Is it all in your head?

My epiphany was more of a realization of how we adopted ideas about the more we have or consume the better life will be. I realized that one of the common factors, when you break it down to the basics, that all of the other blog topics is the underlying part in the consumers conscious informing them that the faster and need it now complex as well as the more the better is a common mentality. As I reread past articles and such I began to connect the dots beginning with apparel factories having to produce large quantities at affordable prices to the empathetic design theory getting to the root of how to get the consumer not to go through clothing or products so quickly. All break down of these problems lead back to satisfying the consumer that continuously needs new things fast and now.

After reading Durning’s article it all became clearer to me. How can we possibly aim toward a sustainable future when the consumer’s mindset is on a totally different track entirely? What I understood from Durning is that happiness is not related to the amount of consumption in the sense that more consumption equals more happiness. I believe though that in the event the rapid growth of consumption continues then happiness as well as wellbeing is almost guaranteed to decrease due to the disappearance and destruction of our environment. We are constantly taught and introduced new ways to facilitate and, dare I say, short cut daily activities. I have noticed advertisements almost always use some sort of technique that implies or even goes right out and says that their product can decrease time spent on certain tasks or even propose cutting out steps in between. These daily activities not only include cooking meals or interacting with others, but I have observed it in the way people come up with solutions as well. For example in school students have began to read spark notes instead of the book rather than using that resource as a tool to better understand the reading. These short cuts and half-hearted executions in life are what are leading to the need-it-now mentality.

Honestly how can we have expectations of consumers to just choose the more sustainable option when that option might not fall into the mentality that each generation is being brought up with? The only way I see a sustainable future is getting through to the consumers way of thinking.

This information that I have come to realize is useful and relevant to me in the fact that I finally feel like I know where to start in my personal quest to reach for sustainable practices. Beginning with changing, or attempting to influence, the thought process of consumers we can alter what goes through their mind and choose correctly it comes to making more sustainable decisions. What I have learned will allow me to adapt my own way of thinking in order to effectively be proactive with the other solutions I had previously not been able to successfully implement as far as sustainability goes.

By learning what I have this week, I definitely will be able to apply this to my future especially as a designer. By adapting my techniques for advertising I can allow a chance for my consumers to break from the paradigm associated with fashion and the generational need-it-now mentality. I believe what I have learned can be affected by face-to-face interactions and allowing personal connection to occur is also a strategy to be implemented in the future in order to influence the alteration of the consumers thought process. This will definitely help, especially for implementing an effective empathetic design approach. These adaptations in my strategy, I feel, can be an influential solution to moving forward in sustainability.

My whole epiphany revolved around getting a better understanding of the consumer. Using this knowledge to better reach a solution that may be more successful. In order to be more successful in obtaining a desirable and more sustainable future we need to be able to convince this generation of fast pace consumers to slow down and actually think about how products can suit more than just speeding up a process or short cutting. What I would really like to know more about are the methods we can employ to reach the consumer and portray this information. Not only portray it, but how can we influence them to change their thinking? It has already been proven that people and their relationship with change is not always a positive one but there has to be some sort of small steps we, as producers and designers, can do to influence this paradigm shift. All I want to know is how.

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