As I walk through grocery stores and shopping malls, I’m overwhelmed with the advertising. Nearly every square inch of display space is trying to get my attention. As I try to need fewer things I’ve begun to notice the way these items attempt to get my attention. It’s hard because I find myself constantly wanting, even if I don’t want. I want useless things, things I don’t care about, things that are pretty. My ride to work, my glance out of the office window… there is advertising everywhere. I can’t even be entertained from a DVD that I purchased without being sold something.
the amount of money, time, and energy spent on advertising, on packaging, on window displays, on creating a phantasmagorical, irresistible retail wonderland—completely blows my mind. — Annamalhouse, Must be the Feeling: The Romance of Stuff
This advertising has become quite absurd. For instance, food companies use bright colors to advertise packaged/processed foods, but all that is inside is nutrient-less, colorless food. Would we really eat the junk if it weren’t advertised it pretty packaging? Take a look at this article I found about What the World Eats. Americans have been fooled into thinking that food comes in cardboard boxes. Tsk Tsk Tsk.
I was watching TV the other day and was determined on counting how many different advertised products I was exposed to. Thinking back on it now, I can hear the sales pitches swimming in the back of my mind. They’re all telling me how much better my life would be with their products. And momentarily, I believe them, but then I laugh and think how foolishly they are wasting their money on me. I know better, now.
The amount of advertising seems to keep us in a constant state of distraction and consumption. You may not buy that Bow-Flex, but you might buy a gym membership or dumbbells.
What about what you want to do with your time? What about what you want to think with your mind.
Don’t get me started on what individual people may want from you.
The first step is to be aware. Know that your life in America is like dealing with one hella persistent, sleazy, used car salesman after another, and you’re just there to look–really. You don’t want to test drive anything.
Be skeptical. Because of where you are, you must arm yourself with the mental fortitude to not get sucked in. Grocery stores and shopping malls: These stores are gold diggers, all they want is your money. They’ll do anything to get it. Stores gone wild if you ask me… Showing you all their goods–what you want to see. Good prices and pretty colors. That % off sign and BOGO makes you crazy. They got that skinny mirror and soft lighting to make you look good. Nice music to get you in the mood to open up that wallet. They claim they got what you want, something you value. And you are going to give them exactly what they want. Those dolla dolla bills y’all. You wouldn’t entertain a gold digger when you’re looking for real, true love. Why entertain these capitalists?
Don’t hear them out. Politely dismiss adverts background noise. Mute the tv. Turn away from the sale signs. It’s hard though, when they change tactics. Selling to you through influencers and friends. Making you think that upbeat pop ditty is a song on Pandora and not a commercial. Shut them out.
Once you get that 15% off coupon, unsubscribe.
Keep your website sign-ups in a separate email account.
Stick to your mission. This is life and death here. Online, you shouldn’t get sucked into wasting 3 hours and all you needed was a copy of a receipt. You went on Hulu to watch that series finale and you spent another 4 hours afterwards binge-watching some garbage show you never planned to watch. You are now 4 hours closer to death with nothing to show for it. Sure, maybe you laughed, but I guarantee you forgot you were alive for those 4 hours. You forgot your hopes and dreams and goals.
Same thing with shopping. You have a list. Stick to that list. And only go in when you are strong and prepared to say no to the gold diggers. Remember, it’s on sale because they want you to buy it, not because they care about you. Self-discipline my friends.
And close those tabs when you’re done. And FINISH what you’re doing so you can close those tabs. They are a recipe for attention stealers later. (I’m a fiction writer so this is hard enough as it is with constant ongoing research… more on this another time.)
Know your worth. Know the value of your attention. Your attention is life. What you pay attention to signals the universe about what you want more of in your life. Your attention is like a prayer. Thoughts, actions or useless junk.
Netflix begets Netflix. Junk food begets junk food. Sales beget sales. Money out begets more money out of your pocket. Whatever you put your time, attention and energy towards is what you’re going to get more of
How do you keep your attention sacred? Let me know in the comments below.