ISSUE 94   ISSN 1712-468

Modern Man is the victim of the very instruments he values most. Every gain in power, every mastery of natural forces, every scientific addition to knowledge, has proved potentially dangerous, because it has not been accompanied by equal gains in self-understanding and self-discipline.

Lewis Mumford, Sociologist

My Source Experience - Journal

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This Week´s Inspiration

The Critical Condition of Compulsive Consumerism and Constant Communications


Having power to compel; of, relating to, caused by, or suggestive of psychological obsession, e.g. compulsive actions or a compulsive gambler

Consumerism: The theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods

I watched the riot on TV with horror. Old and young, it did not matter; they were all trying to beat the crap out of each other. 

Was this a demonstration? No. Was it a confrontation between labor and management? No. 

The commotion occurred at the front entrance of an electronics store as individuals pushed and shoved to be first to get a Thanksgiving DEAL. That pathetic behavior was created by the desire to save a couple of  hundred dollars on consumer goods.

Recently, I was picking up a new piece of art for our office, at the largest mall in Vancouver. It was packed at 11:30 AM on a Tuesday; people of all ages and backgrounds were represented. I observed the energy and the faces of the individuals I passed. Most looked empty. The mall felt like an oppressive place—a jail. Compulsive consumerism was not creating joy or happiness for the individuals I was studying.

And what about what I call the new techno nerds—those who walk around  wearing Bluetooth headsets. I am not talking about individuals in cars but people who are dining, in a meeting, or just moseying around the mall with a blue light flashing in their ear.

We now see people taking cell calls and text messages during movies and plays. Who is so important that you are required to take a call in the middle of a performance? 

With instant communication devices, we feel we must respond at once. The fact is that unless you are on the battlefield or in an emergency response role, most communications can wait.

Only 10 years ago, society began its exponential growth to being constantly connected. Yes, it would be very restrictive for me to operate without a cell phone but, during a movie or dinner, I can control myself! 

We are never without several forms of communication at our fingertips—but at what cost? Where does “take a break, smell the roses, just relax” fit into our space? For some, it no longer exists. 

Individuals today are embracing a false sense of self-worth. Compulsive behaviors start when a sense of well-being or enjoyment is linked to these actions. 

Don’t you wonder how some online teenagers get caught by predators and why the teens can’t just say No and turn off the computer? It seems like the value in communicating is in the act itself. Many individuals are feeling valued because someone is communicating with them. It’s not about the content or an exchange of meaningful ideas; it is because someone somewhere sent them a message.

Maybe it’s just me, but the need for the masses to constantly shop or communicate has progressed from convenience to compulsion. It’s a wonder any of us has time to sleep. 

Where is our discipline? Most people won’t acknowledge they are hooked. If you think I am off-base, give up your cell phone, PDA, or Blackberry and don’t shop for the next 2 weeks—except for food.

We all come into this world with nothing and we will all leave with nothing. Your true identify and self-worth come from who you are, not what you have or what you are doing.

Be grounded in who you are. Considering these resources to assist you: My Source Experience Journal, the Personal Style Indicator or Entrepreneurial Style and Success Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, Values Preference Indicator, and Self-Worth Inventory.

This Week´s Action Steps

The Critical Condition of Compulsive Consumerism and Constant Communications

  1. Think about this for a moment: Do you have compulsive consumer or communication tendencies? 
  2. Do you have to get the latest toy or technology, even though you really don’t need it? What does this preoccupation cost you in time, money, and personal energy? 
  3. Do you control your communications or are you always plugged in?  For example, when your cell phone rings, do you have to answer it, no matter who it is or what you are doing?
  4. When possible, turn your cell phone off. If you are online, turn your email off so you don’t get distracted every few minutes. If you can’t do that, have they become a compulsion for you?
  5. The next time you go to a mall, people-watch for a while. Do you see joy or emptiness? Are myriad choices burning them out or inspiring them? You decide.
  6. Ensure you are not getting your sense of self-worth from your tech toys or from the act of communications from others. 
  7. Start respecting your private space and take time to walk and enjoy others without a PDA as your friend.
  8. To establish your own sense of self, consider My Source Experience Journal and these CRG assessments the Personal Style Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, Values Preference Indicator, and Self-Worth Inventory.
  9. No matter your situation, you can chose not to participate in the compulsive behavior of consumerism and communications. Good luck!

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!.

Ken Keis

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