I like material things as much as anyone. I studied product design in school. I’m into gadgets, clothing and all kinds of things. But my experiences show that after a certain point, material objects have a tendency to crowd out the emotional needs they are meant to support. -- Graham Hill, "Living with Less", New York Times
Graham Hill's recent op-ed piece about living with less is making the rounds. Given my entrance to the blogging world through my first website, The Simpler Life, I obviously have a soft spot for simplicity and minimalism. It's interesting to read people's experiences with adopting a simpler way of life and Graham is no exception. I don't necessarily relate very well to those who come from a life of massive wealth and decide to down size from mansions and personal shoppers -- but the contrast is interesting to see.
My first introduction to Graham was through his TED talk which I originally saw when it was posted in 2011. His message is important on two levels. The first simply being from a sustainability point of view in terms of what our planet can handle regarding our consumption. What would the social ills we deal with as a society now look like if more of us chose to be happy with less? Secondly, living with more mindful attention to what and how we consume is a potential pathway to more personal happiness. That seems to be the resounding message I see from anyone who has made the switch from typical American-style consumption and a Graham Hill-esque approach to life (and is corroborated by my own experience as well). Both of these reasons are important and any time a single decision can have positive micro and macro level consequences I think it's worth thinking about.