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In the most recent issue of Porter magazine, cookbook author and philanthropist Jessica Seinfeld shared her golden rules for life, and one especially caught my attention: Elevate the Quality of Consumption.
Since January here on TSLL, on a monthly basis, the focus has been to discuss a different arena in life in which to welcome in more quality. And upon reading Seinfeld’s simple, but significant approach to living well, I want to investigate further into the areas of life in which we consume and how we can indeed elevate the quality thereby elevating the overall quality of our everyday lives.
The étoile in the cookbook world and food journalist Mark Bittman, shares in his TED talk “What’s Wrong with What We Eat“, the power of eating mindlessly what is cheap and too often easily accessible. Much of what you will read/hear in his talk may not surprise you, but it is important to point out, not only does our food have an effect on our overall health, but the environment’s health as well.
Recently in my AP Language course, we analyzed two documentaries: Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In. Both directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, both focused on the cultural, detrimental influence of our American media culture and how the projections of limiting expectations and pigeoning-holing what it means to be feminine or masculine for both boys and girls as they begin to step into a world and reach their full potential is disastrous. And it is the unconscious complicit perpetuators of these restrictive false definitions of what it means to be a man and what it means to be feminine that inflict injury on innocent children and squash the potential of every individual and consequentially the potential of the culture in which we all live.
I encourage you, after viewing the trailers below, to watch both of these films. Available on Netflix, awareness is key. Lack of awareness of how we individually buy into, even support images, traditions, ways of living that hurt our own dreams, let alone those we love, blossom in the world. And while media (television, film, video games, television news, etc.) play a significant role in exposing us to the point of acceptance without conscious agreement, it is when we don’t recognize how we as well have limiting cultural expectations and therefore hinder the progress to shift the culture for the better, that we assist in building the most significant obstacle to change for the better.
3. Reading Material
A handful of months ago, I changed the subscriptions I have to a long list of magazines. I began to recognize that some of the magazines I read didn’t provide value, insight, or knowledge that was enabling me to live my best life. Many of the magazines I canceled my subscriptions to were fashion magazines, magazines full of trends, a constant bombardment to buy more, and a focus on primarily the exterior of the individual. I instead kept my in-depth news magazines, magazines that offered inspiration to eat and live better as well as offer inspiration and profiles of beauty.
Each of us will define differently what we view as inspirational and beautiful, but just as with food, what we feed our minds, just as what we feed our bodies, is reflected back to us in what we value, what we invest in, and what we choose to focus on. So why not ask yourself, What do you want to bring into your life? What do you value? and based on your answers, seek out publications that support your ideals.
When it comes to looking well in my clothing and my skin, I would never neglect choosing well-tailored attire or pampering my skin in order for it to glow, but once we figure out how to do these things, why not make these beauty and sartorial choices a habit, the background, so that you can then allow your mind and intellect to shine. And how we continue to develop our wealth of knowledge is to continually feed it the proper fuel.
Let’s talk about Wonder Woman, the recent film released two weeks ago, for a moment. As I shared in last week’s This & That, the director Patty Jenkins along with the film itself set box office records and continued to do so over this past weekend. What she and the film did was shattered long-held perceptions of what people will watch (women and men; boys and girls).
For quite some time, the belief in the movie industry was (and some still adhere to this) the goal was to entice boys age 18-29 to the theaters as there was no need for enticement for women as they would go without prompting. And how do you entice the majority of American young men? I doubt I have to answer that for you, or at least what the movie producers assumed. But this approach was also a reflection of the movie and television conglomerates being chaired and run by primarily men.
Here’s my point, ticket sales determine what will be produced in the future. What you pay for, what more and more people pay for is what will be brought to the screen. Small independent films or mega summer blockbusters, go support plot lines with substance, go support characters, protagonists, conflicts and how they are resolved that align with your values. Purchasing power is just that, power. So use it wisely. And if you can, do so on the opening weekend as that tends to be the numbers Hollywood pays attention to.
Are you a TEDTalk aficionado? Do you take free online college classes at Coursera or edX? What about book talks at your local bookshop or reading opinion pieces from a variety of different credible newspapers? Exposing yourself to a variety of ideas from people with wide ranging expertise is way to elevate the quality of information being consumed in your life. If you only hear from the same, small, isolated group day in and day out, you limit the opportunity to broaden your perspective. And of course, no matter who you are listening to, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even if in the end you find you agree with their arguments and findings, asking questions will only heighten your understanding and appreciation for what you discover.
The nay-sayers, the negative nellies . . . walk away. Anyone who brings you down with their mood, their words, their perspective of the world, limit or completely remove the time you spend with them. Positive energy is just as infectious as negative, so step out into the world and find people who enliven you, make you excited about the day and the world you live in.
7. Natural Environment
Fresh air, Mother Nature as opposed to fluorescent lighting and smog. Do what you can based on where you live and work to bring more of the former into your life. Not only will your health improve, but your attitude and your energy followed by your perspective will as well.
8. Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
Buy less, invest well. Cost per wear. As shared in this week’s episode of the podcast, Kate Schelter reveals we truly don’t need much. Rather it is about knowing ourselves and shopping wisely, therefore, less often, but well.
Ultimately, we elevate the quality of our lives when we become educated, conscious and conscientious consumers. Often it is because we simply didn’t know that poor purchases were being made. Choose to become informed of what surrounds you and what you are supporting with the money you exchange for the goods you put into your body, your life and fill your mind with. When each of us do this, we then become a model for others as they will begin to notice an improvement in our lives and wonder exactly how we do it, why do we do what we do and perhaps the shift we are seeking to materialize eventually will.
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