Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Outliers Continued: Redefining Success

A few thoughts for discussion from the blog’s comments and my own curiosity about our society and success.

Someone else asked about success and happiness. It is obvious the subject is much larger than the aspects Gladwell covers but it is a great issue to discuss.

The question of success at the expense of others by people such as Bernard Madoff, or even Carnegie and Rockefeller whom Gladwell discusses in Outliers, is something to think about and a participant has mentioned it. Gladwell doesn’t discuss this in the book because he’s discussing particular kinds of success out of all people who have achieved what society has labeled successful. These type of people don’t seem to have any birth, place, or family advantages as the people discussed in Outliers did but they seem to have another trait in common - greed and a disregard for others.

I propose that in the 21st century our possessions define us and we have to achieve financial success to maintain a level of income, or rather credit, to support our habits. What if we weren’t constantly updating our personal technological devices and equipment? What if most people could only consider replacement when the old stuff completely died and then they had to save or spend savings which would often affect their retirement years? Planned obsolesce has turnover phases of months for some electronics.

Books and TV shows on organizing our “stuff” are extremely popular. There are at least three TV shows that have been running for several seasons and a previous one which ended after several seasons. Could we be happier if we were forced to live lives with fewer possessions and redefine success?

Debbie Pecora


Anonymous said...

Yes. People are being brainwashed to buy things so that they can keep themselves busy and not reflect on their lives.I lived in Seattle in the early 90's, at the start of the Voluntary Simplicity movement. It had a major effect on my value system.

I have read some of the uncluttering books since I have relatives who are packrats and I find them very stress-inducing.I keep thinking that the people featured in the books should just have put their money in the bank. They would have less clutter and more peace of mind.

Tracey said...

Read The urban hermit : a memoir / Sam Macdonald. Extreme but though-provoking.