Ask the Question.
Paul always ended his day by reading something that would hopefully benefit and improve his general knowledge about the world and what it offered young adults in the workplace. Tonight, it was an article from the Phoenix Rising Nest about consumerism.
Consumerism, he discovered, is the philosophy of working for a company who will pay you a salary or commission and in return, you give them about 280 working days a year. Paul thought this article was about him as he continued reading. Consumerism is a form of slavery or a forced agreement to work out of necessity to survive. If you want more money or extra free time to acquire better possessions like fashionable clothes, larger smarter cars, bigger luxurious houses and to eat out more often; you must beg the boss. You will be given a meagre annual increase which inflation eats up. Your genes encourage you to produce children to keep the human race alive. You follow your traditions and culture, get married and have children. Now you put yourself in debt as you want to give your children more than you had with your parents. Wow, Paul thought to himself; this is how I am feeling today. He continued reading with interest.
Perhaps, you want that promotion like others in your company, so you work longer hours, weekends and at home. Your family sees you less, but you continue to dream about what you can do and buy with that extra money and a those few more days leave. Hooray, you get that promotion and increase. The new responsibilities take up more of your time; you start feeling anxious and stressed with the extra work and your subordinates personal and work problems. Paul felt as if someone was writing about his life story.
Consumerism by design is a concept that increases the consumption of goods and services purchased in the market. To everyone, it is always a desirable goal. As one grows older, the goal changes to trying to become debt-free. A person’s wellbeing, ego, and some happiness depend on obtaining consumer goods and material possessions. These pleasures are short-lived as one’s ego demands more “stuff”. Paul thought about becoming old and still living in this consumeristic situation when he was fifty, which he considered as very old. The thoughts depressed him. A strange feeling of depression came over him as he sat reading this article on his device.
Are people unconditionally happy in their job and even outside their work environment? No, they are not even vaguely happy and contented. People accept this “consumer” society as there is a false sense of security and a promise of a better future. So, everybody enjoys weekends off and three weeks holiday once a year having fun. People are educated, grow-up and unconsciously enter this slavery offered by the employers, and people become like rats on a water-wheel. Paul was shocked by this statement which he recognized to be the truth. He recognized he was stepping deeper into this bog-mire of consumeristic sinking sand.
Last night Paul had read that people often take refuge in their job title, the company they work for, or the industry they operate in, which gives them a sense of self-worth and as a result, they will never change their job, even if they are unhappy. Paul thought about himself and his work. Many people find comfort in going to the same workplace, sitting at the same desk, surrounded by the same people every single day. Some days its stifling, stressful and unfulfilling, thought Paul, yet I do not think twice about looking for another job. Perhaps working for myself is an option he thought. Working for myself. Then he heard this voice in his head:
“now you decide to become an employer of people by starting a business, and you duplicate what other employers have done over hundreds of years. You now work longer hours, your family suffers, you cannot take holidays, always holding onto your dreams to motivate yourself”.
Paul started reading the next section of the article.
Have you tried to re-imagine your life? Have you wildly used your imagination to see another possible world? What does that world look and feel like? Will, it set you free and make you happy? Why not start setting time aside to re-imagine a life you have never thought about. Give it a name for fun, let us begin by calling it “Digital” new world to give it a logical name because digital will evolve for hundreds of years into the unknown future. Call your new imaginary world “digital”.
Strangely, you will start feeling happier deep inside, just by using your imagination – where does that feeling come from? It is your connection to all things universal – your deep inner-truth?
So, you think about the following questions with a little doubt:
- Can freedom and ambition co-exist?
- Can your work life be one big adventure filled with fun?
- Can you work from anywhere, happily, and successfully?
- Can you bring your family along with you?
The following week, as co-incidences naturally follow thoughts that were filled with a feeling, you bump into a friend from your high school. You go to the nearest coffee-shop to catch up on the past years.
You discover that James, like you, used to work as a manager for a large software company programming small sections of smartphone Apps. James had re-imagined working for himself but without employees or permanent location. After months of researching and planning and against the advice of his parents, James became a digital nomad.
Four years had passed since he had resigned, taken the risk, and was now having coffee with his school friend Paul. James explained in detail how he had taken each step and become a successful Digital Nomad and how it had changed his life.
Paul was excited, listening to James’s short story of his life since school but especially about this new job category called Digital Nomad. Paul decided there and then to start planning his Digital Nomad career. Google became Paul’s best friend as he soaked up knowledge about people who took a creative digital road to a more fulfilling lifestyle. He found out about our current consumerism lifestyle that keeps people in a grove and attached to our egos. Society conditions everyone to one goal; the goal of spending. Everyone is exposed to all types of exposure and marketing to encourage us to spend more.
Our consumerism society goal is spending – encouraging consumers to consume is the principal policy goal. From this point of view, consumerism is seen and believed to be a positive phenomenon that fuels economic growth, ignores inflation while most of the world’s population are barely surviving. This gave Paul a shiver down his back by imagining people living on the streets and others staving and the majority merely surviving. He thought about people stealing to feed their family and how he has judged these people.
Paul now understood what his father meant when he was talking to his friends in their family home. Spirituality and morality no longer exist, and the care-for-yourself society has replaced it. Paul thought I have never known any other type of lifestyle.
Multinational corporations become monopolies and control supply and demand by fake scientific information to persuade the public to buy. Fast food giants add sugar to all foods. Not only does this make the food tastier, but sugar is also addictive, as addictive as the street drug cocaine. People then desire more than “enough”. The unnecessary extra, junk food which eats into our limited budget is stored as fat in the body.
The majority of the population encourage each other to become better consumers through articles, videos, all types of Apps, films and selling unnecessary “stuff” in an attempt to become insanely rich to boost our ego and to show-off to our neighbours and friends.
The meaning of life is reduced to a desire for a continuous increase in the level of income and upholding of egoistical ambitions which has never given the expected inner freedom and happiness to a person.
Absolute emptiness deep within each of us must be filled with anything material. No thought is given to our spiritual journey along with our Soul, which fills our life with meaning and fulfilment while working with purpose in our jobs.
It is difficult for people to go beyond this material worldview, which also locks their growth in consciousness, the ability to allow them to open themselves and learn more, to benefit mankind and become the next Tesla, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Planck or Maxwell.
Consumerism controls us.
Consumerism governs our lives and defines for us, what a good life is. This is harmful to our long-term lives and happiness. There are many reasons but let us share a few:
- Manipulative – adverts create desires and needs which we did not have before watching the advert. It creates fake desires in us by manipulating us into thinking we have to own whatever it is. Children are not sufficiently mature to suppress the illusionary desire-benefits and are falsely conditioned in their subconscious mind, which changes their normal behaviour.
- Advertising is everywhere we go. It’s shouting at us on every street and building and passing vehicles. We watch a movie in a cinema or on TV which we pay a fee to watch, and we are bombarded with sometimes nonsensical adverts. It intrudes into our “own-time” space and does not meet our needs.
- Consumerism brainwashes us to think “whatever” products are the only way, that whatever living is the only way, persuade us that we have choices to choose whatever product, but it is taking away our choices, the adverts are brainwashing us.
There are other ways than consumerism choices. There is the freedom to think and research for ourselves the way we want to live our lives; but we don’t use that faculty because we fear the outcome, don’t have the courage to take a risk or argue that everybody can’t be wrong.
The planet, with over seven billion inhabitants, is living beyond its means. Our consumerism lifestyle is not sustainable. We are raping the soil of all nutrients replacing them with artificial, poisonous chemicals for greed and selfish reasons based on “more is better”.
We need the opposite of consumerism. We need to reduce our greedy consumption to a level that is based on “sufficiency is enough”.
How do we change?
How do we start to change our consumerism habits?
- Be aware. Become conscious of people and things trying to manipulate you in every magazine, video, smartphone messages shared, social media news or TV advert.
- Remove yourself. Remove yourself from the locations and jobs that live off consumerism. There are options. Create questions to ask yourself that will mould your future, happy and fulfilled life, living in a society of sufficiency.
- Stand back. Stand back from everyday life and think about how you really want to live for your own sanity and that of the planet. Take control, think for yourself and live a happy, sustainable life.
We have the tools and methods to find the everyday things we need like accommodation, clothes, food and a bed for the night, many other things are more important to our happiness and fulfilment such as friendships, being authentic, love, creative activities and a sense of sustainable purpose.
Formulate your question – then answer it
Paul’s heart beat faster as he came to the end of the article. I do have options, of course, I have options, but where do I start, I only know what I know from my current upbringing and conditioning. He then read the last paragraph.
We do have options – start by formulating and then asking yourself one full question for yourself and future. What question?
We at The Phoenix Rising Nest will help you formulate and then how to fulfil your answer. Join the Nest at no cost, and we will help you express your question. Once the question is unconditionally the correct question for you and only you, you have the option to join Don and Michael’s, Phoenix Rising’s training and mentoring online which includes one-on-one Skype discussions, videos, articles and exercises.
Paul immediately joined “The Nest”.