The definition of a meme based on the Urban Dictionary is as follows:
Meme – an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media).
Culture has been created and oftentimes transmitted historically through storytelling. That used to be done sitting around a fire listening to the elders or leader of the tribe. Nowadays with the ubiquitous nature of technology and devices, we have all become storytellers. There are, however, professional story tellers- we call them marketers. Other storytellers are those individuals who through either hard work (producing results), talent (a specific proficiency of a skill), or simply obtaining massive amounts of attention (think Kim Kardashian), have developed an audience with which to dispense their stories. These stories consist of all types of things such as what success is supposed to be like and look like, how men are supposed to be, how women are supposed to be, who is dangerous and who is not, what are the best ways to practice business or invest your money, etc.
An extremely powerful meme/story that is currently pervasive and persuasive in the growth and development field, and culturally for that matter, is the following:
Success (defined as monetary or financial success) and the accoutrements that success affords (nicer cars, bigger houses, fancier trips) is the answer to all your problems and will lead you to eternal bliss.
Thinking bigger and consuming bigger are the same thing.
Gurus skillfully dispense this meme to “upgrade, upgrade, upgrade” and that to not do so is a sign of weakness and complacency.
It seems as though the definition of success according to these gurus is to be wasteful. That is to waste a) resources like money or life energy (because you trade time for money) and b) the world’s resources for your own personal desire to gratify your ego.
Essentially, this is to be a poor steward.
On a planet that is being rapidly depleted of its resources and with a population that is exploding, this meme is not only irresponsible, but dangerous.
I have seen countless times that individuals who adopt this meme and practice its tenants, often develop the following symptoms:
1. An inability to deeply appreciate what they already have.
2. A fragile financial situation that is easily broken and damaged with the slightest change or interruption.
3. No retirement nest egg or very little.
3. The measuring stick of life becomes their ability to consume at higher and higher levels.
4. High levels of stress and anxiety produced by an obsessive need for more.
5. A self-esteem and self-worth that is in a constant state of crisis and jeopardy.
6. Finding themselves perpetually dissatisfied no matter what the level of consumption.
7. Completely missing that if they would do the opposite of this meme, (living well within their means and saving and investing the difference), in a very short amount of time, they would own their time and be free.
What are your thoughts? Are you operating under this meme? If so, what is your experience? Where in our culture (i.e. movies, music, social are you seeing this meme perpetuated)? Have you been doing the opposite and building wealth at warp speed?