Stepping Off the Roller Coaster

This article was
inspired by an idea shared in the book Stolen Focus by Johann Hari. In fact this is my second that followed reading this book.  While I did not agree with all the ideas the author put forward, there were tons of pebbles dropped in my pond - ideas to ponder and see what truth arose for me.  

For several years I
have been feeling our current focus on economic growth was somehow off.  Companies always had to get bigger and make more money, countries always had to have their economic numbers go up. Deep down something about this concept just rubbed me wrong.  

My husband and I talked about it occasionally.  What was wrong with a company maintaining their success, at being good employers and offering their employees a good working environment, a good wage and encouraging them to have a good life outside of work. The focus on always bigger and growing profits often means those very workers are used like cogs in a wheel instead. The need for constant growth leads to stress, swelling work hours, invasive technologies, lack of sleep and bad diets. 

What is mentioned in this book is the idea of moving from a focus on economic growth to one called steady-state economy! What is that? Well here are a few points. It is sustainable, it may not exceed ecological limits, it has a stable population and per capita consumption, and it minimizes waste. This shift would also need for us to look at prosperity in a different way. Here is one suggestion that resonates with me - 

“...We could redefine prosperity to mean having time to spend with our children, or to be in nature, or to sleep, or to dream, or to have secure work. Most people don't want a fast life – they want a good life." - Dr. Jason Hickel, Economic Anthropologist quoted in Stolen Focus

When I look around, I see a world riding a crazy, insane roller coaster. Everyone is working as hard as they can, as fast as they can.  Vacations and down time are infrequent, and financial worries both current and for retirement loom large.  We are bombarded daily with messages - currently the equivalent of reading 40 newspapers.  And in all of that chaos we can lose our focus on what really matters the most. 

I found myself
in that space recently. I was writing, travelling, entertaining company, attending events and generally letting my mind and soul be filled from the outside for months.  Then several deaths close left in a state of limbo, feeling fractured. While I pulled back and worked on self-care, the waves of ideas from the pebbles dropped in my pond while reading this book started to gel.

My focus for the rest of the year is to check in with myself often.  I am going to write a list of ten things I feel define prosperity for me - things I consider make important for my happiness.  If I find myself unknowingly stepping back on that crazy roller coaster and giving up control, I will knowingly and purposefully step off.  I am okay having a full life, I am happy to embrace financial success, but I chose as well for my life to be led by what I feel is prosperity for me - one full of wonder, curiosity, new experiences, time with those I love, and gratitude.

Take time today to shut out the world. Let go of their list of what you should embrace. Dive deep and let your heart speak to you about prosperity, then reflect on the ideas that bubble up.