Breadth? Or Depth?
Slowing down global climate change is a challenge. What I’m about to suggest is not “the solution” but it might help. It might also help you keep within your budget and even help you enjoy life more.
Here’s the deal. In the consumerist society, we are educated, indoctrinated, encouraged, Madison-Avenued, persuaded, entreated, and wheedled into buying more stuff. If you are competitive, you might even be persuaded to believe that your “stuff” is a measure of how well you’re doing in the game of life — or even, that the quality and quantity of the stuff you have is a measure of your own worth!
Even without the push of a consumerist society, it’s quite natural to seek out a variety of foods, places, people, experiences, etc.
What if I told you that there’s a way to have a wonderful variety of things in your life without greatly damaging your wallet, your life, or your planet?
What if I told you that this way is simple and does not require buying my book or my course or attending my workshops or signing over all your assets.
I said it is simple, but I didn’t say it is easy. Lots of people want you to stay busy in the rat-race and earn as much as possible in order to buy as much as possible so they will get even richer and more powerful. But it’s not a game you have to play.
They want you to play the “Breadth” game; that is, make your life more varied and interesting by buying a huge variety of “stuff.” Every time you watch TV; ride a subway; listen to your car radio; look at a magazine — there are folks trying to convince you that in order to stay healthy, obtain a mate, keep your mate, make your kids happy, play a better game of tennis, etc. etc. etc. all you need to do is **BUY** their super-duper-looper product or service.
Indeed, when you do buy or rent that product or service, you will feel better.
For a month. Or a week. Or a day.
Now, make no mistake. If you really need shelter, food, clean water, or medical attention, money can make a huge difference. But beyond that?
The research shows that beyond the basics, having more money is completely non-predictive of happiness. If you think back on your own experience, you’ll likely recognize that as well.
“Well, fine,” you might say, “but I like variety. Why can’t I have it?”
You can. My suggestion is that instead of always going for breadth by sampling something different, that you sometimes use your imagination to produce something different by going in depth into whatever you already have or have access to.
Instead of thinking you need to save up your money to buy an estate, you can buy property that makes it easy to visit a park. Instead of visiting a different park every weekend, you can visit a nearby park and look at it in different ways. You can walk the park primarily for exercise. You can learn the local plants and look for various plants. You can learn the local birds and see how many you can identify. You could take a camera on your walk and take pictures of natural beauty. Or, you can take pictures of the artifacts. You can take pictures from different angles, or in different conditions of light. You can draw instead. You can listen to the sounds; smell the smells; pay attention to how your muscles work.
You can make up stories about the animals in the park. You can make up stories about the plants. You can use the library or the Internet to find out about the history and pre-history of the land that is now the park. I’ll wager that you actually did things like this when you were a kid.
Guess what? You don’t have to stop just because you’re an adult. You can dive into the things you have. In your house or apartment, you have a variety of objects. Instead of throwing them out for something new, you can instead learn more — much more — about an object — it’s history, how it’s made, who invented it, how to maintain it, etc.
Remember: every time you buy something new, it costs you money. Not only that, there’s a hassle involved. There’s packaging to get rid of. It’s one more thing to keep track of; one more thing that can fail; one more thing to bump your toe on; one more thing to push the world toward climate disaster.
The breadth of things you can try is large and depends on the amount of money that you have.
The depth of things you can try is limitless and depends only on the amount of imagination you allow yourself.