Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Stress of Excess

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy (actually, probably A LOT of the time). We willingly trade simplicity and sufficiency for complexity and efficiency. But the complexity adds stress and the efficiency often proves to have only been a potentiality. I'm speaking mostly about technology (and I realize I'm posting this on an incredibly complex and efficient computer... on the internet... at a push of a button).

This ranges from relatively simple technology to the most advanced stuff.

If I have a TV with a remote... I can lose that remote and get frustrated

If I have a gadget that can do 10,000 things... that's 10,000 things that may go wrong

On another front, shopping is super complex. We have hundreds more choices than we had in the past. But that not only makes shopping take a ton of time, it can also give us an almost constant feeling of buyer's remorse. And if I get sent to the store to buy some cheese, it takes me 5 minutes to make sure I pick the right one (and 20 minutes to run back to the store to fix my mistake).

I'm not necessarily advocating that we become Amish (I'd probably die within a month), but I am suggesting we weigh the TRUE cost of some of our purchases and decisions. In other words, don't complain about stress caused by advancement if you bought into each advancement without a moment of thought.


Michelle said...

I like this post, Matt.

I caught myself thinking the other day that my stationery bicycle would be awesome with a bracket attached to hold an iPad. I don't own an iPad and I exercise in front of a 42" HDTV. Where ever did this thought originate?

When it comes to cheese (or my paralyzing aisle: detergents) perhaps overthinking and rethinking our choices isn't the best approach. Perhaps having a few favorites to choose from and ignoring the rest creates less stress.

On the other hand, when it comes to expensive gadgets and advanced technology, perhaps some time and analyzation actually creates the calm reassurance that our choice is what is needed and for the best.

Probably tangential to this whole post is my philosophy and practice of never buying something until I have the money to pay for it. This causes me to ponder and compare and choose carefully while I save up. I've gone without several "necessities" only to find out they are really "niceties" after all (dishwasher, dryer, iPad, smart phone.) Eventually, I have acquired many items that aren't really necessities, but only after deciding I'd really like to have them, that I wouldn't be creating a need elsewhere, and only when I could afford to pay for them.

Michelle said...

Darn. Wrong stationary.