Strangely enough, I believe one of the most future-forward things we can do as human beings is to buy less stuff.
What does that mean?
For one, being future-forward or future ready means we have to have a future in the first place. There’s no future if we don’t take care of the very home we live in.
On the other hand, one could argue that consuming less would decrease the speed of innovation and technological evolution—the very thing that would allow us to live more sustainable lives.
As consumers, we’re not so worried about the R&D of a certain project or idea as much as what we get out of it. And, if there is no immediate reward or impact, we’re less excited to get up and ready to root for it.
As you can see, there is a balance that we need to strike here and it’s between technological evolution and ourselves.
The truth is that we all spend money on things that we don’t need to be spending on (i.e. a $6 croissant, $30 dresses, sugared cereal, another pair of shoes, souvenirs, knick-knacks, party decorations, 3 winter coats). I’m not here to say that buying those things are wrong, as there is no right or wrong in living, but I’m here to say that most things people buy don’t provide happiness in the long term.
If we knew which things give us true joy and fulfillment, we would be much happier people. The good news about knowing which items give you happiness is that it often ends up being not a lot of stuff.
The average American owns 300,000 things on average. Is it possible to love and cherish all 300,000 things in your home? Sure. Is it likely? No.
My point here is that we’ve clearly accumulated too many things that we actually don’t want. We’re spending all our dollars on things that don’t bring us value, and it’s holding us back from a better future.
Back to the question, how can consuming less be one of the most future-forward things we can do?
My answer is simple: we have to be more mindful of the things we buy, and buy less stuff.
Investing in more automated technologies means we free up our most valuable resource (time) to do things that bring us value.
Buying fewer disposable goods means we also support less of the cheap, unethical supply chains out there.
Buying more AI-informed solutions means less market failure and waste.
Buying less stuff means less trash we eventually have to throw away.
Again, there’s a balance here between technological advancement and ourselves that we would benefit from being aware of, but this is my take on a sustainable future.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this too. Feel free to drop a comment. I’ll be reading!