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‘Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the enjoyment of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.’

Franklin D Roosevelt, US President 1933-1945

What a massive load of stuff we collect! We all do it, rarely pausing to think. We have cupboards full of junk we do not use nor need. Who is the winner here? Not us, that’s for sure. In report after report, the research says that we are more unhappy than ever, although we are materially richer than we have ever been. We keep buying stuff in the vain search for satisfaction that we never get.

The whole situation is counter-intuitive. What is going on?

We can let you in on a secret here – no matter how hard you work, no matter how much social climbing you do, no matter how flash your car is, no matter how big your house is, no matter how fat your wallet is – there will always be someone who is better, richer, bigger and more powerful than you.

Has the time come for us to get over it and be happy with what we have and live a good, balanced and satisfying life.

Take some time to actively ignore all that you have been programmed to do. Do something different. Write a letter to your mum and tell her how much you love her. Visit your granny with a bunch of flowers for no reason. Help a neighbour plant their veggie patch, plant your own.

When we all have just a short think we realise that real sacrifice wouldn’t be required, however, because living standards are not tied to consumption rates. Much of our consumption is wasteful and contributes little or nothing to our quality of life. Who are we kidding?

‘The fact of the matter is that today, stuff-selling mega-corporations have a huge influence on our daily lives. And because of the competitive nature of our global economy, these corporations are generally only concerned with one thing – the bottom line. That is, maximising profit, regardless of the social or environmental costs.’

David Suzuki