January 2013 started off for me with a digital purging. I went through my email and deleted a ton of messages. I unsubscribed from at least 200 email lists I had knowingly and unknowingly signed up for and systematically filed everything I wanted to keep into folders. I was left with only 6…
“Selling spectatorhood is pretty easy. It’s safe and fun and easy. You hit the remote. You pretend you have power—the power to turn it off, to change the channel, to buy or not to buy. We’ve seduced the masses with a simple bargain, and even permitted the role of the spectator to move into the work world. Most people, most of the time, are told to watch, not to lead, to follow, not to create.”—Seth’s Blog: Watching is not doing (confronting the spectator problem)
“The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.”—Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed | Thought Catalog
Many years ago, a 10-year-old boy walked up to the counter of a soda shop and climbed onto a stool. He caught the eye of the waitress and asked, “How much is an ice cream sundae?”
“Fifty cents,” the waitress replied. The boy reached into his pockets, pulled out a handful of change, and began counting. The waitress frowned impatiently. After all, she had other customers to wait on.
The boy squinted up at the waitress. “How much is a dish of plain ice cream?” he asked. The waitress sighed and rolled her eyes. “Thirty-five cents,” she said with a note of irritation.
Again, the boy counted his coins. At last, he said, “I’ll have the plain ice cream, please.” He put a quarter and two nickels on the counter. The waitress took the coins, brought the ice cream, and walked away.
About ten minutes later, she returned and found the ice cream dish empty. The boy was gone. She picked up the empty dish—then swallowed hard.
There on the counter, next to the wet spot where the dish had been, were two nickels and five pennies. The boy had had enough for a sundae, but he had ordered plain ice cream so he could leave her a tip.
In a world that tells us to “get all we can,” every so often it’s good to be reminded to “give something away.”