Commerce-centrism has done a real number on us. Upgrade is now the new new and any minor change is considered worthy of being called an upgrade. It’s the magic word in marketing. If we don’t upgrade, we’ll be left behind, out of the loop, forever catching up. Like everything new, it has to be better, no? Too often the upgrade move is simply sideways or at other times it’s merely more—more features, more options, more money—a new label, new packaging, new interface—but after all the reshuffling we’re left with the same ol’, same ol’.

The unfortunate side effect to all this nonstop pushing to upgrade is that we get habituated to it. We find ourselves feeling obligated to upgrade. It becomes an incessant, irrepressible urge. Like Pavlovian dogs we salivate, our eyes dilate, our pleasure neurons fire reward signals at the thought of upgrading, and we rush out to buy it, again and again and again.

Audio forums (among others) are awash with people asking about upgrading something in their systems. When reading them, my mind floods with questions. What are you unhappy with? Where’s the weakness? What should be fixed? Unless there’s something that needs improvement and you’ve determined precisely what that is, what’s the point? Getting beyond change for the sake of change and separating the real from the superficial takes time and attention, otherwise we’ll end up spinning our wheels, chasing our tails and draining our back accounts.

Remember the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden? Here’s one : Stop, Look & Listen.

PS The previous post from 13 december, “Fear & Conviction,” vanished during a WordPress update. Oh well.

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