Destroying happiness

Seth Godin has a post today about how marketers are really destroying happiness by creating in us the want, the desire for stuff.



It’s exactly right.



Every moment, when you’re just present to that moment, is perfect. It’s our thoughts that it needs to be different, our thoughts about a future that needs to be different, that causes suffering.



And very often, that thought will be about things that we desire, things that we want. A new car, more money, a new spouse.



And getting those things feels good. For a while.



Because it’s not the thing that makes us feel good. It’s the absense of desire. It’s the fact that there’s no longer desire, and when there’s no desire, there’s just presence and peace. We momentarily wake up to the present moment, and it feels great.



But soon, another desire takes over, and we go for another ride.



Thanks, marketers!



The solution is obvious: Stop believing that the thing is going to change anything. Sure, you can have the desire for a new car. I’m no puritanist, I like things. But stop believing that it’s going to make you feel better, stop believing it’s going to change anything real.



I think almost anyone who have become wealthy will tell you that it feels great, but then after a little while, you’re still just yourself. And now you don’t even have the dream about “some day in the future I’m going to be wealthy and that’ll fix all my problems” to hold on to. Now you’re really on your own.



Terrifying, isn’t it?



P.S. Check out Coach TV Episode #4 for more on how to achieve peace without the new car.

3 comments

Ever hear about the Buddhist that was able to completely rid himself of every single one of his desires? He got lucky that there was a defibrillator nearby to start his heart again.
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I completely agree on the main point, that things/quick fixes aren't going to make us happy in the long run. And I can't stand when someone is trying to convince me that I need their product. But desire in itself is actually equal to chi, to life force. Desire is passion, and who wants to live a life without passion?! So cultivate your desire. Or in the words of Rumi, 'the longing is the answer'. Don't focus on getting the object you desire, but on the desire in itself. Now that's a powerful way of being in the present moment, not to mention a way to boost creativity! Enjoy ;)
By Manja Lila on Tue, Nov 10, 09 at 05:32 · Reply
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Thanks for the great feedback to both of you. To clarify: Desire is fine. The desire to get something because you believe it's going to make you a better person, make you feel better about yourself, make other people accept or adore you more - that desire is problematic. And those are exactly the things that marketers frequently harp on. Even the most ethical of marketers with great products that _do_ have the potential to truly change people's lives, do that sometimes. Why? Because it works. The desire to believe that some product is going to instantly make our penis larger (and that that will make girls flock to get to bed with us), both metaphorically and literally, is just too great.
By Lars Pind on Tue, Nov 10, 09 at 07:29 · Reply
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