” able to control their future. It’s just about having our priorities in the right place and our mind chewing on what it can healthily process without feeling stress: the present.
So with that last point, I hope I was able to make my argument as illustrative as possible. I strongly feel about this issue and I hope you will be positively impacted by these ideas. So on that note as a sort of an overview, these are the 3 main action points I feel you should focus on. I strongly feel that if you apply even one of them into your life you will see positive change and that you will eliminate stress and WILL find peace in your life.
Overview (Focus Points):
- Don’t be a sheep and blindly follow consumerism culture. Be minimalist in your nature and use and buy what you need. Appreciate the things you have and learn to be thankful. Understand that relationships are not something to replace and that you must learn to adapt if you want true love and friendship.
- Strive for success but only for the right reasons. Don’t try to become rich and wealthy just for the sake of money. Use your money to make a positive difference emotionally in the lives of the people you know and don’t know.
- Live in the Now. Don’t try to control the future and don’t worry about the past. Only the present exists and everything else is just your mind on overdrive. Live THIS very moment the best you can and everything else will work it itself out.