I think I figured out what prevents most people from becoming a minimalist. I know I spend a lot of time blaming advertisers and our personal greed, but that’s not the only problem. See, here in America, we have this NOW mentality. I need to lose weight NOW. I want to get out of traffic NOW. I need the iPhone 5 NOW. (Remember, we were talking about the iPhone 5 for a year before they even introduced it.) I can’t wait for Modern Warfare 3 to come out; I want to play it NOW. We live in a world of midnight releases, sneak previews, and early-bird specials. The problem with slowing down our lifestyles is our inability to wait. Instant gratification seems to be the cornerstone of our society.
If you want to have less stuff, and be less stressed, consider being patient. You see a cute pair of shoes at the mall… instead of buying them right away. Wait. Go home, pay some bills. Feed your dog; go for a walk. Look at all the other shoes you have and don’t wear. I bet you’ll think twice about getting them if you have to go back to the mall.
The point is this, we need to get out of this “I need it NOW” mentality. Yes, advertisers feed off of this. But once you realize what they are doing to your brain, you will be able to recognize it. Think about it: Why do advertisers prey on the NOW mentality? Because that is where they have you at your weakest: your impatience and your dissatisfaction with what you already have. If you were patient and satisfied with what you do have, then they’d have to sell you on quality, wouldn’t they?
Instead of saying how wonderful and high quality their product is, they tell you they are running out, or the sale only lasts a few days. “Hurry, or you’ll miss it.” I remember Toys-R-Us was running two-day-sale commercials for two months! It’s not really a two-day sale if it lasts for more than two days, is it? They feed into your now mentality. Macy’s has a one day sale like every week. The “Buy it NOW” thing is going on all the time. You are in a crazed frenzy trying to get something NOW, but the NOW is always here. it will always be here. You can’t be anywhere other than now, so why worry about things that aren’t here NOW, and deal with what is. There will always be a sale or a discount or something you want NOW.
The NOW mentality is very much tied into mortality. “You don’t have forever you know, so do X, Y, and Z, NOW or you will miss out.” Our way of life forces us to be concerned about being in another situation, not enjoying the one we are currently in. If we were enjoying the NOW, we wouldn’t be worrying about what ISN’T here NOW. And then, we wouldn’t be worried so much about mortality, would we? We’d be enjoying every moment and making the most of our NOW, and the end wouldn’t be so bad.