Friday, 22 August 2008

Want, need and happiness

Marketing guru Seth Godin posted an insightful Blog this week; most of his postings are good - this one spoke to me.

Titled "Destroying Happiness" the short posting questions why, when "most people have a better standard of living today than Louis XIV did in his day", are so many people unhappy?

Seth's response is thought-provoking: "What you have doesn't make you unhappy. What you want does".

Marketing has a role here because new versions of GPSs, bicycles, headlamps, trail shoes, outdoor wrist watches, clothing and other gear are presented as better, lighter, brighter, smarter, warmer, cooler must-haves.

This obviously not only applies to sporting equipment, but also to applicances, homes, furniture, supplements and food (this new rice is lighter, fluffier and tastier than the previous version); any commodity that can be purchased.

I'd even extend this principle to other avenues like where you live, the job you do and sporting results.

Change is good, new is great and wanting more and better is part of progress and advancement. But not every run has to be a high intensity speed session; enjoyment can come as much from a long slow run (something you have and need) as setting a personal best time (something you want).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The difference between greed
and need. All animals have a need to survive. People are distinguished from animals only by having developed volatile and noisily expressed emotions.

Where this was done at first due to need, that has developed into what I call greed. The greed of people is as diverse as there are people. Nowadays, this greed is just about totally for material gain. We do not 'need' much for survival any more.

The intensity of greed varies, but is kept very much in the foreground of people's minds by politicians, marketers and
advertisers (same animal, just different spots). The media, in general, feeds on that - for their own greedy reasons.