When I was Younger I was a bit of a gypsy – I would work for a while them I would go travelling. When I ran out of money I’d come bak to work, then off I’d go again.
I’d travel light, and cheap so 2 months working could easily last me 4 or 5 months worth of travelling money.
The last few years I have bought a worked a job (or been self employed) have lived in the same house for more than 10 years had a child, got married and tried to get ahead (in the truest 1st world sense). I drive a great car, the kids go to a private school, I have a great relationship with my beloved wife and some money in the bank account.
But this morning I watched a video of some old friends who were still travelling in Goa (India) and thanks to the magic of a mobile phone they had made a movie of some of their travels and it got me thinking.
In the west we are constantly shown images of the goals we are supposed to be going for. We are surrounded by people who are all in one way or another going for the same goals… house, car, a little luxury, security etc…
It’s probably just temporary but this morning I find my self unconvinced by the value of it… is it really worth it I ask myself?
I am selling my time in 5 – 8 hour chunks every single week. 5 days a week I get up early and give my time over in exchange for the money… there is a value on my time…
But that’s time I can never get back – it shouldn’t have a value – it’s fucking priceless.
Every week I leave my wife and child at home so I can go to work and earn the money. I do it for them… and they are the reason I go out to work and they are the only reason I come home.
But that’s time I can never get back – and if time is so finite then to truly live a life of truest intent – to live every moment with the intent of being fully in the moment, in the now and enjoying each moment then isn’t that time better spent with the people I love? Doing the things that I love? In places that I love?
I’m not convinced of the value of this 1st world dream.
I remember when I was travelling of being struck by the simple joy that so many people had in poorer countries. Life was much raw-er for sure but maybe that made it all the sweeter.
I’m reminded of a quote a saw a while back:
“Some people are so poor all they have is money”
So many I encountered in “poor” countries had family and happiness, so many in this country and other 1st world countries have money and the illusion of security but not close, loving supporting family and not happiness…
Which has more value? Isn’t there a way to have both? Today is a quest to find value and happiness and simplicity.
For the purposes of full disclosure I have to say up front that I am currently working in the marketing industry. Hence my self loathing :). This also gives me a chance to see what really goes on from the inside.
Call me a traitor to the cause… call me a spy working from the inside. A whistle blower, a mole… Deluded / Genius / fool or just someone trying to earn a buck. It’s all good – at least I admitted it.
Mole: (for your foolish enjoyment)
Imagine this. 5 companies all doing more or less the same thing… a tweak here or there but basically the same thing. selling the same thing or derivatives of that thing…
There’s big money in it… and they are all trying to make out that they are the only ones in the market who are doing it right, who are selling with integrity and honesty…
and that all the other companies are full of shit. That the other companies are dishonest, dodgy brothers, spruikers and just out to rip people off… But they are all doing the same thing… all telling the same tale and spinning the same shit to the public.
And it hits people in two ways:
There’s the first mover advantage… well it’s not that they are first movers it’s more that they are just first to get in front of certain individuals… one company places an ad in one magazine and the capture those readers and start spinning their crap.
Another one places an ad in another paper and they capture another person who doesn’t read the first…
At the end of the day people tend to be committed to what they first thought and what they first decide to commit to. Marketing companies try and get you to make “micro commitments” because they understand this… [See Robert Cialdini’s book – “Influence”]
Then there are the other people who have already been burned by one company but have someone been afflicted with the “bug” – they want the dream that was being sold and just think that there must be an answer that maybe one of the other companies has…
But you’ve got to remember it’s all the…
Same Shit Different Bucket
Of course this is not only in this industry… it’s in tons of industries…
Supermarkets, department stores, franchises and the two biggest money generating marketing businesses in the world
politics and religion.
What’s annoying me about this today is that the focus is on the negative… spend your time trying to put down others and you spend your time focusing on all the things that are wrong and deluding yourself about how good you are.
Spend your time thinking of ways to do better, give more and provide a better existence for people and you spend your time thinking up ways to improve the world and your business in the process.
It’s like that Steven Covey bit [in 7 habits of highly effective people] where is someone is bitching to you about another person then you know that they are also bitching to others about you…
Companies that spend their time bitching about each other to you… well you also know that they are bitching about you…
They are all nice as pie when you call customer service but when they hang up… they say mean things about you 🙂
I guess the thing is this… corporate law was set up to give companies the same “rights” as individuals… (a set of laws that has caused more trouble in the world than any other) but if you really knew someone like that… who behaves as some of these companies do… well you’d never be friends with them… at best… and you’d flat out punch them in the mouth, at worst.
That’s why they remain faceless… fear of what will happen if we really catch on and start treating them like they deserve…
It strikes me that much of the first world lives in suburbia on some level or another. whether it be rich suburbs with plenty of space or poorer suburbs with high-rise high density housing. It’s easy to get caught up in the head space – especially if you are not in the more affluent areas that the best place to be is in a better area. We are led to live a dream of wanting bigger and more, of wanting what the richest people have. Bigger is better, more is better.
I see it time and again in myself and those around me… getting caught up in the thinking that “this year is the year to make heaps of money” ” this year is going to be better than last year” ” business is going to grow this year”… but for what exactly? a new car… a better or longer holiday?
I have found myself thinking outside the box – outside of my little box on the hillside. outside of the “ticky tacky”.
try and think of all the ways that people live happily that are not living in the suburban illusion. who are not watching television every night and are subtly bombarded with the thoughts, words and images telling them what they should think and what they should strive for and what they should buy next! And I love this train of thought!…
what I’m talking about here are ways of living that are outside of the typical urban dream.I mean really do I have to stay where I am and do the boring things I am currently doing just so my kids have a “good education” or so I can make money so my wife can have a nice car and nice clothes. what about other values? adventure, fun, change, diversity, cultural richness, contribution…
here’s what I mean: I could stay where I am, making search engine magnetic blogs for businesses, taking my kids to school every morning.
or I could… Become a dive instructor in the tropics
start a kayaking business in Samoa or Vanuatu and run whale watching eco tours
I could trade the forex while sailing around the world on a catamaran.
I could go and teach english in Cambodia and set up solar-powered water purification systems in villages that don’t have fresh water
I could drop out and start an organic farm
I could open a cafe in Thailand on a beach somewhere
or a bed and breakfast in far north Queensland in the rainforest.
my point is that there are so many ways to live a life that appeal to me
there are so many ways to live a life full stop.
Surely it’s a kind of madness to be convinced that this illusion in real. where we all live together in a city, and struggle to etch out a meagre existence battling for every cent just to pay bills. where big business and the government spend your hard-earned money brainstorming ways to get more of your hard-earned money. where the competition for any job or business is so think and fast, and we are convinced that more information, more knowledge is going to be the answer to our dreams.
well it’s not.
the only more that is going to make any difference is more heart, more vision, more clarity.
and where we really need lack is: less speed, less stress, less needyness.
the illusion in society’s deep thinking is that we should all knuckle down and contribute to society but I have a different question for you…
what have you done today that has contributed to your own life? to your own joy? to your own deep sence of peace in the world?
advertising keeps telling us that if we just buy all the crap that tell us we need then we will be happy, but the crap arrives at the door but doesn’t come with a side order of happiness.
So the only question that is really worth asking here is what Can I do that will make me happy, or rather?… what can I be that will make me happy?… or even, how can I be content with life right now?
I don’t know why – it’s so stupid really!
But it just makes me laugh every time (shrug)
I can’t explain it – it just does!
I was shopping the other day – looking for gumboots for my little girl.
For a start let me say that she goes to a steiner school which means that she
is not allowed to wear clothes with writing, logos or any other kind of media etc.
and I was amazed at how difficult it was to find anything like that… there is advertising and
other crap on everything.
And then just as I was looking , Hanna Montana raised her excessively besmiled head in the form of
The question is how can we be suckered into thinking that it is a good idea to use ourselves and worse, our children as advertising space.?
Anyway – food for thought.