Why do we feel the need to go bigger, faster, stronger expensive and more, more and more?
To answer this question I had to look at what drives me as a human being first. We all have a need to belong to something, somewhere, somehow; whether that sense of belonging is to a person, a land or a concept like religion. We have also been socialised to want variety and some level of control over our lives.
The mass media, marketing and advertising companies know this all too well. They have studied us long and hard and they want to fulfil those needs with things that make them lots of money. Shopping for example provides us today with endless choice and a false sense that we are making choices about our purchases. It also provides us with a fleeting moment of perceived happiness.
Think about this for a moment. If companies selling us stuff lead us to believe we are only happy if we have the latest and best, and this message is feed it to us frequently and often enough through a variety of sources and reinforced by family and friends, then it’s not hard to believe. They tell us we need it to stay healthier, to be better people, to provide better for our families, to be happier, sexier, more desirable and, the best one for busy people, it makes life easier.
The ironic thing is more and more stuff doesn't make life easier, it makes it more complicated. We know this because every time we buy a new piece of gym equipment for those abs we absolutely need, it doesn’t make life easier. We stress over not doing it enough, feel guilty, and end up parking another piece of equipment in the garage behind the treadmill!
Charles Kettering, once a Director of General Motors US, always told his staff “keep the customer dissatisfied”. Now Charles wasn't a stupid man, he knew that if he made us believe our cars weren't good enough in the long run, he could bring out a new, upgraded car in the future and we would all be back to purchase it. Apple does it beautifully, releasing new products to outdate current products almost before they are a year old, in turn, making us believe we need the next best thing.