From Consumerism to Minimalism - A journey (part 1)
Few days back I was discussing cars with a friend of mine, and I happened to mention the kind of car I would like to buy. My friend seemed surprised with my choice, and tried to persuade me to upgrade in my choice of car. I had mentioned that since I am living alone, I would prefer a small car, something like a Santro, or maybe Alto. I don’t see the point in buying anything bigger, regardless of the cost. At the same time, I was not in favor of Nano, as I felt it was too small and under powered for my needs. My friend kept asking me to enjoy the money I make and buy a more expensive car.
This discussion made me think about a session I had attended at IIM L somewhere close to beginning of my first year. A prominent speaker (I forget his name at this point) was visiting to take a session. During this session, the speaker mentioned something to the effect that it is wrong for the rich to indulge in luxuries like extended swimming pool, palatial homes etc. At this point my buddy and I objected. We were after all, bright eyed MBA students, much looking forward to jobs with fat pay checks that we expected to fall into our laps when we passed out.
At some level we felt the right to enjoy the salary that we expected to come, and the fortune that we hoped to make. We thus asked the speaker how could it be wrong if the person has worked long and hard to earn this wealth. How can it be wrong for someone to enjoy the fruits of his labor?
I don’t remember the response given by the speaker, though I do remember it had not satisfied me. Three years later, I find myself advocating, and indulging in practices which are uncomfortably similar to what the speaker had mentioned. From being a believer of consumerism, I am now more of a minimalist and utilitarian. I realized my thought process has undergone complete transformation in three years since I attended that session. I was surprised to realize this, and was happy too, as I felt that my thought process has changed for the better, and not for the worse.
I will get into details of what brought about this change in my thought process in my subsequent post(s). At the moment, I would like to hear from you – what changes do you find in your thought process over the last few years esp. regarding enjoying materialistic pleasures that this world has to offer.