April 16, 2006 at 4:48 pm #12828
This is a refreshing article by a Fortune 500 marketing guy who at heart is a Taoist seeking the Simple Life, and true longevity – which is not years lived, but how long, deep, and beautiful each moment is.
Bottom line: don’t sell anything you don’t truly believe in, and don’t buy anything that you don’t truly need.
(Sole exception is my entire DVD collection….:)
ps. note how the writer clevely markets himself throughout the article….
Why We’re Living (Far) Shorter Lives Than Ever, and What to Do About It
by Brian W. Vaszily for http://www.SixWise.com
It’s very sad. We’re living shorter lives than ever.
You are on a path to live a much shorter life than the generations
that came before you. Your children and their children are on a path
to live a much shorter life than you.
Perhaps that contradicts what you currently believe — the big lie
that the big marketers have sold virtually everyone — that we’re
living longer lives than ever before.
Well, here’s a secret my peers in marketing definitely don’t want you
to know: they have wrestled control of the very concepts of “life”
and “living” away from the clergy, artists, and philosophers, and
have successfully reprogrammed what these concepts mean to almost
Brian W. Vaszily
Columnist Brian W. Vaszily (pronounced “vay zlee’) is the author of
several books including the acclaimed novella Beyond Stone and Steel
and co-author of the bestselling Dr. Mercola’s Total Health Program.
He is President of TopMarketingPro, a “conscientious marketing”
consultancy, and has over fourteen years of marketing and management
experience in Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial environments. More than
any of that, he is a father, husband, son, explorer, messenger, and
By their definition, the one they have you believing to their great
financial benefit but not to yours, you ARE living more years than
ever. 77.6 years on average if you are an American.1
In reality — that is, when you step back from your life and honestly
consider it as I will ask you to do below — you probably feel like
you don’t have enough time to enjoy life, to experience the things
that really matter like your family and the beauty of the world and
your hobbies and your spirit. Furthermore, you are probably often
frustrated that, no matter how much you wish to the contrary, it
seems you have increasingly less time for these things.
You may last 77.6 years or longer, but if an increasing mass of time
in those years is spent in anxiety, anger and depression – and many
widely publicized studies concur that these states are at all-time
highs — is that really living?
An increasing duration of years is not the equivalent of a longer
life. It certainly means more time for the big marketers to sell you
more stuff and make more money off of you. But if more and more of
your time and attention and spirit is exhausted pursuing the things
they con you into believing you need — bigger house, nicer car,
fancier ring, higher limit credit cards, more pharmaceuticals,
sleeker cell phone — you can subtract that time from your living.
And so it’s very sad. We’re living shorter lives than ever.
What Life is Not
Please consider these twelve questions:
1. Do you have more free time than ever before?
2. If you have an immediate family in your home, do you sit down
to dinner with them almost every night to savor your food and one
3. Are you reading plenty of the books you’d like to read, seeing
the movies and plays you want to see, attending the museums,
galleries or sports events you want to attend?
4. Why is it that wealthy people and famous people are typically
5. Are you reading this column at a relaxed pace? Or are you
rushing through it — perhaps just scanning it like you do with
almost everything else?
6. Is there sufficient quiet time in your life — where you know
you won’t be troubled by phones, requests, errands, or any other
interruptions — and you can just pray or meditate or think or simply
7. Do you go on plenty of vacations, even if they’re just little
8. Do you routinely take time to enjoy your mornings — to savor a
good breakfast, inhale some fresh air and sunshine, peruse the paper,
chat with your spouse or neighbor?
9. At the end of a typical day of work do you still have plenty of
time and energy to pursue the things you like to do? To routinely
enjoy your hobbies? Pursue your dreams?
10. Do you spend enough time with the people you want to spend time
with, such as kids, parents, siblings, spouse and friends?
11. What are the most wonderful experiences you’ve had in life? Is
your life structured so that it’s highly likely you’ll have more of
Back in 2001, Pitney Bowes conducted a survey in which they added up
the email, voice mail, snail mail, and memos handles by an average
worker — it added up to over 200 per day.2 And oh, how we long for
those simpler times! Considering the exponential growth of the
“wired” and now “wireless” world in those five years since, the
number is obviously even higher today.
Still much more impressive than any big screen TV, but not profitable
(so far.) Perhaps we could beam advertising for Skittles directly
Meanwhile, the United States currently has the least amount of
leisure time of any industrialized nation in the world. And 50% of
U.S. dollars are spent on food outside the home, including fast food
and take-out, more than double the amount versus fifty years ago.3
And 63% of the U.S. preschool population is in regular care outside
the home, over half of these for thirty-five hours per week.4
Meanwhile again, according to Juliet Schor, author of The Overworked
American and Born to Buy, from 1973 to 2000 the average American
worker added five weeks of work to her schedule — – astonishing
considering there are 52 total weeks in a year. This doesn’t take
into account, however, the aforementioned wired and wireless world of
cell phones, Blackberries, email, voicemail, laptops and more that
are keeping people “connected” (i.e., chained) to their work and
“enabling” (i.e., luring) them to work through their “free” time
outside of work.
So my final question to you, question number 12, is this:
On your deathbed, when the realization hits that your life is
quite near its completion, do you think you’ll be wishing you spent
even more time at the office, or that you had a more expensive car,
or that you answered more emails? Or will your mind and wishes go
elsewhere — and therefore shouldn’t you?
How You are Sold the Lie to Sell You Stuff
One of the things I am, as you may know, is a marketer. I used to be
part of what I call the “predominant” or “big” marketing paradigm
that, for the ages-old reasons of power and greed, has now taken
absolute control of most people’s beliefs and habits in American
Though I suspect most people will be slow to accept this fact because
they are mired deep within it, this predominant marketing paradigm is
by far the #1 killer and disabler of our time. It is the root cause
of far more mental and physical disease and death than any virus,
type of fat, or gene. It is even more destructive to the spirit.
Having seen the extent of, and having contributed to, the predominant
marketing paradigm’s severe spiritual, mental and physical
destructiveness, I had a series of epiphanies that led me to what I
call “conscientious marketing.” In part and in brief, this simply
means sticking to the truth to sell honest products.
In part, though, it also means exposing the sinister tricks and
manipulations that the predominant marketers (in business, politics,
and beyond) are using to con you to debt and death.
Along those lines, last week I told you the #1 Real Rule of
Marketing, and here is the #2 Real Rule of Marketing:
Relentlessly remind people of how deficient they are — deficient
in time, physical appearance, or status, for example — and then just
as relentlessly convince them that your product or service can
magically eliminate their deficiency.
Of course the “magic” products and services don’t really work any
magic. Despite sleeker cell phones, faster computers, high-tech gym
shoes and workout equipment, etcetera, etcetera, it is quite clear
that people do not have more free time, they are not less stressed or
less depressed, and they are not healthier. On the contrary.
“Since 1997, there has been a 465 percent increase in the total
number of cosmetic procedures. Surgical procedures increased by 118
percent, and nonsurgical procedures increased by 764 percent.”
— Cosmetic Surgery Quick Facts: 2004 ASAPS Statistics
But the real trick is not the over-exaggeration about yet another
“time-saving” or “appearance-enhancing” gadget, which in and of
itself is Marketing 101 and quite easy for anyone to detect.
The far more sinister trick is how big marketing has focused you and
everyone on certain areas of deficiency (those that are highly
profitable to them) — and not on certain others (those that would
hold more meaning to you, but are not highly profitable to them) —
and thereby reprogrammed the entire value system in our society.
To repeat the idea that launched this column, they have redefined the
very concept of “living” — according to what benefits their bottom
line, at the severe expense of yours.
Prompting you to constantly worry about how you look = big profits.
Prompting you to worry hard about not performing well in bed = big
profits. Prompting you to worry endlessly about not having enough
time so that you spend all your time trying to make more money to
make more time = very big profits.
But prompting you to instead focus your attention on exploring a
forest preserve with your child or grandchild?
Prompting you to shut off your Blackberry and cell phone and computer
and TV for a day or a week and instead savor an old novel or ponder
the stars or have a solitary conversation with God or your neighbor,
or simply daydream?
“I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.”
— Stephen Wright, American actor, writer, comedian
Prompting you to sit down and compile a list of “The Things that
REALLY Matter” to you — the things that, if you were on your
deathbed tomorrow, you would regret not having cherished more, not
having paid more attention to, not having pursued — and then
committing to them above all else?
Those are the worthwhile experiences. Those are the things that the
clergy, artists and philosophers would agree are really living.
But they’re not financially profitable, so you won’t be hearing much
about them from the outside world.
It’s very sad. We’re living shorter lives than ever.
Fortunately, and as you’ll see when you compile your list, you
already have everything you need to make it longer and happier.
Live Simply So That
Others May Simply Live
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