I have a small question: Why is everything so complicated? This thought is perhaps most directly related to our consumer tendencies and our happiness. I know it is a bit odd to be talking about this sort of thing when I am also simultaneously encouraging people to buy things, but perhaps this conversation illustrates the duality of this newsletter. It’s a complex world and I think my goal personally is to try and look at everything and try navigate it as thoughtfully as possible — especially what we buy.
All of the choice in our modern materialist world is incredible. It’s also debilitating to have to agonize over these seemingly endless decisions about inconsequential things. Recently I came to the realization that I might finally be past the phase in my life where I want to own seemingly everything. I’m either satisfied or exhausted, I can’t tell which one. When I stopped focusing on acquiring every possible thing I could it felt liberating to start to become free from the abundance of choice that seems to take over your life. It also made me start to appreciate the companies which have have managed to hold back and kept things simple. Why aren’t there more of these businesses out there? I think I know the answer — money. Conventional wisdom says that more a company offers the more it will sell, but what if the opposite were true? Because the less a company offers the easy it is as a consumer to be happy and to be satisfied. Perhaps happiness is not a consideration?
The reality is the evolution of the consumer world is only going in one direction — to be more complicated. It’s fun to marvel at the fact that you can find almost anything you want at any time on Amazon, but it’s also obvious that most of what we are doing is wildly irrelevant to our larger lives and happiness. Sometimes I am frozen in admiration of a company which favors simplicity over new-for-the-sake-of-new. It all makes me wonder: when did simplicity stop being important?