Buy Nothing Day is this Friday. Lifehacker did a post on it; there were some interesting commments. Here's mine:

Buy Nothing Day is simply a sanity check. It is a reminder that we don't--or shouldn't--need *things* to be happy. It is a reminder that mindless, excessive consumerism is not good for an individual or for a family, and should not be the primary basis of an economy. The idea of the "door-buster"--of getting people hyped up into a rabid state of intense desire for bargain-priced goods that they may or may not need--is reprehensible. We should be embarrassed by the froth coming out of our mouths.

For the record, although I am an individual with decisively liberal moral values, I am very much pro-capital. I enjoy making money, saving money, investing money. I love to buy nice things from time to time. But I don't go crazy. I take public transit instead of driving. I try to leave a small footprint, to live well below my means.

There is a burgeoning underclass in this country that is becoming completely trapped by the consumerist culture we've created over the years. Our buying patters, our city-building patterns, our dependence on the car, our expectation for an ultra-high standard of living (compared to the world as a whole)--all these factors (and a few more not mentioned) are eliminating the "middle class" and creating a poor, work-until-you die-class, and a middling-affluent work-until-you-die class. Of course in the top percentiles of society are the ultra-wealthy. Why are we moving in this direction? No one is to blame. Everyone is to blame. A consumption-dependent economy is part of the problem.

*Trade* always has been, and always will be, a part of the human condition. But we must stay sane. We must not behave like rabid dogs. Shun the door-buster. Embrace Buy Nothing Day for its symbolism alone, then learn from what you've done, and let that lesson manifest itself throughout the entire year.
On using peer pressure to motivate yourself: Ideally, we want to be centered enough not to need the eyes of others to keep us moving toward our goals, or to "do the right thing."

But hey, none of us are perfect, right? So a small, temporary dose of peer pressure might be a good way to kick us back onto the path toward personal accountability. Then, as quickly as possible, we must wean ourselves of this technique, and again rely primarily on the strength of our own conscience and drive.

Peer pressure is a dangerous substance, and is best kept contained in a small, tightly locked box.
On saying "yes" more: The idea of more frequently saying "yes" acknowledges the notion that the universe is an abundant place, that there are opportunities for those who are receptive (and perceptive), that one should go with the flow. Saying "yes" can be a way to break out of an imprisoning, monotonous routine.

However, saying yes too often can whipsaw you around, make you lose all your money, and leave you dead. In my business, I have personally observed several very successful individuals who say "no" much more, at least one hundred times more, than they say "yes". But many of their yeses have won big, because they were entered into carefully. Once they found something that was a "yes", they took it all the way...

How about we say this instead: "Be open-minded about, but carefully scrutinize, all opportunities, ideas and decisions that you encounter. Then, if you find something worthwhile, say 'yes' and give it all you've got."