Mainstream culture tells us to buy as much stuff as possible. Hence the success of Walmart.
Upscale mainstream culture tells us to buy the most expensive stuff possible. Hence the success of designer labels and Ferraris.
Mainstream wisdom is that buying lots of stuff and/or expensive stuff will give us happiness, status and popularity.
The heretical truth is the opposite: we should live well below our means. We should buy as little stuff as possible, and expensive stuff only if it will last a lot longer than average.
This heretical path protects the earth, since the production and transportation of most stuff plunders the earth’s limited resources and hastens climate change. It also is the path of happiness and being rich in what matters.
My husband and I live well below our means. We own just one car; I carpool to work and Thor commutes by bicycle. We have solar panels that produce a little more electricity than we use. We choose to not own a TV. We have a garden that supports bees and birds, rather than a lawn. We break the rules of consumerism at Christmastime. We focus on people, experiences, God and nature rather than stuff.
Our popularity and status don’t seem to suffer for any of this. We’ve got lots of friends, and our status in our community is fine. We’re happy. We’re rich in what matters.
Most of the stuff we own in the U.S. is about our wants, not our needs. It’s not even our deepest wants. Our purchases are often driven by our insecurities, like my horrified response of buying costly cosmetics when a little girl thought I was a grandma. (Thank goodness the Dalai Lama’s wisdom helped me recover from that misguidedness.)
Rather than go into counseling to work on those insecurities (and I speak as a former counselor), I suggest getting your spouse or friend to support you in not buying more stuff. Work from the outside in. It costs less and gets faster, better results.
Get family and friends to take nature walks with you instead of going shopping. Or get involved in a good, loving place of worship. Decide to live a good story. Volunteer to serve meals to street people who will value your presence and a bit of friendly conversation. Go to a rally against climate change. Stretch yourself by climbing a mountain, either literal or figurative. These things and many others can make us rich in what matters.
Try walking the path of heresy about money and materialism. Diamond-Cut Life will support you in that path. My husband and I are heretics living below our means, and we’re happy. We also have ample money saved for retirement. And we give away 5% of our annual gross income to organizations like Green Empowerment, because abundance should flow toward need. Research has repeatedly shown that both giving is proven to increase happiness. I just attended a first-rate workshop by Scott Crabtree of Happy Brain Science that reminded me of this. (Note: this blog receives no money as a result of any recommendations.)
If this post makes no sense to you, Diamond-Cut Life is not a blog you would want to subscribe to. Instead, you would need mainstream blogs that encourage you to embrace the status quo. Blogs than run ads and assume you should steadily buy stuff.
But if you want to explore the path of heresy, keep coming back. (It takes less than a minute to subscribe, upper right of site.) If you want to be rich in what matters, then Diamond-Cut Life is for you.