What’s really important?


As I look around me, I see the complexity and quantity of things that fill my world. I am amazed by the cost in many ways of this complexity of accumulation. I know that each time I acquired something new, I had a thought or emotional impulse that said, “I need that”. Yet, with each acquisition, I am both assuming some responsibility for maintaining in some way what was bought (Just think we have a whole industry for storing purchases that we can’t use). It must be dusted, moved, cleaned, operated….

The ongoing costs never entered my mind when I was at the moment of purchasing. The only thing I was clear about was “I need this”. What fueled this need. A lot of factors.. I wanted to be like someone else. I wanted to make things easier. I wanted to improve my circumstances..I wanted to feel good… Whatever the wanting (and I am not judging the wanting here), I never asked myself what will the ongoing requirement me to keep this new purchase going. If it is something that requires power, the power it will consume. If it is something that can break, the resources or knowledge to fix it when i breaks. If it is something I wear the costs to clean it. And so on…

This complexity of my world has run unbated for my whole life. Underlying the desires that have fueled this accumulation and complexity is a whole system that influences me to buy more. For the nature of business has almost completely centered on growth as the only objective. For if I am profitably growing, I am succeeding. If I am in the food industry, I want folks to eat more. If I am in the clothing industry, I want people to buy more clothes. The list continues even into our educational systems. We honor the school systems that are growing in student enrollment and improvement of test scores…

Yet we haven’t really examined the underlying belief that growth is the right objective for our existence. Rather than overlay onto you my beliefs, I will simply ask you a question. As you look now at the balance of your life, what do you choose to be guiding principle (belief) for the decisions you make about the accumulation and disposal of stuff in your world?

The answer will tell you more than I can.

Until later,


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2 thoughts on “What’s really important?

  1. Thomas,
    You raise some really important questions.
    I just came across another blog post that complements yours – have a look at: http://injenuity.com/archives/405

    I’ve certainly been thinking more about the “stuff” in my house – and why/if I really need it all. The issue of sustainability hadn’t entered into my thoughts yet, until your post.

    One thing I have done,though, is very consciously defined “growth” for my business in terms of time, instead of money. The last four years have been all about maintaining my income, but creating more time (so working less for more money, so that I can have more free time). Probably not that easy for everyone, but I’ve had the luxury of picking/choosing jobs and clients in my role as a consultant.

    And that gives me the time to be with my family more and to pursue volunteer activities that matter to me.

    Take care,

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