Yvon Chouinard is the founder of the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia. At 74 years old, he has a wealth of wisdom and business experience that can be learnt from.

We recently found a great piece on Good Magazine that outlined the Six Things they learnt from Yvon Chouinard, which in summary really comes down to being a little more aware of the knock of effects that all actions have on your world. The modern world is geared around consumerism, which is precisely what is destroying the environment and society. The system rewards imbalance – it’s not healthy and certainly not sustainable.

It’s better to buy one good quality product that you really need than loads of crap that you really don’t.

So those six things are:

1. Optimism is a waste of time

In the [United] States, I think saving the planet was number 19 on peoples’ priorities, and now I hear its number four again. Number one is personal security. We have a nation of… scary people. Look at all these conservatives that want to arm the whole country. They want to be able to walk in restaurants with their guns and that’s because they’re cowards.

Every empire collapses. The American empire is probably on its way to collapse now. Nature doesn’t like empires. It doesn’t like accumulation in one place, it doesn’t like monoculture. It’s always trying to make diverse species. It wants to spread everything out. And we’re constantly trying to hold everything in.

2. Keep it simple

One of the things I really believed in is the idea of simplicity, that life should always be moving towards more simplicity rather than more complexity. And when I see somebody, you know, riding a finless surfboard and surfing better than 99 percent of the surfers out there, I think, “This is fantastic. This is the way to go.”

3. Climb every mountain

There are climbs I’ve never attempted that I wish I had done, particularly in the Alps. I used to climb in the Alps a lot. You know, like the north face of the Eiger? I wish I had done that climb. To me it’s kind of personified everything that I really like about climbing. I have regrets about that, but as far as the failure, I don’t look back very much.

4. Cheaters never prosper

We all want to cheat. In climbing, there are so many ways to cheat. You can do a route that’s been done 50 times and all you’ve got to do is follow the chalk marks that tell you exactly where to put your hands and feet. I can’t stand to do a route like that because I can’t stand to have people tell me what to do.

5. Consumerism is killing us

The reason why we won’t face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It’s not the corporations out there, it’s not the governments—it’s us. We’re the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff, and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible.

6. “Slow” travel is important

You remember the trips that lasted for a long time. The way people do trips now, they take a week, they go to Europe—you don’t remember those trips very much.

Read the full article here.

In the spirit of these six points – check out the film Worn Wear [below] a film about the stories we wear, presented by Patagonia.

Related books:

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years

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