Zopa is one of the many online money-lending companies that is championing peer-to-peer loans to help people avoid high interest loans from institutional banks and regain financial stability and move towards debt-free living. It bills itself as the Feel Good Money company, and while its focus has been on online lending, it is moving towards becoming a physical bank offering new approaches to banking. The company does a lot of research to determine what people really need when it comes to financial issues and recently conducted a survey called the Ice Cream Index.
Taking cues from social media, which tend to celebrate aspirational luxury lifestyles and living, the company wanted to discover what people really thought would bring them happiness. They asked Britons to consider 100 summertime spends and give them a happiness rating out of a 1000. The scores were calculated against the cost of the items to reveal the list of summer feel good items.
The results were quite revealing and in spite of social media’s obsession with luxury they discovered that people found joy in much simpler and affordable things. Holidays in new York and personal drones were certainly on the list but the top five were much more accessible:
The survey revealed that the main markers for personal happiness were wellness, philanthropy and mindfulness. Wellness and mindfulness feel very now. It’s hard to avoid both topics online or off. Both of them focus on engaged living and addressing the issues and topics that cause anxiety for many people in these uncertain times. Wellness, which is essentially about goal-oriented healthful living, has become part of the language of culture; plant-based diets, exercise, and alternative medicines and therapies are fairly mainstream across the U.S. and Europe. Mindfulness which has its roots in meditative practices has become a hugely important focus for many people. Headspace, for instance, is an online app that provides mediation guides and practices that are stripped of spiritual lingo and presented as technologies to make ones life flourish.
What these results might tell us is that in spite of the relentless march of consumer capitalism, more and more people are actively seeking other ways of making their lives meaningful apart from rampant consumerism.
This bodes well for those of us who are actively seeking ways to engage our world with other ways of thinking and being. Our project on Spiritual Entrepreneurship here at HatcheryLA exists to address the felt needs of 21st century life. A world where many may have abandoned traditional religious notions of the sacred but are still actively seeking understanding about what it means to live well, show generosity, and make the world a better and more hopeful place for all.
Enjoy your summer and maybe take a moment to consider what your Ice Cream Index is and feel free to post your answer in the comment section.