How Much More “New” Do We Need?

By continually pushing the message that we have the right to gratification now, consumerism at its most expansive encouraged a demand for fulfillment that could not so easily be contained by products.  ~Ellen Willis

I think we have a problem?  And I am including myself in this collective “we”.  Just look at the lines to purchase the new iPad3 and the iPhone4S.  And how about the number of old (and I use the word loosely) cell phones we have in our cupboards.  My family of three have 10 very functional, but retired cell phones hanging about. To be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the old cell phones, they still work, text, receive and send.  But they are not the “new” thing.

So my question to all of us is:  How much more NEW do we need?

My closets are stuffed with dress shirts, all perfectly functional.  But I still wind up buying new shirts.  My wife and daughter have dozens of shoes, but keep buying new ones.  There is something definitely wrong with this picture as it doesn’t seem to be sustainable in the long run. We can’t go on consuming and discarding at a frantic pace.  It won’t be long before the earth is buried under discarded stuff! Did you see the movie Wall-E?  Pretty frightening view of earth.

And it is further fuelled by companies that continually bring out NEW stuff.  For example, for 20+ years I ran in Asics running shoes.  It took me a few times to find the right shoe make and style for my running style.  The shoe model was great.  It fit great and felt good. But the problem with marathon training is that you tend to wear out shoes about every three months.  So, back to the store I would go to get another pair, only to find, you guessed, a NEW MODEL!  It didn’t feel or fit the same, so I spent weeks trying to find another model that worked for me.  In the end I wound up buying three pairs at once so that I could beat the New Model gambit.  How crazy is that?

Ask yourself, How much more new do you really need?  When I answer that honestly, it comes down to not very much NEW is required.  But somehow in our society, vanity and bragging rights have replaced practicality.  My mother used to say:  All things in moderation.  That’s definitely a value of the past!

I am going to become more conscious of being sucked in to the NEW obsessions and see how long I can happily function with my “old” stuff.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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1 Response to How Much More “New” Do We Need?

  1. I don’t think I can throw any stones on this issue. I am certainly guilty as charged. Good post John.


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