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Traditionally, society has encouraged youth to seek out a means with which to make their existence, aka earn an income. The rationale has been that producing an income helped one obtain security so previous generations have dutifully obeyed and enlisted in various vocations and careers to achieve this. However, the perspective our current youth have for their existence seems to have changed. It appears as if marketers have taken control of the societal tone because the current messaging has very little to do with a means to achieve, rather it has become more about obtaining goods. For instance, in the past a youth may have expressed, “I want to be a teacher,” whereas it isn’t uncommon for today’s youth to claim, “I want a car,” or “I want to be rich and famous.” There is less thought these days being given to the many dots that connect desire with actualizing. These vital dots may include, employment, a learned skill, relationship-building, strategy and self-discipline, all of which are being pushed to the way-side largely because of commercialism. Literally, our youth are absent-mindedly dropping key developmental steps for the sparkly carrot that marketers are dangling before them. There is little, if any, mention by marketers of earning a means, or self-actualization or developing a skill, which are the avenues by which one gets to a fulfilling life. Youth have become so bedazzled, or shall we say bamboozled, by obtaining products, riches and fame that they have no presence in the present and no awareness of their legitimate emotional needs—a behavioral bubble has emerged and the void it carries has made it difficult for many young people to establish healthy roots. Fortunately for the marketers, less grounded individuals tend to be premium impulse buyers. Our young are marinating in a constant state of lack, which largely explains their difficulty for feeling gratitude and contentment. This is a very destructive bubble that will likely pop when they reach adulthood. Unfortunately by then it will be harder and take longer for them to find their true selves and purpose, which are the keystones to a fulfilling life. If we continue on this path, we will likely see a rise in prescription drugs for depression and anxiety and a pressure increase in societal tension.
While there is an optimistic rise in ethical marketing, the current majority of marketers’ primary goal is to sell goods, not to ensure social responsibility. That’s why we should conscientiously deactivate their current role as society’s primary influencer. The immediate solution for our youth is to unplug them from the marketing messages specifically creating this delusion. That, in and of itself, appears to be a tall order without the support of others. Herein lies a potential role for all of us. We need to agree that behavioral influences designed by commercial forces, for the most part, do not have our best interest at heart. We also need to lead through example and live this message by practicing more prudence in our own consumerism.
At some point in our lives we reevaluate our definition of wealth and discover, with maturity, that it has less to do with gold and fame and more to do with the subjective abstract needs of the individual soul and its relationships. The social parody is that fulfillment isn’t contained in the carrot dangling on the horizon but within one’s own heart. That’s why the further out we go to seek our fulfillment through material goods, the more we risk losing ourselves as well as our way to our happiness. It was Bob Marley who said, ”Don’t gain the world and lose your soul,” and George Carlin who said, “That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
Every generation has had problems with its design and, for the most part, folks turn out alright—even the “get-a-job-any-job” mantra of the past neglected to value self-actualization, which is why retirees hurry to experience what they’ve always dreamed of doing. If you are reading this and are attracted to Shaboo Prints, then you are likely one of the “awake” striving towards quality happiness and fulfillment. Herein lies our society’s hope! It is in you! The happier you become, the more others will wish to emulate your life making you, by default, a leader. Simply by following your own individuality do you become a Pied Piper for others seeking peace!
So you see, it is a significant responsibility to heed the unique message of your individuality, for it is through it that we not only achieve our personal wealth but also elevate the potential in others.