It’s a material world – Have we forgotten the basics?

The reality of the world today is that we have created a more materialistic society. The aim to be better, to have more and to succeed is linked to having bigger and better materialistic items – a new car, a new house, new clothes, new phones, more holidays and the list goes on.

Sale signs in shop windowThere is nothing wrong it! I’m always a person who will tell people to dream big, get big and to drive hard towards success. But there is one important thing that we must do and that is never forget the basics of life, and never stop being humble.

I didn’t grow up in a rich family. Mum and dad had to work very hard to support us children and give us the opportunities we have today. I have tasted success during my career and I am fortunate to be able to provide a modest living for my family. But I sometimes forget about the basics and I become too materialistic.

So on the weekend the family and I drove to Pursat, a remote province in Cambodia to visit some family members in their village.

The experience is one of the most humbling things I have done for sometime. Driving along dirt tracks to get to the village, to be greeted by numerous family and friends all with smiles on their faces. Seeing the community they live in; wooden shacks for the family home, no air-conditioning, no internet, an outside squat toilet and surrounded by the animals that are used by the family to support their existence brought me back to basics.

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Sitting under the house as a group on a woven mat, eating home cooked food; steamed white rice, roast chickens that had been running around the house that morning and a mixture of bok choy and other green vegetables grown in the yard was delicious.

Children playing in the yard,  with no i-pads or mobile phones, instead climbing trees, playing games in the haystack and enjoying each others company brought back memories of  when I was a young boy playing on a friends farm in Australia.

And then to cap it of, my wife and her mother handing out food and gifts to family members and some of the surrounding neighbours. Fresh bread rolls from Phnom Penh’s bakery given to the kids who couldn’t eat them quick enough; mini pizza rolls given to the adults who had never eaten one before and packs of toiletry items given to the matriarch’s of the village – the grandmothers – who had to get to an explanation on what the moisturiser, lip gloss, hand cream and other toiletry items were used for.

The whole experience made me remember that having lots of money, expensive cars, a massive home, iPads and mobile phones are just luxuries that we enjoy and value, but they aren’t the core of life.

I think its very important that all of us remember the basics, remember that happiness, although it assists our end game, is not based on how much money you have or how large a house you live in.

So everyone should get back to basics and have a re-check on what is is needed and what is a luxury.

I guarantee it will make you a better person.