The Third Turn

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Personal Leadership: Getting rid of the consumerism paradigm

Posted by Aurora Rogers on Feb 26, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Most discussions I hear around consumerism are about finances, time management, or relationships, but I think our lives, not just our livelihood, are at stake when consumerism infiltrates our paradigm.  

Why? Because making the acquisition of a product the solution is a dangerous path. It puts too much power and hope in the item, and not enough potential or aspiration on the person. Products are tools, not solutions. They are someone else's invention, but cannot guarantee innovation.

When shopping for that illusive product, check the packaging closely. You might not only find a "No batteries included" disclaimer, but there might also be operating system requirements. That product will require a certain level of capacity, a set of skills, as well as determination and discipline. Without them, the product cannot perform the promised results.

And let's be real. Product are overrated.

I believe most of us turn too quickly to a product when we should turn to a person and a process. In reality, anything worth having requires a process.

For example, let's say that what you seek is knowledge. Information is the product. But the information is only going to become knowledge through a process where it can be applied, tried, and tested. The experience of information can over time become knowledge. 

When you and I misplace the role of products and continually rely on them as solutions, I think these are some costly consequences:

  • Relying on a product as a solution stunts creativity. 
  • Relying solely on a product as a solution paralyzes invention.  
  • Relying on a product as the solution handicaps innovation.

And without the drive to create, invent and innovate, there is little room for collaboration. 

The heart of the matter is that some products elevate individualization. Left to ourselves we drift towards isolation. People and processes lose their seat of influence in our lives.  Relationship-based communities become weaker or extinct.

One of the greatest enemies to our growth and success is avoiding internal resolution by relying on external solutions. 

Product-centered solutions can and will rob you of your potential if you let them. Our thoughts and creativity become consumed with ways to acquire a product that we've deemed the solution. If we don't guard our priorities, question our intentions and quantify our expectations, we can be caught in a trail of never-ending dissatisfaction chasing after the next exciting thing that promises results. 

We allow ourselves to be convinced that a tool will fix our problems. Our time is wasted wishing when we could already be acting. We could instead use that creative energy to explore more sustainable ways to solve our problems. 

Allowing ourselves to have the freedom to think outside a product can mobilize us into action.

Where do we start? A good first step is to tap into our own history and find ways to repeat past victories.

We want sustainable improvements to take place. Therefore it is essential to take time out to celebrate and acknowledge our accomplishments if we want to maximize working with our strengths.

Have you taken the time recently to assess the best decisions you've ever made? Whether big or small, all are worth noting.  

Here are some questions to consider:

1. What is your greatest asset?

2. What has brought you the most significant breakthroughs?

3. What is the most profitable investment you ever made?  

Take time to identify the Why, Who, What, When, Where, and How. Understanding your unique process for selecting and executing solutions is the key to repeatable success.  

You may find more often than not that you don't need a product. What you need is a process. Submitting to a process is not always an instant or short-term solution, but it fosters creativity, invention and innovation. These can bring sustainable and lasting change.

Products can deliver superficial results. The impact is tangible, but sometimes it is just shallow. And what we really want, what we long for, goes deeper than that. Beyond a feeling of present improvement, I believe we seek knowledge, inspiration and empowerment. 

Raise your standard. Hold on to your vision. Invest in a process that delivers more than temporary gain. Motivation lasts only a season but discipline can last a lifetime.

Is it possible you may already have the history, process and resources in your hands to creatively start (right now) overcoming the problems and challenges you face? What are some different avenues to reach the end result that you want? With hope in the right place and a little help for direction, your breakthroughs may be closer than you think.

  • Have you purchased a product only to find out it didn't solve your problem... it only brought distraction and delayed true solutions?
  • When was the last time you chose a solution-based process over a product?

I'd love to hear from you.




Topics: organizational development consulting, leadership development, Design Group International, organizational design, leadership paradigm, personal leadership


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