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How I Spent The Last 3 Years Becoming Minimalist And Why You Should Too

It started after a record few years of earning more money than I could spend.

I accumulated junk and things I didn’t need.

I’d buy ten pairs of black shoes, a new shirt for every birthday party I attended and every piece of audio software that some guy I didn’t know told me to get. It got out of hand quickly. It was a time in my life where I hadn’t begun working on myself and I was pretty down a lot of the time.

Buying useless junk numbed the pain but only for a short while. The lies I’d tell myself about my bad habit were incredible. I’ve been having a serious go at becoming minimalist for the last three years. I actually started a few years prior and ended up having a few false starts.

Here’s how I became minimalist (I’d suggest doing the same if you can):

 

Start with the big stuff.

That BMW had to go. It was taking up so much of my time and money to keep on the road. It was like a screaming child, always wanting something. Unlike a child, I had no passion or drive to take care of this European piece of crap that society told me I needed to be successful.

I put the car online for sale. It was a painful process and every person that came to see it found problems with what I thought was a spotless car.

It was a negotiation tactic and it was stopping me from beginning a new life with this whole minimalist dream.

I ended up selling the car for much less than it was worth. I did the numbers and no matter what, even losing a bit of money on it still made sense. Once the car was gone, the process of becoming minimalist began.

 

You can easily forget how out of control you are.

At the start of this minimalism process I had 4 computers, 5 microphones, 2 laptops, 5 mobile phones, 2 iPads, 2 soundcards, 2 large sized wardrobes of clothes, more than 20 pairs of shoes, multiple spare car stereos, and a whole pile of CDs and DVDs that were overflowing from my draws.

As I read back the list I just wrote, I now see how out of control I was. Oh and I even had an old VCR with heaps of old cassette tapes that I kept telling myself I’d watch one day even though I hate the idea of having to fast forward through in real-time to find out what’s on the tapes. I was delusional about my junk habit, to say the least.

 

Trying to give stuff away is useless.

The delusion that is giving stuff away is why you are still not a minimalist. The key lesson I had to learn time and time again was to stop trying to give stuff away, Some of the stuff I wanted to chuck out was valuable to someone, somewhere.

The trouble is that it’s hard to find the right person, at the right time who may have the space for your item. I thought about all the time wasted giving stuff away. I thought about the effort it took to deliver my junk to people’s homes. I thought about all the space my junk took up in my life.

 

It just wasn’t worth it. If you are serious about becoming minimalist and the benefits that come with this lifestyle, you’ve got to marry the idea that you’ll need to throw things away.

 

Not used it in 12 months? Chuck it.

This question sent my minimalist quest into hyperdrive. When I looked at how much stuff I had that in some cases hadn’t been used for more than 5 years, I figured out that these were things that I should discard. We tell ourselves that one day we’ll use a particular item.

That one day never comes and these items become a burden the longer we hold onto them.

 

Support charity where you can.

You may be reading this blog post thinking “Who is this a**hole who’s so disrespectful to the environment?”

Well, you’d be wrong. I did consider the environment and people less fortunate than me. Where possible, I gave away lots of clothes, shoes and electronic items to charity. If you want to be minimalist, then I’d strongly urge you to do the same.

The cool thing is you get to clear out your junk, feel good, and help someone in need. There are just so many good reasons to become minimalist. Jump on the bandwagon!

 

Get some external motivation.

While going through the journey of becoming minimalist, I coincidently interviewed a blogger named Joshua Becker. He runs a blog called Becoming Minimalist. Joshua taught me so many awesome little hacks to clear out junk and he changed the way I was thinking about material possessions.

 

It’s not just the physical junk.

I was trying to be the next big music producer before my minimalism quest started and so I kept buying more audio gear. I somehow thought that the more gear I had, the more cool sounds I could create. The trouble was I always had to learn how to use new gear, so I never mastered one instrument or audio effect.

Meanwhile, back in France, Daft Punk would brag about how old their computer was and how they always used the same small number of instruments. No wonder they had such cool music.

“Daft Punk went for minimalism that led to mastery, while I was dabbling in being a master of everything”

 

The other point to consider is that junk is not just your material things. We also collect digital garbage now as well. I still have more than 10 TB of data to sort through. This excess storage on our computers slows our operating system down, makes it hard to find stuff and requires us to keep buying more storage.

Having lots of data also makes it difficult to back stuff up because storing things in the cloud becomes an expensive pursuit for a data hoarder.

 

Some of us like the idea of becoming minimalist but never do.

Is that you? It was certainly me. Having dreams of taking action is what’s holding you back. It may be affecting more than just your goal to get rid of junk. Don’t think about taking action: commit to it.

Here’s how:

Aim to throw away one piece of junk every week.

I did this little hack and it’s how I’ve now been able to free up space in my life for things that matter.

 

Minimalism allows for more of the good stuff.

Once I had heaps of room from clearing out my junk, I noticed my mind was less busy. One of the key pieces of junk that was very hard to throw away was my old Mac Pro computer. I kept telling myself I may need it in the future even though my current Mac laptop is more than good enough.

I’m dumbfounded at how much time I would spend every day thinking about whether I should throw out my very old 2009 Mac. Finally, I got pissed off. The thinking time wasted on this idea could be used to do other stuff. Ultimately, what convinced me to throw it away was the time I’d get back to keep blogging for all of you.

Having space in your home and mind allows you room for the stuff and ideas you actually want in your life. You feel so free when you get to this point.

 

It’s a long journey.

Keeping junk out of your life becomes the next challenge once you are free of all of your garbage. Every holiday I go on I’m tempted to collect souvenirs I’ll never look at again.

“Every trip to the shopping centre makes me feel like a gambler trying not to place a bet”

The temptation at these giant concrete shopping centres is to buy more clothes, more shoes and more things that will supposedly make you happy.

I’ve learned through minimalism that less is more and that’s what leaves me space to be happy. I can’t be happy when I’m simultaneously pissed off with all of the junk in my life.

 

Junk sucks up our time and that’s the one thing we should never waste.

Do you want to waste time thinking about and maintaining your junk or would you prefer to live a life where you have room for what personally matters to you?

Not being minimalist is costing you more than you think. It’s leading you down a path that makes other people big profits while keeping you both broke and with a mind not focused on your goals.

Get a divorce from the material world. Marry the empty space of what you love instead.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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There are strategies which bring together all happy and successful people who can also use them to improve the quality of your life. Usually when you want to change your life, you don’t know where to start and you risk losing the motivation because you don’t know the best strategies to apply. To change your life forever you have to change yourself. If you want to achieve extraordinary results, you must become an extraordinary person. (more…)

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How Writing For 1000 Days Straight Made Me A Real Man

Writing was never my thing. I didn’t think of it as an art although in school I was told I was good at it. I never believed this compliment ever.

For more than 1000 days straight I’ve written consistently. While on holiday in San Fran, New Zealand and Japan I wrote. Waiting at the doctor’s office, I wrote. In line at the local vegetarian burger joint, I wrote. The things I’ve learned from writing have changed me from a spoilt little kid, into a real man.

Writing for 1000 days straight taught me:

 

Writing is my therapy.

My mentor Joel got a bit annoyed at me one day because he saw a few swear words in a blog post I published. I quickly realized what I’d done and then it came to me: I was swearing because it was how I released my frustration.

“Instead of seeing the Instagram culture and wanting to mass murder people like they do in America, writing was the channel I used as my therapy”

By writing about the things that upset me, I somehow felt less compelled to be angry at the world.

 

I found that my problems could be a source of inspiration for others.

You may not believe me but now I actually look forward to having problems.

Problems are what give me the fuel I need to write. Every problem becomes a solution for all of the readers that sit down and absorb my writing. Writing can inspire others and that’s what has helped me become a real man.

A real man, I believe, does things for more than just himself.

 

It taught me to stop chopping and changing.

I used to be a kid and would always throw in the towel when my passion or hobby got hard. Instead of pushing through the pain I’d just start something new. Writing made me a man by helping me realize that mastery and sticking at it is the real magic trick.

 

Happiness can be found in the strangest of places.

My dad was a writer and I always thought it was dumb. I never thought I’d ever do it myself. Doing something for more than 1000 days straight teaches you that you can find happiness in places you’d least expect. Try new things, find something that feels cool and stick at it.

 

It doesn’t have to be a book or blog.

Some days when I’m busy, I count my writing as inspiring emails to fans that can help them. Other days it’s replying to comments that people leave on my social media. We can fall into the trap of believing that writing only happens when it’s in the form of a book or blog post.

Let yourself off the hook. Write whenever you can and stop being so hard on yourself. Writing is writing chief.

 

Energy will determine the outcome.

I used the following to get more energy:
– On writing days I would sleep more the night before
– I didn’t drink alcohol on days where I planned to write a lot
– I drank mushroom coffee (recommended by Tim Ferriss) for a quick fix
– I ate energy-rich foods like fruits, veggies, and the odd avocado for brain power

“If you’re a sleepy zombie then you’ll never be able to find the energy to keep pushing through all of the hurdles you’re going to encounter with writing or any pursuit for that matter”

 

The power of a deadline.

Here’s an awesome little hack I used. I’m the biggest procrastinator you’ll ever meet. If I have all day to write, then I’ll spend the last hour before dinner writing if I’m lucky. What I did instead was book in social catch-ups, trips to the cinema’s, outings with the girlfriend and anything I could that involved other people.

This gave me a perceived sense of urgency and a deadline I couldn’t miss. What’s funny is the tighter the deadline, the more productive I became. Here’s what’s even crazier:

The blog posts I’ve written, that had the tightest deadline and the least amount of time to write them, have been my most popular.

Over thinking kills creativity and so does having too much time to fluff around. These deadlines have allowed me to produce lots of writing that have contributed to me becoming a real man.

 

Writing has uncovered raw emotion in me.

Raw emotion has changed the game for me. As I got past the 10-day mark, I stopped giving a F more and more. This brought out raw emotion in me that couldn’t be faked like an Instagram filter. It’s this raw emotion that got me more readers and allowed me to make a bigger difference in the world.

There’s something about someone who makes the bold decision to wear their heart on their sleeve. Writing heaps forces you to think deeper and to dig deeper every time you sit down at the computer.

Writing for more than 1000 days became like a game to see how much I could learn about myself. The words began to paint a picture of me that I had never seen or even dreamt of.

“These words that became pictures redefined who I was”

I used these pictures to become a new man and one I could be proud of. I want you to discover raw emotion for yourself. I want you to paint beautiful pictures with words that come from deep inside of you.

 

Just get started.

There were days when I couldn’t be bothered writing. I found that once I got started, the words would pour out of me. It was as if the words were dying to get out of me some days. Instead of giving yourself excuses, don’t try and have every day be the day you produce your best work.

Some of the blog posts I’ve written I thought were barely okay. These same posts have been highly shareable more than my so-called serious stuff. 1000 days of writing teaches you to disconnect yourself from the outcome and focus on the practice itself. Discipline has made me a real man.

 

You must like the topic.

I tried writing about stuff that people told me too. I found myself hating the process every time. Have a list of suggested topics that you’ve come up with and then write about the one that makes you feel good at the time.

 

Make it up as you go.

I invent words all the time like self-disrupt, fakepreneur and too many other ridiculous ones to mention here. I break grammar rules to suit myself and to make my writing easy on the eye. What will separate you from everyone else is when you decide to make up the rules.

It’s easier to be different than it is to be a better writer, or saxophone player or artist. A rule forces you to conform to everyone else’s expectations. What made me a real man was discovering the power of my own creativity and not listening to all the hype out there.

There’s a lot of noise and people that will tell you they have the secret chicken sauce. They’re selling lies to you to benefit their own selfish goals.

Be you and make up the rest as you go.

 

Reading fuels your creative brain.

I get asked all the time “Tim, where do you get all these writing ideas from?”

I wish I could tell you that I was some idea factory that could mass-produce amazing writing pieces. The truth is I’m not that smart. In conjunction with writing, I’ve also been reading like a KFC junkie addicted to hot sauce.

Books have opened up my world to what’s possible. Books have helped me see things in my life that I had previously ignored.

“Books sold me a truth that I couldn’t get from the Internet or TV”

Every word you read get’s stored in your computer brain and can be recalled later on without you probably even realizing. Reading has taught me the lessons that have made me a man and a blogger.

 

Authenticity and transparency, plus brutal honesty, is where it’s at.

In the beginning, I was a bit of a pussy. I hid parts of myself and didn’t tell the full story. In the first 10 days, I tried to be brutal. By the 1000th day, I had enough practice and had seen the audience react enough, that I showed everything in my stories. No detail was left out.

People read my stuff because they know it’s authentic and real. I’m brutally honest and not afraid to make fun of myself. I’m not afraid to admit that I too have once been a self-obsessed, immature, coward too. It’s okay; we’ve all been there.

This brutal honesty helps you be honest with yourself too. Through these honest moments, you learn a lot about who you are and who you can become. I think real honesty helped me become a real man. A man I can be proud of.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Many solo entrepreneurs make good six-figure income living selling products and services online. If you’re a technical person, it’s even better, as you can create a highly-scalable cloud-based business. For non-technical founders, there are still many ways to make a six-figure or, even, seven-figure annual revenue. (more…)

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It’s time for some good news! You’re only ever lacking in three areas and guess what? You can turn those 3 things around relatively easily and quickly! (more…)

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