I’ve talked before about how I have trouble with information overload. There’s always a new book, a new TED talk, a new YouTube video to watch, a new blog post to read.
They all get me excited about making myself into a better person, creating a better video for my website, making my body fitter and stronger, or understanding the needs of my loved ones better.
I know I’m naïve. I thought I just had to consume the information, and my brain would take care of the rest.
Of course, that never happened.
What I try to do now, is to take one deliberate action on the information I consume and practice it until I have absorbed the knowledge. It’s hard, I struggle, because I’m addicted to the excitement I get from starting a new book, listening to a new TED talk, or YouTube video.
And that, my friend, is the foundation of consumerism.
I sometimes imagine I could read the same book over a period of a year. One or two chapters a month. Dig deep, and practice the knowledge until I make it my own, until it becomes second nature, until I’ve mastered the teachings.
I feel blessed for having learned another life lesson.
Last week, my fiancé and I visited a cottage. It was perfectly situated for all the things I enjoy doing. I could go off-road motorcycle without taking the road, go fishing, hunting, relax in nature, make a fire and grill the fish I caught in the morning, paint, take amazing photographs of the sunrise on the lake, and play guitar when the weather wouldn’t permit going outside.
It was a dream come true, and I wouldn’t even have to borrow at the bank to buy it.
My fiancé didn’t see it the same way. For him, it was another responsibility, another place to take care of, and another debt. I listened, understood, and so I decided to let it go. Strangely, it made me happy.
The lesson I learned is that Things we buy are a materialization of our emotions and our basic needs. I don’t really want a chalet, I need to get away, far from the everyday life at the house, and I want to have more time, and share more with the love of my life.
There are many other ways to fulfil my needs, and express my emotions. The desire to by Things is often a signal that a need isn’t fulfilled.
Next time I want to buy something, I’ll pause and ask what need does buying this Thing is trying to fill? Could I fill it any other way?
Do you agree?