We don’t like giving up things we enjoy – like that yummy brownie. We don’t like to deny ourselves what our brain associates with pleasure, whatever that pleasure may be. This is why over 90% of folks who embark on a food diet fail. This is also why we feel resistance to traditional ‘sustainability’ advice – travel less, consume less, have less, be less.
It’s not that we’re necessarily against less (less is often more). It’s the self-denial we despise. Naturally and rightfully, we feel it is our right to indulge, to fully experience our desires and not feel bad about it.
So, what if we didn’t have to make any sacrifices? What if we were able to enjoy the ‘guilty’ pleasures and not feel at all guilty about them, because they are perfectly natural and sustainable?
Take the brownie example from the beginning: This Food Babe Brownie, which uses healthy, slimming ingredients, will not add layers of fat to your tummy nor make you feel sick and guilty after consuming it; yet it is even yummier than traditional not-so-good-for-you brownies.
After all, isn’t that what we’re really after: sustainability – the ability to sustain ourselves, the ability to sustain a healthy and vibrant lifestyle? What if we aim to find those solutions that let us have it all... that make it easy to have and enjoy the yummy brownie (like the healthy, organic option above)?
That’s what ‘simplicating’ sustainability is really about. Knowing that it is not so much what we do (like having the brownie) that matters; it is how we do what we do, the intention and attention we give to it. Truly sustaining anything in business or in life requires total fulfillment and satisfaction.
Instead of denying ourselves the brownie that we want (and creating a mountain of resistance), we can create the delicious organic cocoa brownie. We can design a better alternative. Because brownies don’t have to be ‘bad’ for us.
We learn that, yes, we can have it all. And the best part is that we don’t have to sacrifice anything to get there! Because sustainability isn’t really about recycling, and it shouldn’t have anything to do with 150-page reports that no one reads either.
Sustainability is simply about our ability to sustain our lives, which includes a happy, vibrant standard of living – for generations to come, and we need to be smarter (not necessarily thriftier) in order to do that.
It’s about problem solving through good design, and this demands we change our thinking. So...how are you thinking differently?