I have some terrible news to share.
I recently became aware that the Gizmo-Gadget 3000 is set to be released in 2050. It’s the most revolutionary, life-changing device that will ever hit the market and it makes life so much easier and less stressful. It is a personal home robot that cleans your clothes, cuts your grass, cooks your food, takes out the trash, and spoon feeds you so you don’t even have to worry about using annoying silverware anymore. It even flips the light switch off when you go to sleep so you don’t have to worry about finding your way to bed in the dark. It is the most innovative technology ever to be created.
So why is this terrible news? Because 2050 is a long way away. So until that time, you simply can’t be happy without the Gizmo-Gadget 3000 in your life. Think about how hard life is without the Gizmo-Gadget 3000 right now. You have to do so many strenuous chores around the house and actually clean up after yourself. You have to cut your own grass and take out your own nasty trash.
Ugh. I guess we can all take solace in the fact that we will all be depressed together until it hits the market.
I hope the whole time you were reading that you were shaking your head at how ridiculous it sounded. But let’s take a step back for a moment and re-create this scenario in a different time period.
Imagine it’s 1960 and someone tells you that a device called the iPhone 7 will be released in the year 2016 and it’s the most incredible device ever that lets you play games and talk with people across the world. It even helps you keep tabs on the lives of people you don’t even care about. It’s revolutionary. And since it doesn’t exist right now in 1960 you simply cannot be happy. Life must be so boring and awful without the iPhone 7, you can’t possibly be content until you have one.
This also sounds ridiculous. People in 1960 would call you crazy and tell you that life is actually awesome right now. They would tell you about the incredibly talented bands that exist and the sweet cars they drive and how roller-skating is the greatest weekend activity mankind has ever known. Why would they need something called an iPhone 7 to be happy?
The point I’m trying to make is that there will inevitably be new technology and gadgets that are invented in our lifetime and modern-day marketing tactics will do a phenomenal job of making us all seem like life is pointless unless we possess this new technology. There will be great advances in robotics, virtual technology, solar energy, electric cars, and who knows what else.
But just keep in mind that if you were alive in 1960 you didn’t need the iPhone 7 to be happy. If you are alive and reading this right now you don’t need whatever advanced gadget or gizmo enters the market in the near future to be happy. This might sound crazy, but our happiness and fulfillment in life is not correlated with the technology we own. Our happiness in life is derived from the meaningful relationships we form with people. It’s derived from doing work we find purposeful and impactful. We find happiness in helping others and pushing ourselves to learn and grow and become better human beings. And guess what? None of that is dependent upon owning the latest and greatest gizmos or gadgets.
So don’t be fooled into thinking you’re deprived if you don’t have the latest iPhone or newest model of some car. That sense of deprivation is actually brought about by advanced marketing techniques that all modern companies use to convince you that your life will not be worthwhile until you buy their product. I’m not at all opposed to new technology, I use much of it myself. But I do become wary when people begin to think that their lives lack meaning without the latest gadgets.
The Gizmo-Gadget comes out in 2050, but I would be willing to bet that you won’t need it to be happy.