Everywhere we look the story is the same: buy and achieve these things and then you'll be happy. But remember, you'll then need to keep getting more in order to stay happy and keep up with your peers. And if they start to get ahead then just keep consuming! On and on we go in a mindless and seemingly endless cycle.
Today the fighting is as intense as it has ever been but it is right at this moment that the war on drugs may be coming to an end. What we are seeing now at the UN in Vienna, over half a century since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted, is the breakdown of the all-important consensus.
Three years ago, a group of school-children scrawled political graffiti on a wall in the remote Syrian town of Daraa. Their subsequent arrest and torture was the spark that ignited the civil war now ravaging Syria and devastating the lives of so many of its 22 million people. This civil war is now thought to have spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
One of the rewards of helping to track global education over the past decade has been watching progress in getting more girls into school. But as we mark International Women's Day, I'm more conscious than ever that the glass is still not even half full: 31 million girls have never set foot inside a classroom, and half of them are unlikely ever to do so.
FGM needs to be put on political centre stage. It needs the hashtags, the likes, the virals to bring the silent suffering of millions out in public discourse. Until such time 140 million girls and women will continue to be told that their genitals have been cut and mutilated to make them "clean" and "beautiful".
The mood, ambition and announcements at the World Economic Forum in Davos has left me feeling more energized and confident than ever that 2014 will be the year when the world can and must come together to meet the growing challenge of climate change and seize the opportunities manifest in a transition to a low carbon economy.
Yes, we need to talk about jobs and growth and inequality, but businesses can't afford to ignore climate change any longer. Business holds many of the technologies and solutions that can create the transformation the world needs. And the business case to do so is strong. Business must now scale up the implementation of these solutions.