How Much Stuff Is Enough?

Buy More Stuff

Role of Consumption

In the last few hundred years, the acquisition, flow and use of things – in short, consumption – has become a defining feature of our lives. In the rich world (and increasingly in the developing world) identities, politics, economies, and the environment are crucially shaped by what and how we consume.

Advanced economies live or die by their ability to stimulate and maintain high levels of spending – with the help of advertising, branding, and consumer credit. Taste, appearance, and lifestyle define who we are (or want to be) and how others see us.


Our Relation to Things

Possessions in a pre-modern village of an indigenous tribe pale when placed next to the growing mountain of things in advanced societies. This change in accumulation involved an historic shift in humans’ relations with things.

In contrast to the pre-modern village, where most goods were passed on as gifts or part of a wedding collection, things in modern societies are mainly bought in the marketplace, and, they pass through our lives more quickly.


Stuff & More Stuff

  • A typical German owns 10,000 objects.
  • In Los Angeles, a middle-class garage often no longer houses a car, but hundreds of boxes of stuff.
  • In 2013, the United Kingdom was home to 6 billion items of clothing, roughly a hundred per adult – a quarter of these items never leave the wardrobe.

Empire of Things
Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First

Frank Trentmann

 

How Can We Develop Mental Strength?

Mentally Strong

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

  1. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself.
  2. Don’t give away your power.
  3. Don’t shy away from change.
  4. Don’t focus on things you can’t control.
  5. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.
  6. Don’t fear taking calculated risks.
  7. Don’t dwell on the past.
  8. Don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
  9. Don’t resent other people’s success.
  10. Don’t give up after the first failure.
  11. Don’t fear alone time.
  12. Don’t feel the world owes you anything.
  13. Don’t expect immediate results.

Getting rid of these 13 habits will help us develop mental strength, which is essential to dealing with all of life’s problems – big or small.

No matter what our goals are, we’ll be better equipped to reach our full potential when we’re feeling mentally strong.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success
Amy Morin

Background on Amy Morin

The Anxiety of Growing Old In A World of Impermanence

Impermanence

Our Desire for Certainty, Meaning, and Permanence

All of us have an inborn desire for certainty, meaning, and structure. Yet, how does this square with the fact that we live in a world where impermanence is the nature of reality? We get sick, we get old, and we eventually die.

All of our attempts to find a permanent ground to stand on will eventually fail. This is one of the sources of our fundamental existential anxiety.

Our Resistance to Accepting Impermanence

It’s not just the fact of impermanence that causes us to have anxiety and suffer – it’s our resistance to accepting impermanence as an inevitable aspect of life. The inevitability of aging pushes us to confront the clash between what we want – security and comfort – and the reality of what is.

Trying to avoid the unwanted seems to be deeply ingrained in the  human psyche, and if we forcefully continue our evasions, our suffering increases.

Growing Older and Wanting Security

The existential predicament starts with the fact that as humans we want a sense of secure ground. However, somewhere along the way we may come to the frightening realization that uncertainty and groundlessness can’t be avoided.

We may experience that when we hit a personal crisis, such as a serious relationship breakup, a financial reversal, or a troubling diagnosis. It may become clear to us that what we want is a sense of certainty and meaning – yet we live in a world that may not offer neither. This is one of the fundamental predicaments that all of us must eventually face, and particularly so as we get older.

The Fact of Our Aloneness

The existential predicament continues with the fact of our basic aloneness. At bottom, this is the tension we feel that comes when we recognize our absolute isolation – the fact that we are born alone and that we will die alone. We may not recognize this very often, but it is in sharp contrast with our deep desire for connection, protection, and our wish to be part of a larger whole.

Accepting We Will One Day Die

Perhaps the most daunting part of our existential predicament is the fact that we will surely die. This is in direct conflict with our deeply ingrained desire to continue to live. There’s no getting around this conflict – wanting to exist and knowing that someday we will no longer be. We may posit an afterlife or take comfort in the legacy of our children or our life accomplishments, but this comfort may not be enough to prevent the anxiety from seeping through.

The solution has to come from our acceptance of the fact that we will surely die, and from our ability to surrender to this part of the natural order of things.


Aging for Beginners
Ezra Bayda with Elizabeth Hamilton

Ezra Bayda and his wife Elizabeth Hamilton have each been practicing meditation for over 40 years and teaching since 1995, including retreats in the US and abroad. They currently co-teach at the Zen Center San Diego. Ezra has written 7 books. Elizabeth is also a writer, and has led numerous workshops at hospices.

Ezra Bayda – Wikipedia / Zen Center San Diego

Elizabeth Hamiltion
– 
Explore Faith / Zen Center San Diego



Ezra Bayda

Born 1944

Ezra Bayda is an American figure in Zen. He is at the “forefront of the movement…to present the essential truths of Buddhism free of traditional trappings or terminology.” He is an author and Zen teacher.

Bayda is a teacher at Zen Center San Diego, in Pacific Beach, San Diego, California, and with the Santa Rosa Zen Group in Santa Rosa, California. He has conducted meditation workshops and retreats in Europe, Australia, and North America.

Bayda is a member of the White Plum Asanga and the Ordinary Mind Zen SchoolHe is also the author of several books, best known for his teachings on working with difficulties and fear in everyday life.

Books Ezra Bayda Has Written Include:

Does People-Pleasing Bring Us Happiness?

People-Pleasing

Assumptions About People-Pleasing

Most of us wrongly assume that people-pleasing behavior proves we’re generous. But when you think about it, always trying to please people isn’t a selfless act. It’s actually quite self-centered. It assumes that everyone cares about your every move. It also assumes you have the power to control how other people feel.

If you’re constantly doing things to make others happy and you don’t think they are appreciative of your efforts, you’ll soon experience resentment. Thoughts such as I do so much for you, but you don’t do anything for me will creep in and ultimately hurt your relationships.

Truths About People-Pleasing

  • Worrying about trying to please everyone is a waste of time.
  • People-pleasers are easily manipulated.
  • It’s okay for other people to feel angry or disappointed.
  • You can’t please everyone.

When Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask Yourself These Questions Before Responding

  • Is this something I want to do?
  • What will I have to give up by doing this?
  • What will I gain by doing this?
  • How will I feel if I do it?

Live True To Yourself

Dying people often say they wished they had live a more authentic life. Instead of dressing, acting, and speaking in a manner that was pleasing to others, they wished they’d been more true to themselves.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success
Amy Morin

 


Amy Morin
Amy Morin
. Amy Morin, LCSW
. Forbes Blog
. Psychology Today

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, mental strength trainer, and international bestselling author. She’s a highly sought after keynote speaker who gave one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

Morin’s books, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, have been translated into more than 30 languages. She’s a columnist for Inc., Forbes, and Psychology Today and her articles on mental strength reach more than 2 million readers each month.

Books written by Amy Morin include:


The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong – Amy Morin

Be Yourself…

Dr. Seuss - Be Yourself
.


.
Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss
1904-1991

. Biography.com
. Seussville.com
. (official Dr. Seuss site)
. Wikipedia

 

Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel was an American children’s author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, screenwriter, filmmaker, and artist, best known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His work includes many of the most popular children’s books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death.

Geisel adopted the name “Dr. Seuss” as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College and as a graduate student at the University of Oxford. He left Oxford in 1927 to begin his career as an illustrator and cartoonist for Vanity FairLife, and various other publications. He also worked as an illustrator for advertising campaigns, and as a political cartoonist.

Geisel published his first children’s book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937. During World War II, he took a brief hiatus from children’s literature to illustrate political cartoons, and he also worked in the animation and film department of the United States Army, where he wrote, produced or animated many productions – both live-action and animated – including Design for Death, which later won the 1947 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

After the war, Geisel returned to writing children’s books, writing classics including:

He published over 60 books during his career, which have spawned numerous adaptations, including 11 television specials, four feature films, a Broadway musical, and four television series. He won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 for Horton Hatches the Egg and again in 1961 for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Geisel’s birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.