Over the past 50 years throughout many Western cultures, social status (perceived success) was easily defined by material wealth. Whether it was a home, car, accessories for your home, clothing, jewelry (or all of the above) it was culturally accepted (and expected) to consume more, simply because we could.
(*Of course this mentality was more present in certain countries, and excluded those who rebelled and lived their lives according to their own set of rules.)
Fast forward to 2015, and there has been a drastic shift in values and perspectives. Currently our culture is redefining our relationship to ‘wealth’ and the age of mindless consumption is slowly fading.
The trend of shopping at corporate stores and buying mass manufactured products is dying out. It is now replaced by the urge to support smaller personalized shops that offer local, organic and fair trade products.
Businesses are constantly becoming more innovative, resourceful and eco-conscious with their products, priding themselves on quality over quantity and strong ethics that are aligned with their economic growth.
Along with the change in what we are buying, is the change in how we are buying. Outdoor markets and festivals boasting gourmet foods and live music are replacing air-conditioned malls with fast food courts and parking lots.
And the most interesting progression is quite possibly the transformation in our desires.
The desire to even physically own a product is instead being replaced by the ability to have access to that product.
This radical revolution from our changing desires supports a culture of business that offers new ways in how we use products.
For example: a bike, which you can rent near your flat, ride across the city, and drop off at your new destination…music, movies and media stored online, available to you on any device with or without internet… experiences working abroad in exchange for accommodation and food…taxi services, cars, sleeping accommodations and land directly rented from one another.
These products are more flexible, offering more availability and affordable prices. They support us to share and network with both our local and global communities. And most important, they protect the environment and work to create a smaller carbon footprint as ultimately, fewer goods are being manufactured.
As mindful consumers, we are becoming more interested in the ‘root of the product’.
What is the true purpose behind its use (is it necessary), and how can it become a tool to enhance our lives?
Can this product become an experience and offer me more value?
What is the impact of this product on myself, my community and the Earth?
Our intentions as a culture are becoming more yogic with a better understating of our yamas and niyamas (ethical guidelines), connecting to what’s truly important - access over ownership, a quality eco product over one that harms our bodies and nature, and community success over individual success.
These Yogic principals encompass multiple aspects of healthy production and consuming, and are at the heart of the evolution of many small entrepreneurs and big corporate businesses alike.
It seems the rise of yoga among the masses has begun to permeate deeper than asana with a rising in consciousness as a culture. And even in a context, which seems so far from ‘yogic’ (such as consuming) the new trends in business are implementing more holistic perspectives to sustainable and healthy options.
As a consumer, the next time you are in the market for a product, stop and think (research) which companies are offering that same product in a more user-friendly, enjoyable and eco-conscious way. Remember that you always have a choice and your support for these products will radiate far beyond buying and using them, as you will be a positive example of a mindful being for your own circle of loved ones.
LAUREN LEE is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated yogini and sun seeker, she lives for creating connection and enjoying simple pleasures. Read more about her here