We continue our interview with Mark Bickerstaffe on ‘Mastering Moments’.
Earlier with talked about a counter movement to time poverty. Could you elaborate on that?
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) said (in his novel The Sun Also Rises, 1926) ‘I can’t stand it to think that my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it’ and Kanye West (b1977) said (in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel on US TV, 2013): ‘I refuse to follow those rules that society has set up and the way they control people with low self-esteem, with improper information, with branding, with marketing. I refuse to follow those rules. It’s about truth, it’s about information, it’s about awesomeness, and the only luxury is time, the time you spend with your family.’
As Hemingway and West put it – it’s all about time. The ideal time investment, hence, is to pursue experiences. Is this a trend? How do we notice it?
We realize that more money to have more things does not mean more happiness. So, we are starting to reject acquisition of stuff and focus on the pursuit of experiences that are more ‘worthy’ of our time and effort. Shutting out the noise is part of an effort to refocus on what matters. To enjoy an experience rather than have it go by in a blur.
What your saying is that the motto should be: ‘It’s doing what I want when I want. Luxury is not material’ as Jean-Marc Jacot, CEO Parmigiani Fleurier – a famous watch brand -, said it recently?
Yes, according to Deloitte who surveyed 7,700 millennials in 29 countries, 84% of them believe it is their duty to change the world. To this end – millennials aren’t looking for a higher salary – 50% would take a pay cut to work for companies that share the same values as them.
Another study by Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than material things.
And the San Francisco State University found in 2014 that contrary to expectations, most people are now seeing life experiences as a better use of money than material items because of the direct link to happiness.
That is a lot of research suggesting that time is of the essence. Are we going to view ‘time’ differently than in the past? Is there a new way to live our lives?
What we perceive as precious is not time in general – but the point in time – the moment – that is ‘Now’. So, people are trying to reevaluate – to lose the baggage of the past and the fear of the future to live more joyfully in the present. To make conscious choices about what that present feels like – choosing to be surrounded by beauty, and by the exceptional rather than the mundane.
Cultivating luxury is about helping people find time to feel alive. This isn’t about epiphanies, but the kind of everyday pleasure in living and being that makes a brand luxurious.
Certainly, you will have another interesting study that illustrates this point fully?
Yes, of course. In a joint 2016 study by UCLA and Wharton School, published in the Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, across all demographic groups of 4,400 surveyed Americans a consistent relationship between choosing time over money and happiness was found. The respondents who indicated the strongest preferences for a time were also the most happy – i.e. the more people preferred time over money, the happier they were.
That means ‘time’ makes us happy not ‘money’. So, the more time we have the happier we are going to be? Or is there more to the commodity ‘time’?
I think we can all relate to the idea of a ‘Soul Moment’. Rather than having time to use for the sake of it, we think that the human experience in that time – when the mind is clear and present – is where the magic happens. Where we are in touch with ourselves and the environment around us. Gracious living is about ‘reaching the soul’ in these moments – The bathroom, for example, can be a place of personal escape and respite. We want to help people make time to find and cherish it; enjoy the space to breathe. In this time people can nurture their outlook, vitality and potential.
The ‘seek the moment’, isn’t that what everyone is talking about? Isn’t that an alternative worldview and a bit removed from today’s realities?
While meditation may still be seen as an alternative, mindfulness has come into the mainstream. This is reflected in the mindfulness mega-trend in publishing where despite fewer titles selling on other genres, reading that offers a path to spiritual growth has risen by 13% in 2017 according to The Guardian. Mindfulness has brought along a number of related trends in its wake…that have refocused lifestyles away from consumption and towards approaches to living. For example Hygge, Lykke, Lagom. Clement Knox, Waterstones‘ nonfiction buyer, explained that ‘they are all about developing mindsets and attitudes rather than simply buying a new way of life’.
In the same interview, Knox stated that ‘mindfulness really broke down the barriers between self-help and mind, body, spirit’. So, this mega-trend is only for avid readers? Or are there other ways to find the ‘soulful moment’?
Also consider new products and services such as Calm by Candlelight, launched by Virgin Active Feb 2017 combining yin yoga with relaxing lighting. In the US MNDFUL is a new brand that provides optimal meditation studios to enable ‘humans to feel good’. Since opening in 2015 the brand now has three sites across NYC. Online, multi-platform brand Headspace has captured the attention and loyalty of a user base looking for meditation that brings a mix of eastern philosophy with scientific research – flagship app has garnered 11 million users since its launch in 2010.
Are there any easy ways, if we are not diving into meditation, yoga, and other practices just yet to get in touch with ourselves?
Consider one or two moments like this when you were at your happiest. What do you notice? I’ll bet that few of those thoughts centered on objects. Many of these moments will center on places and people. Pretty much all will be remembered for the pleasure of feeling safe, calm, comfortable, engaged, and open. Consciously alive.
Continue reading to learn more how ‘soulful moments’ are applied to our design philosophy…