Do you want to be a conscious consumer? Here are the keys to achieve it

Enjoying conscious consumption is possible and makes us better people

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

More and more of us are taking a closer look at the ingredients of the products we buy or where they come from. We are concerned about the violation of human rights or environmental degradation. Awareness is slowly but surely taking hold among consumers. We are in the midst of a major global transformation in the way we consume, led by our deepest human values. Let us become an example to follow.

If we look around us, we can see everywhere that businesses and companies are eager to offer products that are more respectful of the environment, of animal rights, of our health and of other people’s lives. Something is happening. Consumer pressure is evident. Now more than ever, there are demands for kind and fair products at all levels of life. That is beautiful.

It should be cause for celebration, because it is. However, it is undeniable that with humanity’s homework still half done (see poverty, hunger, climate change or the destruction of ecosystems) — to name a few — we still have a long way to go. But like any road, the most powerful and influential step is the first, and that has already been taken by society. Let’s not forget to celebrate it.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step — Lao-Tzu

Consumption should always be pleasant and fun

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Every consumer choice should bring well-being to the consumer. Therefore, the consumer should never feel bad buying. Buying as an action is not in itself harmful as long as it has been exercised from awareness in all its aspects. However, as this is often not yet the case, when we become aware of it, we feel bad. And if we feel bad about buying, how is that good for us and our lives?

It is understandable that people who have acquired a certain level of awareness of the environmental and social consequences of today’s consumption feel a certain adversity towards it. They rightly point out that society’s rampant consumerism is destroying the natural world, creating services and products that are generally of little value to people, and fostering low-quality jobs that violate human rights.

Although it is very important that we never feel bad buying a product or requesting a service, it is true that companies often do not make it very easy for us to discern whether our purchase is consistent with our values and deepest concerns. I have also often found myself playing the role of detective (reading labels, researching the place of manufacture, looking for ethical or environmental certificates…), which should be completely dispensable if the market would be more sincere and transparent and if, in turn, its purpose would be to truly add value to people’s lives.

That extra investment of our valuable energy and time because of our values often frustrates us and makes us feel disappointed. This is how many people refuse to become more aware of the current situation, as they sense that they will have to pay a high price for becoming more conscious. But becoming conscious doesn’t need to be an unpleasant or discouraging experience. Quite the contrary. To become conscious is to become free and, at the same time, to acquire a much more powerful vision of oneness with the rest of the world.

Practical keys to consume consciously and enjoy

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Ask yourself why you want to buy that product or service: Do you really need it? Is it a momentary whim? Do you think it will add value to your life? When I am seized by an impulse that invites me to buy, I always ask myself these questions. If the answer is no, I discard the idea of acquiring it.

Put time and space in the middle of your purchase: Give yourself time. Many times impulse purchases end up being disappointing because we are not aware of what we really want. We usually just want to feel good, and we confuse feeling good with the act of buying. In my case I use the three-month rule. If after three months the idea of buying that product or service is still in my mind, I take it more seriously. Time and space help us to relativize, to take distance and to choose wiser decisions.

If possible, choose face-to-face shopping over online shopping: face-to-face shopping helps us to acquire a little more awareness of our purchases compared to online. The virtual dehumanizes, it makes us dispense with the effort of going to the place of purchase and establishing contact with other people. At the same time, pressing a button is much more automatic, instantaneous and fast and invites less reflection than face-to-face shopping.

Inform yourself about the product you want to consume: without the need to be over-informed or overwhelmed, having some basic notions about the product is important to be free to decide what we want to support. Let’s take a look at the labels to know where it comes from, what ingredients or materials it contains or what is the brand or company that produces it. All this will give us valuable information that will help us to consume more consciously.

When in doubt, prioritize local products from small or medium-sized companies: local products are beneficial for everyone. We promote the local economy; we have less influence on climate change because transport distances are much shorter; we generate less waste in the form of paper or plastic packaging for conservation or transport; we directly support companies whose owners we can meet and establish a relationship of trust and also nurture and preserve the culture of the region. What more could we ask for?

Explore beautiful movements such as minimalism or zero waste: my own experiences with minimalism and zero waste have been very enriching. The important thing is that each person adapts these life philosophies to their own. There is no perfect version. The important thing is that it works for you, that it brings you value and that you enjoy the process.

Emotional keys to conscious consumption

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1. Praise yourself for your efforts: your interest in favoring more responsible products says a lot about you. Actions like yours are what make a difference globally. Remember to congratulate yourself for your work and be less demanding of yourself. The important thing is that you are well and happy. After all, the source of the power of your actions lies in your happiness. Take care of it.

Subtract weight to the goal and focus on the now: many people get discouraged because they try hard to be conscious consumers but they do not see enough results around them and that is discouraging. However, that happens because we focus too much on the fruits of our actions and too little on the action itself. Just enjoy your experience and your contribution to the world and the path will be much more satisfying. The action itself should fill you with joy and delight just for the sake of doing it. That is where enjoyment comes from. Then, when we act in this way, something magical happens: the action becomes much more empowering than when we were blinded by our expectations. Acting becomes extraordinarily easy, it becomes light, pleasant and flows out of you naturally. At least that is how I have experienced it.

Do not underestimate the scope of your influence: every day we have an impact on our surroundings. There is no way we can measure exactly how we influence the world. But it doesn’t matter. We really don’t even need to measure it to know that our influence is undeniable. Use your influence as wisely as possible as in the case of your consumer choices to make this world a better place. After all, isn’t it true that what matters most is how we spend our lives? Could there be a better way to spend them than by doing our best for others and for the world?

Put gratitude into practice: by consuming we enjoy the work and life time invested by other people and the resources generously provided by nature. Even if we pay a price for it, this does not exempt us from being privileged. Is there anything more important and valuable than life time? When we are able to observe this value in things, we automatically become conscious consumers. For we cannot consume in an unrestrained way and, at the same time, admire the value of products and feel grateful. Calmness invites gratitude. And gratitude makes us conscious, fulfilled and happy consumers.

Claiming what is good, just and necessary

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

One area where we consumers tend to fail is in our passivity. We wish to find products that are more in line with our values in our markets, supermarkets, stores or restaurants and we get frustrated when they are not. However, how many times have we asked for more responsible products? How many times have we been part of a wake-up call about respecting nature and every human being? How many times have we contacted a company to convey our concerns about their products or services? And how many times have we praised an owner or a company when we have found good practices or respectful products?

I myself have had to eat my shame in restaurants by requesting non-plastic plates or cutlery, returning unused sugar sachets or asking the bakery clerk to place the bread directly into my cloth bag when no one else does. And I myself have regretted more than once not sending an email to a company to convey my concern about their products, or for things like not conveying my gratitude to a person who altruistically collected plastics in the river. But there is always a second chance. The wonderful thing is that we are always learning. And the next time the moment presents itself we can give a little bit more of the best of ourselves, of who we really are.

So let’s learn to be able to ask for, to claim what we want to see in the world. That which we trust is kind, just and necessary for all. Let us dare to ask, to demand but without acrimony, without judging, without pointing fingers, without the need to look for culprits. And let us celebrate and praise every good deed and initiative that comes our way. Let us do it because it is what we have to do as responsible consumers. Because we don’t know how to live any other way. Because acting in this way has become part of our deepest essence.

Do you want to be a conscious consumer? Here are the keys to achieve it was originally published in Better Humans on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


The Secret To Staying Focused Under Pressure

If you want to be a clutch player, you have to develop this ability to control your focus.

How come every time you find yourself in a pressured filled situation, your mind wanders everywhere but where you need it to be? In these high pressure moments, why is it that you have difficulty focusing?

It’s no big surprise that a lack of focus in anything is going to lead to lower qualities of production. As an athlete, this means the poorer your focus, the worse your performances will be.

But as a high performer, you need to be at the top of your game in crunch time moments. In these high pressure situations, when your team needs you the most, you cannot afford to have your focus disturbed.

Yet, as much as we hate to admit it, focusing and centering attention in such environments is incredibly difficult. That’s why we admire those athletes who seem to perform with full attention, no matter the pressure around them.

We will talk a little more on why that is later in the article. The question I’m sure is on your mind right now is, how can I train myself to focus under pressure?

All you may be missing is a simple tool, a switch in your awareness that could prove to be the key to you finally being able to perform with fully focused attention, no matter how much pressure is on you.

My Difficulties Focusing Under Pressure

I’ve had my fair share of failures under pressure. Usually the pressure was placed on me by myself, though that did not change the hindrance it had on my ability to focus.

I want to share with you a story about a time I allowed pressure to get to me, distracting me from placing my attention on what I needed to in order to succeed.

The story takes place this past summer in Belgium. I was an import on a baseball team there, and our season had been going extremely well. We were the number one seed heading into the championship series.

I was the top hitter on the team. I knew that if I hit well that series, the team would have a very good chance of ending the season as champions.

Up until that point, minus a few weekends prior, I had performed above my own standards. A large portion of which could be attributed to my mindset. Specifically the fact that I was not placing my attention on the outcome.

For years I suffered from the crippling disease of outcome oriented thinking. While it was still a part of me, it had luckily removed itself from baseball and latched onto another area of my life (but that is a story for another time).

Since I stopped focusing on the outcome so much, I performed much more freely and simply enjoyed the game. Joy is one of the leading factors, I believe, to success in anything. Well, the pause on outcome oriented thinking ended.

Going into the championship series, I began worrying about how the games would go, how I would hit, and whether or not we would win. My head was spinning, landing on random areas of focus, all not what I needed to be focused on to actually attain the outcome I desired.

As you can imagine, we lost. Not only did we lose, but I was hitless throughout the whole series. It was a terrible way to end the season, but one that left me with many valuable lessons.

One such lesson being the disastrous effect of losing focus under pressure. But even though I understood this lesson on a macro scale, the micro fact of why I lost focus in the first place really began to lay heavily on my mind.

Why We Lose Focus Under Pressure

What is pressure? In the introduction I said something about how high performing athletes always seem to play with full attention, even in moments we would deem as high pressure.

There are a few reasons for this. One of the main ones, and what helps us to understand why we lose focus in the first place, is some athletes do not feel pressure in the same way.

I know, it can be confusing, especially when we examine the environments they play in, and the amounts of money on the line with their performances. But the truth is, the really high level performers do not feel pressure, or allow it to affect them in the same way as you or me.

So how does this help us understand why we lose focus under pressure? Well, what I’m getting to with this explanation is that pressure is something created within our own minds. No one can physically place pressure on you.

It is a mental state where you perceive the situation to have a lot of meaning. But more than that, you perceive the failure of succeeding in that moment to weigh more heavily than other times.

Ah, and there lies the number one reason we lose focus. By definition, feeling pressure means we are focusing on the outcome. If we are focusing on the outcome, no longer is attention given to the present moment.

The present moment is where your performance is taking place. No matter how much you wish to control the outcome, the only way to actually do so is by letting it go and placing all of your attention on the process in front of you.

It’s okay to desire a certain outcome. Of course you want to play well and win. Going off the example I gave above, when I was playing well, I can’t deny I wanted to win and I wanted to keep performing at a high level.

But the difference lies in our ability to then forget about the outcome come game time. In a high pressure situation, this is often difficult, and by the simple fact that you feel pressure, your mind must be focused on the outcome.

That is why, under pressure, it is so easy for you to lose focus and have your attention drift onto the outcome.

“The present moment is where your performance is taking place. No matter how much you wish to control the outcome, the only way to actually do so is by letting it go and placing all of your attention on the process in front of you.”Tweet This

How Poor Focus Hurts Your Performance

If you’re searching for ways to focus better under pressure, I doubt I really need to emphasize the negative effects poor focus has on your performance. You likely know how a distracted mind inhibits peak performance.

But, if you’re like me and enjoy getting to the nitty gritty reasons behind why improperly placed attention keeps you from performing your best, then let’s get into it. If not, and all you’re after is the solution to the problem, go ahead and skip to the next section.

Not performing well under pressure is a byproduct of deeper issues that arise when you cannot focus. To understand this, we need to take a look at what it actually means to have poor focus. When you say you are unable to focus under pressure, what do you mean?

What we usually are referring to is not technically a lack of focus, but rather poorly managed attention.

Under pressure, as I alluded to in the previous section, our minds drift into the future. We experience pressure due to our attention becoming fixed on and concerned with a certain outcome.

Typically it involves an outcome we don’t want rather than one we do want.

Poorly managed focus is one of the leading causes of most mental game challenges. The reason being, where our attention goes our energy flows. So, if you’re worried about an outcome, that’s where your energy is centered.

This leads to many challenges, as I said, all having a negative impact on your performance. Under pressure, there are three which have the most direct impact on your ability to succeed in crunch time moments.

Fear of Failure: Pressure is there because you think this moment is monumental. There is so much emphasis laid upon this one situation that it grows larger than it really is within your mind. Due to the severity of the moment, failure becomes an even more terrible result than the possibility of success. So, your mind focuses on trying not to fail rather than working to succeed.Anxiety: Coupled with the fear of failure, we find anxiety. The reason these two are so closely related has to do with where they both take up residence. Anxiety, along with fear of failure, lives in the future. The more you fear an outcome, the more anxious you grow trying to force the result not to turn out in a way you don’t want.Low Confidence: When you put one moment on a pedestal, it can easily overshadow you. Now, a situation that involves the same skills and talents every other moment of the game dows, seems beyond your capabilities. As you place more and more pressure on any one moment, you will begin to doubtwhether or not you have the skills necessary to rise to the occasion.

The Secret To Staying Focused Under Pressure

Having poor focus under pressure is caused by wandering attention. In these high stakes moments your mind begins to drift in every which way. Only, it rarely finds itself recentering on the present task.

If you want to be a clutch player, you have to gain the ability to control your focus. This means controlling the attention you give to those around you, the situation as a whole, and more preferably, the task at hand.

When you’re under pressure, turning to the present moment, being one with what you’re doing is a one way ticket to long term success.

Gaining such a skill will allow you to be one of those players you admire. Someone who can center their attention into the here and now, with tunnel vision on what they are seeking to accomplish.

But, as you know, this is not easy. In fact, it will take a lot of time and effort on your part to train yourself in this skill. Though the key word I want you to hold on to is train.

Centering your attention, when under pressure, is something you must train. Tomorrow you won’t be perfect at it, but over time you’ll become increasingly strong in your ability to remove your attention from distractors and place it into the present moment.

How can you do this? By employing a simple technique that brings your awareness back into the here and now, no matter what situation you’re in.

“If you want to be a clutch player, you have to gain the ability to control your focus. This means controlling the attention you give to those around you, the situation as a whole, and more preferably, the task at hand.”

Can You Feel The Air?

To shift focus, there must be something you are exchanging instead of what you currently are focusing on. It’s useless to try and simply not focus on a distraction. All you’ll end up doing is focusing even more on it.

What you need to do is provide your mind with an alternative, something more beneficial to direct attention.

The best technique I’ve found for this is focusing on a sensation.

There are a few different ways you can do this. One has to do with the title of the section. When under pressure, pause for a moment and try to feel the air on your skin. Whether it’s the wind or the air conditioning (if you’re inside), feel it.

By focusing on the presence of air on your skin your mind is directed towards the present moment. Your attention will be briefly removed from the future, where all your worries lie.

Another tactic you can use instead of feeling the air on your skin is bringing your awareness to the sensation of your breath.

Act as though you were watching yourself breath. Feel the air going in and out of your lungs.

Do you notice what both of these have in common? They are removing your attention from the pressure. If you are truly turning your attention to either of these sensations, at that moment you will not be focusing on the pressure you were just experiencing.

The more you do this, the better you will become at recentering your focus when in the midst of a high pressure situation.

Final Thoughts

If you wish to improve your focus under pressure, stop trying so hard not to focus on the wrong things. Yes, we all know worrying about the outcome, concerning yourself with what will happen if you fail is only going to hurt your chances of succeeding.

But the fact is, trying to stop focusing on those things is only going to further you attention on them. You see, even when we try to not do something, our awareness is still centered on that.

So, if you are seeking to not worry about the result, or how you’ll perform in a moment of pressure, you need to provide your mind with an alternative to focus on.

That’s where placing your awareness on sensations comes into play. By bringing your attention into the present moment, you allow yourself to perform free of worries and concerns, and greatly raise the chances of you coming out successful on the other side.

How well do you handle pressure? Do you get distracted easily in high stress situations?

I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you did, please share it with others.

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all that you do.

The Secret To Staying Focused Under Pressure was originally published in Better Humans on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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5 Ways to Keep Making Yourself Better Each Day

Working on bettering yourself is always mind-boggling to sort out where — or even how — to begin. 

That said, focusing on self-improvement can decidedly affect all aspects of your life. It can even particularly assist you with pushing your career ahead. 

In this article, we examine the advantages of dynamic personal development and investigate five manners by which you can better yourself.

1. Read more books

Books are a gateway into the insights and lifelong learnings of the author. They are a great way of broadening your mind and giving you new perspectives. Here are some ways you can read more books:

  1. Read before going to bed
  2. Read after waking up
  3. Read while having meals
  4. Listen to an audiobook while doing menial chores
  5. Join a book club
  6. Set a reading goal on websites like Goodreads
  7. Track your reading habit using a habit tracker

Read more on our ultimate guide on how to get more reading done here:The Perfect Steps to Read More Books
A wonderful tactic to reduce your screentime as well as getting more reading done is to replace your phone with a book…

2. Adopt a new hobby

Even though work and family commitments may take up most of your time, having a leisure activity or two is fundamental for striking a balance between work and play. Hobbies assist you with having some time off from your customary obligations and urge you to learn and develop outside of work.

Consider cautiously tracking how and where you invest your energy. You could possibly join a games group, ace an art form new to you, or plan short excursions with friends to take some time off.

3. Try a new schedule

Taking on another timetable can offer an alternate point of view on how you utilize your time. Reconsidering the manner in which you go through your day and pinpointing your peak productive hours can assist you with distinguishing better approaches to utilize the time you have.

For instance, have a go at getting up an hour sooner for a whole week to save time for yourself to learn, develop and improve. You can likewise permit yourself an hour prior to bed to read or pursue another interest.

4. Set big goals

On a normal day, you may have a list of small tasks to achieve. From showing up working for time and completing an undertaking to dining with your family and figuring out how to unwind together — your to-do list can cover anything. You may even have long-haul objectives like putting something aside for an initial investment in a house or getting away the following summer. To work on yourself, try thinking even greater.

For instance, consider what you need to achieve in the following five years, for example, changing into another profession or starting your own business. Then, set up explicit, quantifiable, significant, practical, and time-sensitive objectives to foster an arrangement for achieving these destinations.

5. Find a coach

Regardless of whether climbing the corporate ladder or pushing your own business ahead, there’s one unshakeable truth: we all need a little help. 

Living your best life requires deliberate self-reflection and nonstop self-awareness. We have vulnerable sides that keep us from seeing the entire image of our lives and the considerations, propensities, and practices that prevent our development. 

Who do we go to for unprejudiced assessment and aptitude? That’s where a life coach comes in. Choose a life coach among hundreds of experts here.


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