This article was contributed to Blogher.com by Jen Consalvo, founder and editor of BodySoulConnect. For more, check out BodySoulConnect.com
Last week I watched a presentation (via the web) that was happening at Pop!Tech in Camden, Maine. Mind you, for three solid days there were dozens of presenters and all of them were incredible - Benjamin Zander, Clay Shirky, Malcolm Gladwell, Imogen Heap, Saul Griffith - and so many more. But this particular presentation was so timely, poignant and real that it has stuck with me and will likely affect my behavior for the perceivable future. It was by Juan Enriquez. He spoke about the economy, how we got to where we are and what it will take to fix it. The presentation will be available soon and I encourage you to watch it with this warning: it's not easy to take, but it's honest and real.
There are two things I'm taking from it as my tasks and gifts. The first is to start the start the company I've been wanting to start, because entrepreneurship is how we'll continue to grow and innovate. The second is to simplify (basically stop overspending) - that's the real challenge. It is not our patriotic duty to go out and spend spend spend to get our economy going again even if you can't afford it. It's our duty to live within our means and take responsibility for our finances (not that the CEO's of our most irresponsible financial institutions should be off the hook...that's another story!).
My take away is this - it's gotten way too easy for me to see something I like and buy it with my credit card without thinking twice. Do you feel the same way? Well, it's time to think twice. I don't think my life will lack from it. I don't think I'll have fewer friends. I think that I may have fewer boxes to pack the next time I move and a few more dollars in the bank - and what a nice thing that would be.
There are lots of resources on the web about voluntary simplicity. I'll just leave you with this:
we can describe voluntary simplicity as a manner of living that is
outwardly more simple and inwardly more rich, a way of being in which
our most authentic and alive self is brought into direct and conscious
contact with living. - Duane Elgin