How to kill consumer inside of yourself: the experience of the person with money

Graham Hill lived luxuriously, but after a while he realized that in fact, things are only absorbed his life and time.

Often passion for things develops in person during periods of financial distress. But now the situation has improved, there is fixed income, and you can already buy everything. But will it add the happiness? The experience of people who are not limited in finance, says “no”.

Graham Hill – entrepreneur, quite wealthy person, lived luxuriously, surrounding himself with a bunch of all that he seemed to need, but actually it only absorbed his life and time.


Read excerpts from his talk:

I live in a housing space of 39 square meters. I sleep on the pull out bed built into the wall. I have 6 shirts, 10 plates for salads and other dishes. When guests come to me for dinner, I get a folding table. I don’t have the DVD, and the current collection of books is 10% of the original.

I have come a long way since the late 90s, when successful Internet start-up turned to me with a huge flow of money. Then I bought a giant house and cluttered it with things, electronics, appliances, gadgets, organized my own truck fleet.

But somehow all this stuff took my own life, or most of it. Things I consumed, absorbed, eventually absorbed me. Yes, I have not a common life scenario, because only a few people can achieve success even being 30 years old, but my interaction with things – the most common.

We live in a surplus of goods in the world of hypermarkets, huge shopping malls and convenience stores. People of almost any social stratum can surround themselves with things.


There is no sign, which indicates that these things make us happy. In fact I see the opposite situation. It took me 15 years to get rid of all immaterial that I so carefully accumulated, and to start my life with freedom in my soul and with less property. It all started in 1998. My partner and I sold our consulting company for such sum of money as it seemed to me, I would not earn in my entire life.

After receiving this, I bought a 4-stored house. Having been captivated by the consumer idea, I bought a new brand sofa, a pair of glasses for $ 300, a ton of gadgets and CD player and, of course, a black Volvo.

I started to work for a new company, and there was no time left for the house. Then I hired a guy named Seven, which, according to him, worked as an assistant to the Courtney Love. He became my shopper. His role was buying home appliances, electronics and accessories with the camera. He was taking pictures of things that, in his opinion, I would like, and then when I viewed all photos and could chose things for purchasing.

However, consumer drug soon ceased to cause euphoria. I lost interest to all. Brand Nokia did not excite and did not satisfy me. I started to think about why the improvement in my life, which in theory was supposed to make me happier, did not help, and only created the feeling of anxiety.

Life became more difficult. There are a lot of things that you have to watch: a lawn, cleaning, a car, insurance and so on. Seven had a lot of work, and… after all, I had a personal shopper. What happened to me?! My house and my things have become my new employers, and I did not want to be employed be them.

Things were getting worse. I moved to work in New York and rented a large house that was for me a good reflection of my occupation as an IT entrepreneur. The house needed to be filled with things, and it took too much time and effort. And I have my house in Seattle. Now I have to think about these two houses. When I decided that I would remain in New York, it took a huge effort and a lot of flights there-here to close the issue with the old house and get rid of all things that were in it. Obviously, I was lucky having money, but the same problem is common for many people.

The study “Life of house in the 21st century”, published last year shows the life of a 32 families from the middle class. The need to take care of your property is guaranteed to cause the production of stress hormone. 75% of families could not park his car in the garage because the garage was packed with other things.

Our love for the things affects almost every aspect of our lives. The sizes of the houses are growing, the average number of residents in the house is decreasing. During 60 years the space under one person has increased in 3 times. You wonder why? Maybe to keep even more things in it?

What do we keep in boxes when we move out? We don’t know when it is not opened. Interesting trend, that is peculiar to the US. You know that according to The Natural Resources Defense Council 40% of food that is bought by an American, is in the trash bin?

This gluttony leads to consequences in a global scale. Wild consumption is possible due to excessive production, and it destroys our entire ecosystem. The iPhone, which is produced by Foxconn – they are also a cause of terrible changes in the environment of the industrial areas of China. Cheap production neglects any consequences.  Does all of this make you happier?

There is another point – the socio-psychological. Observations of Galen Bodenhausen, psychologists from northwestern University in Illinois, unequivocally link the consumption and abnormal antisocial behavior. Consumer mind is equally negative for a person, regardless of income level.

My attitude towards life changed after meeting with Olga. Along with it I moved to Barcelona. The term of her visa has expired, and we lived in a small apartment and were happy. Then we realized that we do not hold in Spain. We packed some clothes, took needed toiletries, our laptops and hit the road: Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Toronto and many other places. I continued to work, but my office now fits in my backpack. I felt free and completely did not miss my car and gadgets left behind.

Relationships with Olga are over, but my life changed forever. It has less things, I travel easier. I have more time and more money to spend.
Intuitively we understand that the best things in life are not those “things”, but relationships, experience and goals. They are products of a happy life.
I like physical objects. I studied design, I love gadgets, and clothes, and things like that. But my experience shows that from a certain point material objects displace emotional needs that these objects, in theory, should support.

I still businessman and now I am developing thoughtful compact houses. These homes are created so that they can support our lives, not vice versa. Unlikely the 39 square meters, in which I live, these houses do not require large amounts of materials for construction; do not require major maintenance costs, allowing the owner to live more economically.

I sleep well because I know that I do not use more resources than I really need. I have less stuff, but more pleasure. Less space – more life.


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