Is Stuff Getting you Down?
Paul Graham is one of my heroes. He has and shares more genuine insights than whole universities, and applies them to life and growing small businesses quickly.
A little while back, he wrote about ‘stuff’, suggesting that all those toys, trinkets and ephemera we hoard actually sap energy from us. It’s a great read if you have time, and has the potential to change many of your habits.
Unsurprisingly, more people than Paul have written in this area, as these ideas gain increasing significance. A semi recent link shared a great graphical representation of how this concept of ‘ownership as burden’ plays out (see header image). This image really helped crystallize the concept for me.
It helped me to realise the difference between purchase price (the immediate amount you pay for something), and ‘total cost of ownership’, which also includes all the storage, maintenance and disposal costs. I mean, how many times have you had to clean and organise all that stuff in your garage, when you still haven’t found time to actually use it!
In these days of cheap Wal-mart and ubiquitous consumption, we’re going to need to change our ideas about possessions. Previously, we would gain status by having more stuff. But stuff is getting cheaper to buy, more quickly obsolete, and more expensive to dispose of. It really does sap energy maintaining all these things, and you no longer look so clever for having so much of it all.
This isn’t meant to be a rant for the environment or an expose on how evil modern society is. It’s just meant to be a small idea to help us free our minds from some of their burden, and live our days with a little more lightness and cheer. Oh, and there’s no purchase required…Further reading:Paul Graham