Society Wants Opinions They Don’t Want

I’m in the car last week with my siblings and we all decided that we wanted Taco Bell.  So, we pulled off at the nearest exit that had one.  After getting back on the road, a few miles later my sister recognized an exit and said, “We should’ve stopped here. There’s more options at this exit.”

There could’ve been 100 options or just 1, it didn’t matter as long as it had a Taco Bell.

That kind of thinking, though, is so typical of our American culture.

We instinctively want more without realizing all we really want is 1 “thing”.

3 Benefits to Driving Slow

Everyone has always said I have a lead foot.  What can I say?  It’s been natural for me, I live in a fast-paced world.

So, when I started reading posts by guys like Leo Babauta, I wasn’t so sure how well I’d adjust.  I’m proud to say it’s been a few months things are great.

Here’s the benefits I’ve found to driving slower (aka “speed limit”):

  1. Stress level goes down and you feel relaxed
  2. No worries about cops
  3. Great on the gas mileage

Try it for a week and let me know if I’m right or if I’m right.

How to Prepare for Minimalist Travel

I’m here in Florida spending some time on the beach with my siblings.  We’re having a great time, and it’s been a great opportunity to implement minimalist travel.

A couple principles to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t bring Justin Case (my flip-flops ended up breaking but I was able to borrow a friend’s, no worries)
  2. Be efficient in what and how you pack

My packing list:

  • 1 shirts
  • Swim trunks
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Running shoes
  • Running shorts
  • T-shirt
  • MacBook
  • iPod Touch

What I wore were flip-flops, khaki pants, and a polo shirt.

Do you have any principles to add?

The Key to a Successful Life

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Buddah

What are your goals in life?  Can you list them right now?  More importantly, are you taking steps to achieve them?

My goals:
– Increase my faith
– Cultivate my relationship with family
– Work for myself
– Travel the world

To say I want to cultivate a relationship with my family and hope it grows isn’t enough.  I have to pull out the calendar and block out a family night.

Tell us your goals.  Let me know if I can help.

A Lesson From “Forest Gump”

I watched Forest Gump (all time favorite) this past weekend.  Not exactly about minimalism, but here’s some lessons I think every person should consider.

  • Integrity is above all else
  • Kindness generates loyalty
  • Your passion for something is what inspires the most (so don’t try to inspire, just LIVE)
  • Never moving up the ladder and enjoying work is better than becoming miserable as a CEO because in the end we all die and all that stuff we accumulated won’t matter.
  • Don’t be quick to let go of an old friendship
  • Be unassuming
  • Look outside yourself and serve others, it’s more rewarding

How to Help Others Make Minimalist-Friendly Choices

We can’t twist people’s arms to become minimalists, but we can help them make minimalist-friendly choices.  Here’s some examples:

Offer to carpool.  It saves gas, it’s green, and it’s a chance to build a friendship (and possibly have some minimalist influence)

Recycle your stuff.  Give your stuff to friends who are looking to get what you have.  You become more minimal while helping them keep from buying.

Host events.  Big events like a BBQ or small things like taking a hike.  After all, the purpose of minimalism is to enjoy life, so let others get a taste of that.

How To Be an Influential Minimalist

As minimalists, we’re passionate about why we do what we do.  It’s only natural that we want to see others incorporate some of our best practices.  Sometimes, though, that passion can come across as a bit over zealous.  But, if you don’t want others to become minimalist, here’s exactly what you should do.

Always talk about minimalism.  Every conversation you get into, make sure to always bring up minimalism, and what you’ve been doing to become more minimalistic.  Post 5 status updates a day on Facebook to let everyone follow your every footstep on your journey.  Overall, let it become an obsession that consume your thoughts, actions, and speech.

Break out the statistics.  If you really want to discourage people from living simply, always keep them up to date on how your blog stats and subscription numbers are doing.  Text your friends, letting them know you just got a whopping 5 more subscribers.  Ask people to refer you on Twitter so you can get more followers.  Oh, and don’t forget to remind your friends to read your new article and comment on it.

Spam websites and inboxes.  We all know how much people hate spam, so send out those mass emails.  Find all the websites out there on minimalism and even the ones that are somewhat remotely related to something about minimalism.  Post those shallow, unhelpful comments all over the web. That’ll surely do the trick.

Tell others how much they need to change the way they’re living.  Whenever you see those cars that are cluttered with trashthe closet full of clothes that could clothe 5 people; the desk spread with papers and all those useless gadgets; the person who pulls out their credit card 5x a day to pay for those non-essentials; all those types of people and more, confront them and let them know that they’re really not truly happy.  Tell them how they’re enslaved to materialism and that they need to become more minimal.  Oh, and volunteer to throw out all their stuff for them.

Spend time on the clock building your online social influence.  There’s nothing that says lack of integrity more than when you spend all your time at work on Twitter, Facebook, and your blog.  Your coworkers and bosses will see a direct correlation to your lack of work ethic and your minimalist lifestyle.  You’ll be looked down upon in no time, and you can bet people at work will steer clear of minimalism.

Make minimalism your priority and neglect friends and family.  You’re passionate about what you do and it’s important to you.  So, focus all your attention on minimalism, don’t answer your phone when friends call, don’t do those simple things like going on a walk with the family because you’re too busy trying to live simply.  When you end up spending time with those people, make sure the conversation is centered on you and your minimalistic lifestyle.

Hope that’s been helpful, let me know how it goes for you.  If you’re one of those people who actually wants to influence people….am I not right?

12 Steps to Sleeping Better

In the past, my sleep has suffered greatly.  I kept waking up all throughout the night, I’d wake up super tired no matter how much sleep I got, and I continually would have splitting headaches from the time I got up that would last all day.  Finally, I was tired of this, so I did some research on how to sleep better.  What I found has revolutionized my sleep since I started implementing these new sleep methods.  It may come as a surprise to some of you, but the amount of sleep you get is one of the smallest factors.  If you’re having trouble sleeping, I hope this is a help to you.

  1. Shut off your computer and TV an hour before bed.  The type of images that those displays put off make it difficult for your brain to shut down.
  2. Meditate.  Meditation helps cool down the engines of your brain.  So, doing some light pleasure reading or praying for 15-20min works.
  3. Take a hot shower. Taking a hot shower immediately before bed helps loosen up tense muscles.  It also raises the body temperature so that when it drops back down, it actually causes your body to relax and fall asleep easier.
  4. Keep electronic devices 3 feet away from the bed. Electronic devices, including cell phones and alarm clocks, send out electronic impulses which affect your brain waves in turn disturbing your sleep.
  5. Wear socks to bed. I know the majority of you are going to hate this one, but it all depends on how well you want to sleep.  Your feet have the poorest circulation of blood which causes them to be the coldest part of your body.  It’s important to have an evenly regulated body temperature in order to sleep more soundly.  Hence, you need to wear those socks.  Don’t worry, you’ll get use to it.
  6. Be consistent. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday.  Being consistent in what time you wake up is more important than what time you go to bed.
  7. Visualize your morning. It actually helps to have positive thoughts about waking up the next morning.  Try to picture your alarm going off, imagine feeling rested when you wake up, and think about some exciting things you’re going to do the next day.
  8. Don’t look at the light.  Once you go to bed, keep the room as dark as possible.  Even the smallest sliver of light will disturb your sleep.  That means try to use the bathroom before bed so you don’t have to go in the middle of the night.  If you end up going at 2am anyway, try not to turn on the light.
  9. Find your sleeping cycle. Our bodies sleep in cycles.  There are multiple times during the night where you’re sleeping deeper and other times when you’re sleeping lighter.  The key is to wake up on your light sleeping cycle.  So, you may be able to wake up easier at 4:30am and feel more rested than you would if you woke up at 6am.  That’s something you’d have to experiment with.  I recommend trying different times in increments of 30min and you should be able to find your cycle somewhere in a 2hr block of time.
  10. Create artificial light. If you wake up before the sun comes up, try to set up something that will automatically turn on light to help recreate the naturally awakening process.  I use my computer which automatically turns on at 5:30am.  There are alarm clocks out there with lights on them made specifically for this purpose.
  11. Use more soothing alarms. The more soothing your alarm, the better.  It’s key to have a pleasant wake up.
  12. Don’t wake up fast. Jumping out of bed like you’re in boot camp can seriously jog your brain and leave you feeling tired and possibly with a headache the rest of the day.

That’s all I’ve got for you.  Saying it’s worked well for me is an understatement.  Let me know what your thoughts are if you try this.  I only ask that if you are going to try it, please don’t leave critical feedback unless you tried doing all the steps.  I’d also like to know what your methods for sleeping better are if you have any.

Getting Rid of Books the Smart Way

I have exactly 325 books that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with.  Goodwill is one option, but I want to make some money instead of just giving away my books.  I’ve been looking at some alternatives, and if you’re trying to minimalize your possessions and books are holding you back, here’s some of the things I’ve found.

Half.com – This is a high traffic site, and it’s especially good for selling used text books.  They take a 15% commission.

Cash4Books – This is an online service that buys your books and pays for the shipping to send it to them.  They don’t pay much for the books, but since you don’t pay shipping, it kind of evens out depending on what you’re selling.

Amazon – Another high traffic site that is great for selling books fast.  They take a 15% commissions plus a $.99 closing fee when you’ve sold a book.  Amazon also offers a service where you send them your books and they endorse, package, and ship your books for a small fee which is nice because all you have to do is send a bulk shipment instead of paying for individual packages every time you sell a book which can get pricy.

Used book stores – We have a huge used book store in Knoxville that buys your books for a decent price.  If you have something like that in your area, it’s worth checking out.

Craigslist – Depending on your area, this might be a profitable option, but if you live in a small town or a place where books aren’t a big market, you probably would be better off trying one of the above options.

Anyone have any other suggestions about being smart with getting rid of books?  If this post was helpful, please leave a comment or tweet this.

A Formula for Minimalism

The Problem

Mankind is wired to conform to the enviorement around them.  So, when you read about guys like Everett Bogue or Leo Babauta, you might feel like in order to be a minimalist you’d have to do what they’re doing to achieve that type of lifestyle.  That’s not true, though, minimalism looks and feels different for each person.  It’s not practical to carry everything you own in a backpack when you have a 9-month-old.

The Variable

The point of minimalism isn’t to get everything you own under 100 items, it’s to get rid of all the things you don’t use or really need; and that’s relative to each person.  If everyone adopted the minimalist life and got rid of most everything they had, there would be no museums, no libraries, and can you imagine a minimalist hospital!?

The Equation

So, in your quest to be minimal, be aggressive in cutting out stuff but don’t be irrational.  Besides, the goal of minimalism isn’t to have less stuff, it’s a lifestyle that enables you to live out your dreams which is a byproduct of having less.  If your dream is to move into a smaller house and have a cheaper mortgage payment, then that’s not going to require you to get rid of as much stuff as if you were going to be a vagabond and travel the world.

My Solution

I’ll be honest, my dream is to quit my day job and take a trip around the world.  So, my life is going to look a lot like Everett’s, but I have library of books (some that are very rare) and a collection of indigeouness artifacts from my travels that I don’t want to get rid of.  My solution is to leave them at my family’s house.

What about you, what are your dreams?  And what will it take to accomplish those?