Tag Archives: Consumerism

What Robin Williams’ Death Can Teach Us About Living

Robin Williams

 

Robin Williams was a brilliant actor and comedian. He was rich, famous and achieved every bit of the American dream, yet he was still human. Even the most successful can suffer from substance abuse and depression. Robin is certainly not alone. There is a long list of celebrities who lost their lives to overdoses or suicide. Achievement, wealth and all those things we typically equate with a dream lifestyle are often not enough.

This post is not really about Robin Williams. I don’t mean this to be any commentary on his life or death.  I certainly don’t claim to know anything about his mental state. He was a great man that will be long remembered.

I only mention Robin Williams’ death as a reminder to what is really valuable and important in life.

What is Success?

If rich and famous celebrities can have everything and still not be happy, what does it mean for the rest of us?

I used to love reading personal development books, with their “you can do it if you work hard” message. Those books also did a lot to shape my idea of what success is.

It has taken me a long time to …

The End of Work as We Know It

You Think Your Job is Bad?

In my recent Leisure Society post, I explored John Maynard Keynes idea of 15 hour workweeks and why we haven’t managed to cut back our work hours over the last century.  The fundamental question is whether or not having a job is still a necessary part of the human condition. The idea of employment is only a few centuries old, and I believe it’s outliving it’s usefulness. We are already seeing a shift to higher levels of permanent, structural unemployment and this is only the beginning. Are we still going to have jobs in the future?

What is Work?

One of the key issues is how the word ‘work’ is defined. If you follow Tim Ferris of the Four Hour Workweek you might be tempted to believe that if your occupation is fun, then it’s not work anymore. This definition is brilliant marketing that made Tim Ferris famous, however, judging by all that he accomplishes, it’s clear that puts in a lot more than 4 hours per week. That’s work no matter how much he enjoys it.

At the other extreme is the idea that any directed effort is work.This would include cleaning your house, raising children, washing your car …

Unconference for Social Good

Unconference for Social GoodI’ve just finished the third Unconference for Social Good. Holding events like this can be incredibly rewarding and incredibly scary at the same time. There is so much uncertainty about whether people will come, how the day will go and many other issues. It’s a lot like starting a business. While there are some general processes to follow, for the most part you just make it up as you go. Here are some of my insights after doing three of these events.

The Birth of the Unconference for Social Good

These events all started just by talking to as many people that would listen about putting on an event around social good. After discussions with about 20 people, two co-conspirators emerged to make the first event happen: Mike Simoens and Mike Bowerman.

We tried an open and collaborative approach for the first event, but that meant getting bogged down in meetings and trying to accommodate too many divergent ideas. In the end, three people did most of the work, so keeping a lean and small administrative team proved to be much more efficient for following events.

The Unconference format means that no expert speakers are required because the audience proposes …

The Coming Leisure Society: What if Money Didn’t Matter?

Leisure SocietyImagine you lived in a perfect society where you had enough food, clothing and shelter so you didn’t need to struggle to make a living. You’d have access to education, entertainment and a reasonable amount of goods and services. You’d be comfortable, but not rich in the conventional sense. If all your immediate needs were met and you didn’t have to work many hours, what would you do with your time?

This might seem like a pointless question to ask, but I believe it is a critical one of the 21st Century.

The Leisure Society

Back in 1930, during the great depression, the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote about a coming age of leisure and abundance.

I would predict that the standard of life in progressive countries one hundred years hence will be between four and eight times as high as it is to-day. There would be nothing surprising in this even in the light of our present knowledge.

Keynes was predicting that it would be possible to get to 15 hour workweeks by 2030 just from slow gradual improvements in productivity. After 83 years, it doesn’t seem like we’ve made much progress towards that age of leisure, however, …

Are Goals Foolish?

Goals

I’ve had a few people in the last year ask me about my goals for the future. I get questions like, “What does your ideal life look like?” or “Where do you want to be in 5 Years?” Questions like that imply that current life is inadequate and I should be striving for something more. What if I’m happy with my life now?

The Problem with Goals

I believe there is some value in setting goals and striving for more, but most goals and bucket list items seem to be superficial and self-serving. I don’t need a better job, more money, an advanced degree, more Twitter followers or a fancy house to be happy.

I don’t need to climb mountains, get lots of stamps in my passport or take up extreme sports. All of that is largely selfish and meaningless. I’m not trying to impress anyone, so why would I chase such silly pursuits?

There are many things I’d like to get more of, such as: health, knowledge and friends. Maybe I’d also like more patience, confidence and tolerance. However, none of those are an end goal, they are all part of how I choose to live my life.

I …

The JetSetCitizen Guide to Minimalism

Minimalism

Over the last four years, my wife and I have drastically reduced our consumption and material possessions. We weren’t trying to move towards some goal of a better life; it was more of an escape from a consumer lifestyle that we didn’t find fulfilling. I’ve recently been exploring the philosophy of minimalism and trying to contrast it with other related ideas like voluntary simplicity, simple living and frugality. This article is covers what I think is good and bad about those labels as well as how and why I’ve become a minimalist over the last four or five years.

Why I Don’t Like the Term ‘Minimalism’.

Although, I’m definitely not a big fan of labels, questions like “What do you do?” and “Where are you from?” are often easier to explain with the right terminology. I call myself a ‘digital nomad,’ and sometimes even, ‘location independent’ because those are probably the most efficient terms to describe my lifestyle.

Call yourself a ‘traveller’ and the inevitable question that gets asked is “How many countries have you been to?” Travel to me is not a contest of who has the most stamps in their passports or who has had the most authentic …

What does it mean to be a Good Human?

If you are reading this blog post, I think it’s safe to say that you are from a wealthy country and are probably looking to find more meaning and fulfillment in life. Finding purpose and a way to contribute to the world has certainly become the predominant focus of my life. The problem is that I still don’t know what that really means.

What are we trying to maximize?

Imagine that life were a quest to be the best we could be. What would we be trying to maximize?

Despite our actions, I would say that we are not trying to maximize such factors as:

  • number of hours of television watched
  • hour spent behind a desk in a cubicle
  • number of Tweets or Facebook updates
  • how fat we can get
  • total trash produced
  • volume of fossil fuels consumed
  • the size of our house
  • the speed of our cars
  • the number of stamps in our passports
  • the number of marathons we run

Those kinds of metrics seem somewhat foolish to mention as ultimate goals of being a good human, yet those types of activities end up taking a massive amount of our attention. Why is that?

What are Good Factors to

33 Months of Location Independence – A Personal Update

Next February will mark three years since we sold our business and left Japan. It seems like such a long time since we first made the one year plan to change countries and careers back in 2009. Here is an update on what is happening in our lives and some of the lessons learned over the past few years.

Location Independent 33 Months

Travel Plans

Today, we’ll be headed back to Asia for the winter. We will spend most of our time in Chiang Mai again, but also have some shorter trips planned to Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and possibly some other nearby countries. This will probably be our last trip to Asia for a while, as we haven’t been to Europe for a couple of years and we still haven’t made it South of Mexico.

New JetSetCitizen.com Website

This website has finally gotten a redesign. You’ll notice (I hope) that the site is simplified to make it easier to navigate and find past content. It is not 100% finished yet, but I wanted to get it up before I leave. I’ve lost the count of the Twitter shares, but everything else seems to have went well in the migration.

I’ve been blogging for four …

What Are You Fighting For?

So many of us go through life without really considering what will give us a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. We have been conditioned to go to school, get a good job, buy a big house and lots of material possessions. All we have to do is work for 40 plus years until retirement to finally enjoy life.

What if that is not enough? Do your possessions make you happy? Or, do they just take away your time and money from what is important? Personal satisfaction and life fulfillment are not found at the shopping mall or on TV.

In a previous post, I outlined some of the key characteristics of an excellent life. I believe a big part of finding more meaning and fulfillment in our lives comes from contribution. This animation presents a simple question to ask yourself to ensure you are doing what is most important to you. I hope you enjoy it.

If you enjoyed the video, I would love for you to share it on your own blog or through the social media icons on the left.

In the …

What is an Excellent Life?

The current summary tag line of this site is “Celebrating Global Citizens in Search of an Excellent Life.” The pursuit of a better life has been an important focus for me over the last few years, there is an important question which I haven’t really addressed to any great extent –  what is an excellent life? What does it take to be successful, fulfilled or personally satisfied in life?

On your deathbed, when you look back on your life, will you be happy with what you’ve accomplished? That is the ultimate question most of us will ask ourselves. The problem is that the question is too often asked when it is far too late to do anything about it.

The Good Life

I’m a Selfish Person

Travel and living abroad are fantastically enriching experiences on many levels, however, I don’t travel to make the world a better place. I do it entirely to satisfy my own interests.

I also enjoy playing guitar, reading, exercising, eating and other activities that are of no benefit to the outside world. I think that is okay, we all need to follow our own interests and do the things that bring us happiness, but I believe there is …