You Are An Advertisement.

You read it right: the sentence doesn’t have a typo. I could have said we are ‘consumers’ or we are people who buy crap we don’t need to impress everyone around. But the truth is far more heinous: we’re advertisements.

Somewhere, a group of people, are getting paid outrageous amounts for having us — to put it mildly — as a walking billboard, promoting their brand for them. The game is twisted: advertisers make us believe that it is our privilege to use their product.

We’re lucky; our stars are fucking aligned, getting a chance to go out and be an advertisement so that they can earn more money.

tattoos, advertisements, that indian minimalist

Such brands. Much wow.

Here’s what being an advertisement sounds like:

I am typing this on my Mac, as I sip my Starbucks Coffee with my name wrongly spelt on the cup. iPhone organises my notes: I have to finish writing this post in an hour. It’s 4 PM right now, as per my Rolex. Afterwards, I will change into my Adidas running suit and Nike running shoes. I will take my FitBit and run while listening to inspirational music through my Beats. In between, I will stop and drink water from my overly expensive bottle that filters the water every time I take a sip. Also, I also have a unicorn in my basement, and it will tell me fairy tales as I fall asleep.

Okay, the last part is a bit exaggerated.

Again, am I saying there is something inherently wrong with buying or even buying these brands? No.

All I am trying to point out is how we’re being used to advertise, and how we partake in it every single day without noticing or flinching.

The message is loud and clear: we’re inadequate, worthless, and incomplete until we have certain specific stuff made and designed by individual brands. The promise of the entry into wonderland once you cut that fat cheque to multi-billionaire corporates.

We need to snap out. And it’s hard to do so.

Advertisements are everywhere: television, radio, roads, public transportation, footpaths, the internet, and even public bathrooms. And since a long time, they have it figured: humans are the best advertisements. So, with all their might and money, they are here to convert us.

bathroom stall, advertisements, that Indian minimalist

I can’t pee without someone trying to re-finance my mortgage.

What can you do to avoid being an advertisement for someone?

It all comes to down to not buying to impress. Why do you need to buy a branded product if a less-expensive (but still good quality) substitute can carry out the same function? Are you afraid that other people will judge you for not keeping up with the trends? Good news: they’ll judge you either way.

So, read this brilliant article by Wait But Why and step out of this shitty-advertiser cycle.

At this point, you might be wondering: You’re talking about the concepts. But is there anything I can do to apply them?

Don’t buy any brand for a month. Find cheaper alternatives. If you want to go into a hardcore mode, don’t purchase anything for a month. See how it makes you feel: are you anxious? How does not wearing recognisable brands make you feel? Do you feel vulnerable? Do you feel liberated?

Tweak around, experiment, and curate a lifestyle that suits you.

I don’t buy brands, and my clothes don’t carry a logo. Will I never purchase a brand? Again, I have nothing against buying: the idea is to make a conscious choice with the intention of plain utility and not showing off.

Next time, you think about purchasing something just because of a brand: imagine yourself running naked on the streets with nothing but different coloured logos stuck all over you.

Like the imagery in your head?
Thought so.

Advertisements

“You Will Remain Incomplete Until..”

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“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes. working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

 

Look around.

No just look.

Look on the internet, on the Television screen, in books, in papers, outside on road.

Look in the mirror.

You know what is common in everything?

Advertisements.

Brands and logos and taglines and fancy typography and jazzy arts.

Look at those fancy audio ads and visual ads on TV or the big billboard outside your house or in the ad box in newspaper.

You know what are they saying?

You know what every advertisement is saying?

They are saying- “You will remain incomplete until..”

Now fill in the blank with the product name.

You’ll remain incomplete until you’ve this phone.

You’ll remain incomplete until you wear this brand.

You’ll remain incomplete until you use this thing.

You’ll remain unhappy until you use this cream.

They even go to the lengths of telling that you are incomplete until you don’t wear a specific brand of inner-wear.

That’s not what I believe. That’s what advertisers would like you to believe.

That you’re incomplete.

So what’s the solution to this?

Obviously, buying the product and feeling complete, feeling adequate.

That’s what we do, right?

We got out and buy the product. And feel ‘complete’ for a while. Then a new products come along and again we’re showed how we’re still incomplete. Then, we want that product. And this cycle never ends. Never.

We let the stuff define us. And advertisers love it.

Only problem- consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Really, we all have been through this. Haven’t we?

We always want more. We keep on creating desires for more stuff. We keep on feeling inferior or superior to other people on the basis of who owns what.

We keep on feeling ‘incomplete’.

These advertisers will always be there. And so will their tricks.

And they’ll always want you to believe that you’re incomplete, that you’re inadequate, that somehow owning their product will fulfil you.

But, can I tell you something?

You’re already complete.

You’re already adequate.

Realize that you’re already perfect.

You don’t need stuff to know your worth. You don’t need brand’s approval to know that you’re a good human.

Your stuff don’t define who you’re. You actions will, your kindness will, how you’re as a person that’ll but not your stuff.

Never your stuff.

Unless you allow your stuff to define you, they can’t and they won’t.

It is you.

It has always been you.

You- the person.

You- the human.

You- the individual.

Let yourself be defined by your actions, by your growth, by your kindness and compassion, by your will to learn.

And, when you do, you feel complete in real sense.

You’re not stuff. You’re not cars and brands. You’re not creams and sunscreens. You’re not mobiles and PSPs.

Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Not long term, for sure.

Never did, never will.

You make you happy.

Go now and be more.

Fly, fucking fly.

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Minimalism and Being a Slave (Of Money)

“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
― Douglas Adams

Productivity Template.

Productivity Template.

I was talking to a friend recently.

A real close friend and a cousin brother but with thoughts completely opposite to mine. I like to discuss thoughts with him. It gives me a contrary view to my beliefs and philosophies.

I have often seen him humiliating people who are poor in terms of money from him irrespective of whether they are happy or not. For him, a person can only be happy if he has too many small pieces of green paper. (He is elder than me, he earns big bucks for his age.)

I have seen him de-meaning everything and everyone who thinks or says that Money is not the most important thing in life. That includes me.

I have seen him laughing my thoughts off. I have seen him laughing on people who claim to be Minimalists. I have seen him laughing at people who claim to be more happy with less.

For him such people are lazy. Or delusional. For him such people don’t understand what success is. For him such people are stupid and they will end up alone with their stupid philosophies and theories.

For him only real power is money. Only thing that matters is a big bungalow, a bigger car, expensive clothes, lots of credit cards- basically everything that can be bought. He thinks people are tool. And only real success comes from earning big bucks.

He spends lavishly and if I might add unnecessarily. Just to show people that he can spend. Somehow it ties to his self worth. I am yet to understand how.

Basically completely opposite of me.

I have been close to this friend of mine. Childhood friend. And I must admit, I thought the same few months back, probably. Or maybe worse.

He is not wrong. He has become a slave.

Let me say right here- I don’t think earning or even wanting money is bad. I am not saying to take a exile and live without money. No, I am not saying that. You can have money. You can want money. You can buy things. That’s perfectly fine. I don’t say that’s wrong. I need money, myself obviously. To sustain. And it plays a crucial role in being happy.

But money is a tool. You’re not.

He has become a slave.

He thinks, he is happy. I don’t see how.

He works 16 hours a day. At the job which he admits he doesn’t like. At all. He is on phone most of the times. Or on the internet. Or on excel. He has no freedom. He doesn’t travel within the city also.

His hair has started to fall and turn grey at the age of 24. He is almost always angry. He is either thinking about minting money or thinking about how he can spend the money.

To match his lavish thinking, he keeps on taking loan and credit cards. I guess he has two big loans on his head excluding the student’s loan his parents took for him. Also, not to forget his credit card(s) statement.

He hardly saves. He is in outrageous debts at this age itself. He has an overly expensive car which he hardly uses, a big flat with 4 rooms in a lavish area where he lives ALONE.

He is addicted to alcohol and smoking. He looks almost twice his age. He is overly obese due to his extremely unhealthy eating habits.

He keeps shouting on everyone and anyone. He has no compassion left. He has no kindness left. He helps no-one. He lives alone.

He had a relationship in the past- he broke it off. He had real close friends in the past- he got out of contact.

Now either he works or he sits at his 4 room apartment- alone. Or he goes out to drink alcohol. Smokes regularly. Or go to pretentious clubs and parties and office gatherings.

And he comes and tell me that, he is happy.

Probably for the society and according to it, he is happy.

For them, he is successful.

He fits the success template created by us perfectly- A titled corporate job, big house, big car, expensive clothes, an overly filled wallet with lots of credit cards- Perfect match found.

He has everything in terms of Society believes one should have for fitting in that template. Everything except himself.

I have known him since years now. Years. He wasn’t always like that. He used to be happy. He used to be compassionate. He used to be kind. He used to have people and relations as his priority. He used to live.

Burdened with societal expectations and perceptions, he decided to become a slave- slave of money. Little pieces of paper.

He exchanged his life, happiness and freedom in order to gain little pieces of paper.

He has money now. At least on the surface.

But let me ask you, was it worth it?

And probably, I was heading at the same path. And I was becoming a slave. I was. Not anymore.

I don’t see money with the same eyes. I own money. And not vice-verse.

I want money so that my life can be comfortable and so that it adds to my happiness. Not destroys it.

I want money so that I can live independently. Without depending on my parents or for that matter anyone else.To live with freedom. I don’t want to earn so that instead I get dependent on pieces of paper.

It is not about being a miser. Not even about not spending on things that add value or bring happiness.

It is about asking. Asking, “Is that purchase worth my freedom?”

For every rupee or dollar or pound, you spend. You give it a right to chunk off a bit of freedom from your life. Look around, you think all these things are worth your freedom?

If yes, then well done.

If no, we have a problem.

Think about what status you give to money. Those little pieces of paper. Think before making them the most crucial thing in your life. And it is not some idealistic bullshit. I don’t do that. You need money. But you need to own it. Own those pieces of paper. They can’t own you.

Quit being slave of money. Today.

Be more than that. Be human.

You’re much more than that. So much more. Fly, my friend. Fucking Fly.

What do you think about money? Let me know via comments! 

*Part of the Series- Gems of Minimalism