“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
– Henry David Thoreau
What is the root of today’s problems? I believe the root lies in how we define, measure and pursue success. Today’s dominant success model, one based on perpetual growth, money, celebrity status, power, individualism, materialism and conspicuous consumption, is at odds with genuine happiness, well-being and the quality and sustainability of life.
Under this false success model, many people believe that happiness is achieved through conspicuous consumption and accumulation of material wealth. Through this worldview, people define and measure their well-being and quality of life by how much they have, especially relative to their friends, neighbors and even ultra-rich celebrities. While superficially attractive, addictive and appealing in the short-term, the consumer-based success model often smothers us with stuff, saps our time and energy and masks its ecological and social impacts.
Clearly the world is ready for a new model for success. How would you redefine success? What would a new success model need to accomplish to meet today’s challenges?