Inspiring Enough

November 21, 2012 8:01 am
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Inspiring Enough

I’m really lucky. Every day, without much thought or effort, my basic needs are met. I get to breathe clean air, eat food whenever I want (and it’s almost always healthful, nourishing, and delicious — although those do take considerable thought and effort), and sleep on a comfortable bed. I am safe walking down the street. I have freedom to express my ideas and opinions. I have friends and family who love and support me. And lots, lots more.

I’m not saying this to gloat, I’m saying it because it’s really easy to forget all of these things. It’s in our natures to become accustomed to whatever level of, well, anything it is that we’re repeatedly exposed to, and to continually re-set that as our “baseline” perspective.

I recently received an email invitation from a public relations company about a recipe promotion for one of their clients. When checking it out, I clicked on a link to the firm’s website. Front-and-center on their homepage is the slogan: “Inspiring consumption, one creative idea at a time.”

Seriously? We really need to hire companies to inspire consumption?

There’s just something downright nasty about the word “consumption.” It implies that we’re never satisfied, that we never have enough, that we’re all just here to take and take and take. Is that the best inspiration we can muster?  Your spirit will be exalted if you just buy/have/eat/do more! …more, More, MORE!

That tagline, with its two efficient words, lifts the veil behind so much of our society’s current perspective on marketing and business. I’m not saying that all marketing,  advertising, or business is awful, mind you – quite the opposite, in fact: I believe that advertising can truly elevate rather than denigrate, when done right and with the right companies.

What’s oddest about this choice of words is that most of the clients featured on their website are growers and suppliers of whole, unprocessed foods. These are normally the PR opportunities I jump at, since they’re real, from-the-ground foods! (I turn down a lot of requests for processed stuff; I’m not quite sure how I got on those email lists!)

So why not say “inspiring health” instead?  (I’m sure the PR pros could come up with some better verbiage, but you get my point.)

This also resonates particularly strongly amidst the onslaught of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” deals already flooding my inbox, creating the nagging feeling that I need to buy more, eat more, drink more, and have more more more to be happy. And all those emails and ads sure aren’t what I’d call “inspiring.”

So this holiday season (and anytime, really), instead of asking yourself, “How much more can I have?”  How about asking, “Do I have enough?”

If the answer is “yes,” then be thankful. I sure am.

Bone for Turbo“ © 2005 Rachel Gardner. Used under creative commons license.

17 Comments on "Inspiring Enough"
  1. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 9:05 am
    John Keogh says:

    Thank you for this! Conspicuous consumption has been the defining characteristic of our culture for pretty much my entire life. It’s the source of pretty much all of our resource problems. It’s why our economy shifted from being production-based to consumer-based (despite the fact that our entire history shows us that a production-based economy would be much better for us!)

    Also – given that it was PR pros who came up with the “inspiring consumption” tagline – don’t assume that they can come up with something better than tour “inspiring health” tagline that you wrote. “Inspiring health” is what you do, in a nutshell.

  2. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 9:21 am
    MJS says:

    Thanks for a wonderfully worded reality check! Much appreciated.

  3. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 9:22 am
    Christina says:

    Perfect post! Thanks for this. I’m feeling the same way about Black Friday/Cyber Monday. There is very little I *need* to go out and buy, but feel almost forced into the shopping ritual just because. But I think this gives me the strength to resist! To stay at home with my family, cook something healthy after a filling Thanksgiving day, and be content and happy :)

  4. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 9:32 am
    Susan says:

    I agree, we don’t eat much on the holidays. We don’t shop at on the either of those we do it slowly. But why are these people letting them be pushed into this, thats what I can’t understand. Its not a struggle to stop going out on Friday, its a good feeling, to just stay home and eat well. But you are so right.

  5. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 9:43 am
    Monique says:

    Thanks for this post. I am so thankful for all in my life and agree with the sentiment here. As a marketer, I think this firm is really doing their clients a disservice and maybe it was just a poor choice of words, but it does send a message.

  6. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 9:55 am
    Julia Marks says:

    It’s interesting that consumption can also refer to a “consuming” disease, that leaves you unable to consume anything.

  7. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 10:01 am
    Johanna says:

    well put. Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm
    Chris says:

    I’ll answer your question very directly: Yes, I have enough, in fact I often feel I have more than enough. With 1 out of every 5 children in America living in poverty, I reflect on what the holiday season really means. While I prepare a lot of my Thanksgiving dishes today, I reflect on those who often go to bed hungry and wake up hungrier the following day. We are so blessed to be able to “choose” to eat in a healthy way. For many, the foods they eat are not a choice but sheer sustainance.

  9. Comment left on:
    November 22, 2012 at 5:27 am
    heather says:

    nice post for Thanksgiving

  10. Comment left on:
    November 22, 2012 at 7:54 am
    Tanya says:

    So true…did I have enough versus how much more can I get! Greed never satisfies!

  11. Comment left on:
    November 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm
    Katy G says:

    My husband and I find it amazing, in our quest to eat unprocessed and organic, just how driven people are to buy cheap food. We want the newest iPhone, the most digitally advanced cable, the car with all the fancy gadgets, but when it comes to how we nourish our bodies…whatever’s fast and cheap is best.

    • Comment left on:
      November 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm
      Crystal says:

      Wow, this is a great comment! The blog post really puts things in perspective, and I love your point! Thanks!

  12. Comment left on:
    November 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Nice to meet you – I just found your site from Jamie Oliver’s weekly e-mails. Love your site and talking about eating real food

  13. Comment left on:
    November 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Once again, thank you! I find your blog to be one of my all-time favorites, consistently. I agree with much of what you say, & enjoy the variety of topics. I suppose if we could find a way to make contentment more financially profitable for some people, it would be a more popular sentiment. Thanks for being part of the grassroots effort to just promote & do what’s actually good for people. My belief is that God rewards stuff like that!

  14. Comment left on:
    November 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm
    Dana says:

    The only thing I need “more” of is time with the ones I love (including you). Thanks for posting this — I couldn’t agree more with your stance on marketing – can be used for good or evil.

  15. Comment left on:
    December 7, 2012 at 4:36 am
    Kay j. Sharp says:

    Well its very true that our economy has shifted production to consumer, because as technology is upgrading everyday simultaneously competition is taking place and there lots of options consumer have in competitive market and because of that consumer can move one product to another similar product.

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