Boycott is a word that gets thrown around a lot.
Caution: it may even cause some quiet eye-rolling.
But what should it mean? Surely, with our numbers, we could we do better. Does boycotting really make a difference?
Although necessary and honorable, semi-random small purchasing decisions and sustainability steps here and there probably won’t save the Earth. We must rise above on a bigger level!
Don’t get me wrong. Every forward motion absolutely counts in a huge way! Keep up your efforts- we may not even be here right now at all if nobody were taking any steps. You are awesome for every step you take, ever.
Here’s the good and the bad. We are all ready for more- and stronger action!
But we don’t know what will make the biggest difference. We think we don’t have time, and that we don’t really know how to pull it off, maybe…
Something like a boycott can be nothing more than a romantic notion that feels good and sometimes makes a difference. Or it even can be pretty successful on one specific company for one specific criteria.
We did get Macy’s to stop carrying the Ivanka Trump line, for example. And we exposed and reacted momentarily to Nike and Martha Stewart and countless others for forced labor in sweatshops, and gotten reasonable progress temporarily. But has anything really changed on a large scale? And has any of this helped our political and world situation- and will it? Probably not on this level.
On the other hand, if it’s done strategically, a boycott can actually reach far and wide, creating lasting positive social and environmental change. I think of this as something bigger than a boycott though, because it is deeper in its action, and it tendrils out in many directions to start systemically changing the system at the root.
At the very heart of a successful boycott is self-understanding.
This allows us- as individuals and as masses- to really realize what our true needs are, separate from what the media and our entire social system has taught us to think we need.
It’s important to figure out where our impulses to buy and “feel need” come from, so that we can separate from them and not be controlled by them. If we believe we can’t live without something material or convenient, then it is time to look inside ourselves for deeper reasons why that may be.
To even have the wherewithal to carry through with a really solid boycott of say, a bigger industry, not just Ivanka’s shoes, we have got to understand what emotional triggers cue us to purchase, or feel lacking or scarcity in life. Learning our personal triggers is one way we can become stronger than the consumer/worker system that is trying to keep us trapped.
According to Tony Robbins Research, the drive for all human behavior is to either avoid pain of some sort, or else to gain pleasure.
We seek to gain pleasure or avoid pain in one of four areas: health, love, security, and happiness. These are the innate human drives from which our decisions and actions are made. But most of us have no knowledge of these drives that are dictating our every move, and how they can be used to benefit us, or to steer us into a certain behavior or action.
Understand what makes you tick. The advertisers know this stuff about you and use it to their advantage.
We need to learn this stuff about ourselves, so we can stop being manipulated!
To truly impact industry and our leaders, the commitment to be true to our values and actual needs instead of our subconscious urges must stay
strong. We have to be aware of our impulses and keep them in check- over a period of years and even decades– and continually grow. Knowing the internal forces that drive us to do things, and using them to our advantage as individuals and then as groups, is at the heart of this positive change.
Once you are aware of those triggers that make you purchase, (the avoidance of pain or the gaining of pleasure in health, security, love, or happiness), anything outside of your standards can finally become out of the question for you- no more impulsive compromising.
We must pick our battles specifically and strategically.
We must pick those battles which are the wide reaching root causes. And let us stick to our guns for the long term, in large groups that have massive focus on a specific cause. Frankly, we must pick battles that “kill” many “birds” with one stone.
Again, all of this must occur with lots of repeated, clear, mature communication to companies and powers-that-be about what we want them to do better. We can never become lax on our expectations or our communication of what standards we demand as far as sustainable, ethical products and services.
Once we’re clear on what we do want and why we want it, we can truly start taking action. We want zero forced labor, for example- or gluten free vegan options in restaurants. But this is important: when we do decide to
start saying no to things that suck (aka boycotting), we have got to be committed and calculated.
When we choose to boycott a company, etc, this said “boycott” must include very consistent, open, and clear communication about what is not acceptable in the eyes of us, the consumers. We all absolutely must explain to these powerful companies why we are refusing them, in other words.
Then for the follow-through.
Enough consumers (We the People) must then back this communication up with action! This translates into us all seriously making different purchase or lifestyle choices as an entire lifestyle change, and with commitment over the long haul as previously mentioned.
HERE’S THE THING: We cannot be fickle or wishy-washy. We cannot be “bought back” so easily by these shady companies. We can’t just forget about the boycott and the offense 2 months later and go back to our old habits, feeling defeated, or like we did our part.
We need to choose our battles wisely, then see it through (keep boycotting crappy companies, and support good ones forever) to actually make an impact! And we need massive teamwork!
This incredible forward motion is possible, but it is a bigger process than just saying no here and there, on and off, to a couple of miscellaneous criteria that are trending in the news at that moment. COMMIT, people!
Support companies that are doing it the right way.
You’re still gonna need stuff. You can’t go without everything, and you don’t want to. There are tons of valid companies out there, who are making it their mission to be totally ethical in the making and selling of their products. We must show them all of our attention!
It’s overwhelming to think of doing all the research to find your new brands, but we’re taking care of that for you. Your ethical shopping experience, our GreenBiz Directory, is coming Earth Day, 2018.
To encourage good business practices from all companies, and to reward the best, we must vote with our dollars!
Getting the the government involved…
What does the government have to do with it? EVERYTHING. We have to speak directly to our leaders, and get them to act in the interest of people instead of the corporations. That’s what’s at the very heart of many of these problems.
That means actually emailing, snail mailing, and especially CALLING or even showing up- in person- to the right officials about the right issues, which can be intimidating. There are apps and websites out there that can make this pretty easy, depending on the issue. Search it!
Take a moment to recall that time Subway took a dangerous chemical out of their bread. I have a couple questions. Who made a law that allowed that chemical to be available at all if it was so dangerous? And which places are still using the chemical? Why is it allowed in the first place? And why are even scarier ingredients not even being questioned by these agencies and lawmakers?
We need to change the hearts of the agencies and lawmakers that say these things are ok to start out with. We need to have the government hear us in numbers and make deep change from the inside. THAT is truly getting to the root of the problem.
SO… a boycott is not just a boycott around here.
It’s nothing to be scoffed at. Consumers hold all the power to make these changes. But will we?
For you, it’s really a matter of
1) learning to resist/be with the urge to buy, especially from evildoing companies,
2) refocusing on acceptable brands. There is an ethical alternative for most brands, and
3) communication with unacceptable companies and policymakers.
Even if you only hit 2 out of 3 on the list, stick true to solution #2 and you’ll make the biggest amount of difference with the least amount of effort. Life feels better when you take control of your purchasing and say yes to your morals. It feels light and free. Start by choosing even just ONE item or a company to truly boycott and see how it feels!
All of this takes commitment, effort, and time! It’s all habits that can be made. You’ll find inspiration, motivation, and training on the psychology of building any habit you want… here!
Including access to my popular micro-webinar, called “5 Common, Rarely Talked About Law of Attraction Blocks- that keep sucking you back into old 3D patterns and mindsets.”
Thanks for all your care! You are on the leading edge of this movement!