TED Conversations

Andrew Thorp

Founder, Speakeasy Groups

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Have you reinvented yourself, or started a movement?

Seth Godin, Sir Ken Robinson and Derek Sivers all talk about the potential we have to effect the change we want and start something that attracts attention and gets followed. I believe this too, but I'd love to hear from people who've done it. What was it you changed, and why? What struggles did you have and how did you overcome them? And what lies ahead for you?

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    May 16 2011: I stopped excessive shopping. I realized that it was a psychological form of obesity. I stopped at the market crash in 2008 when I realized that we are brainwashed to spend and consume and accrue debt--I understood the scale of it. Furthermore, that factory workers suffer, the earth is mined and the air gets choked just because of our knee-jerk want for some piece of crap--became a true realization. It was a huge awakening. I am looking for a new economy to participate in that is more sustainable. And now, I wonder what other illusion I might be under and not know it? I tell everyone I meet and they seem to have this suspicion too.
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      May 16 2011: Oh yes. Consumerism is an illness. I've chosen not to have credit cards in my life and I try and be as debt-free as possible. I did an experiment about twelve years ago where I got two credit cards and used them for about a year just to see what it was all about and to make sure that I was making the right decision for myself. I was. Each time that I used them during that year I felt like I was stealing or being somehow untrue to myself. Because I don't purchase, or have the ability to purchase experiences on a whim, I don't immediately get to do a lot of the things in life that I would like, but when some experience does come my way, it's very sweet.

      Edit: I should say that Consumerism is more rightly an illusion that has been put upon us, as I don't want to imply that anyone who shops for anything is ill!

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