Consumer Engineers want you to buy your way to happiness, but we all know a happier and healthier world depends on how we invest our time and energy.
Despite living in the most resource abundant era in the history of human kind, some 70% of Americans claim not to be happy.
The Deep Consumer State
What is that awful smell about our unhappiness? Could it be reek of carbon generated by all those Consumer Engineers, whose covert message tells us happiness is just around the next purchase corner?
If you have read even the tiniest bit on Buddhism or psychology, you know this is untrue. But we still fall for their buy something new, be happy fix.
You’ve heard Trump complain about the Deep State? Well the Deep State has nothing on the Deep Consumer State, which has us like dogs pursuing our own tails.
Its not like we don’t know. You’ve seen the articles and you know the cocktail party chatter. We work too hard, buy too much, too much debt, not enough time or joy… etc. Americans are so business ‘texting, multitasking, working, commuting etc. that only around half report having a meaningful past time or hobby. Who even takes a vacation these days for fear of loosing out or falling back?
Happiness: Its in Front of Our Noses
Leaving aside that all the ‘abundance’ we enjoy will not last if we don’t alter our relationship with nature, there is plenty of evidence pointing to ways happiness is right in front of our nose.
Four things stand out.
Find and nurture relationships
Good relationships with family, friends, and your various communities makes you happy.
Don’t Work So Hard or Work Doing Something You Don’t Like
If you have a job that makes you happy this is a redundant sentence.
For those that are unhappy, if you are like most of us, work needs to give you three things: doing something you like, pays a decent income, and is relatively secure.
If this sounds good and you don’t want to live in an expensive urban neighborhood, you need to find work that pays $80,000 a year that fulfills these three bargains. I would recommend preferably unionized or government.
Chronic dissatisfaction at work often lead to serious health issues, change jobs. Now.
Learn and Find Your Curious Gene
Ok, if you can’t find work doing something you love, find meaningful pursuits outside the job. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to give you purpose.
Being busy with things you love typically leads to new and deeper social relations.
Knowing things, especially new things, is also the only App you can rely on for economic stability. People with continuous learning earn on average 30% more than those who stop learning after high school.
What to learn? It doesn’t matter really. What counts is habituating yourself to learn and the curiosity that comes from that.
Education and Continuing Education Should be Free
Curiosity is the hybrid engine of learning. Feed your curious gene some information and it generates energy all on its own. It’s a continuous feed-back loop.
People who constantly learn also tend to be creative, and if there were a moniker for a successful and (hopefully) sustainable century, #CuriousCreativity is it.
The Secret to the Sauce
The recipe for more and better sustainability action at the personal and societal level is simple: Want Less: Give More.™ There is, however, one secret ingredient to a happier, healthier more sustainable world. Without it you and we are doomed. With it, we can direct our energies towards accomplishing good.
The secret to the sauce is love. If you don’t love others and yourself, we are certainly doomed.
Policy Wonko (keep reading you might like some of the options!)
Ok, that was the sermon. How can we make it real?
Here are just a few of policy ideas, some old some new that can lead to a powerfully curious well-educated citizenry that seeks truth through facts and creates great things as easy as they breath:
- $70,000 guaranteed income if you work, $24,000 if you don’t.
- Paid sabbatical for every worker working at least five straight years full or nearly full-time.™
- Teachers’ salaries are doubled, no, tripled.
- First six years of college fully paid for, social service required.
- 75% tax credits for continued life-long education expenses.
- Universal health care (including dental and therapeutic health).
- Remove obstacles to workers’ right to associate (ok not directly education related but it’s a good policy).
- Offer tax deductions for volunteer hours for any social service work that is not politically motivated.
Don’t let the of the Consumer Deep State Engineers trick you into doing or not doing what you need to be happy. Unhappy is unsustainable in so many ways.
So, work or play at what you love, learn continuously, demand low cost education, don’t hate and love more.
Most of all, be bold, make the changes you need to make.