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.
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
It’s What You Do On A ‘Bad Day’ That Matters.
Last Friday was a bad day for me. I woke up late, missed the gym and didn’t meditate.
None of this was intentional.
I then turned my computer on to do what I do every day: blog. I was not prepared for the whirlwind that followed.
As I opened up my social media channels, there were a lot more than usual, direct messages. I started reading each one and they were from colleagues and friends who wanted to warn me that I had a large amount of hate-fuelled comments on social media. I’m usually pretty good at dealing with hate comments. Not on that day, though — I was having a ‘bad day.’
I turned off the computer and didn’t respond to anybody. In the same week, I’d been told I was now a LinkedIn Top Voice for 2018.
I should have been celebrating and I didn’t because I didn’t feel worthy. If anything, I wanted to give up there and then. Luckily I didn’t follow through with any of these ideas. I knew it was just noise in my awful day.
I went away to sit on the couch and think about what I’d just read. Without really thinking about what I was going to do for the rest of the day, I began thinking about my team at work. There were several leadership challenges that I had to solve.
One was from a customer that was being abusive to female staff. Another was a rejection I had to deliver to someone that wanted to work with us. The hardest part about delivering the rejection was that I’d already said yes.
Despite the day being bad, I made a fundamental decision — to keep doing what I do and not stop. I said to myself “How can I inspire people while simultaneously solving both these challenges?”
I’m a big believer that it’s not what you say that matters; it’s what you do. Talk is cheap. I came up with a bold plan to address both challenges.
I was going to do something that made me see the good in the people involved.
Even if the people in both situations had let me down, I was going to assume they were still good.
I concocted a plan to help both people and try and show them a more positive way to move forward. If I break down the plan, it was about being an inspiration in both situations.
I didn’t feel like being inspiring.
It was not the day to be inspiring.
But it was the only way I could motivate myself to finish off this bad day and wake up the next morning fresh. It’s funny how a good nights sleep takes away all the pain and negativity from the day before.
So, by the end of the day, I enabled both plans. I set out to release inspiration in both scenarios and that was my only focus. I didn’t look at anymore hate fuelled comments or go near social media.
On that bad day last Friday, my actions helped me keep moving forward and not give up.
It’s not about necessarily seeing the good in your bad day.
I’ve read this sort of advice heaps, but it requires a lot of willpower.
“Using your actions to make the day better rather than trying to think your way out of your bad day seems to be a lot easier to implement”
It’s not about the bad day.
Bad days will happen.
It’s what you do on a bad day that determines if you’ll feel the full effect of all the negativity that can potentially knock you out like a Tsunami that comes your way when all you wanted to do was lay on the beach and soak up some sun.
I’ve learned to find situations during a day that’s not working out well for me, to do something good, and often that’s not something that benefits me. If I was to look at it another way it would be “How do I not focus on my own bad day?”
Trying to make someone else’s day good distracts you from your own bad day.
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This Is How An Ordinary Person Can Make Their Country Better.
Someone asked on the internet how they can make their country better.
They considered themselves ordinary and felt that they had to be someone special to make a difference in their country, India.
Their question made me feel a bit emotional because I can relate. I too have also dreamt of making my country better.
The most common answer to this question is to get involved in politics.
Many of you reading this find politics really boring including me. I’ve learned through my own experience that politics is not the only way you can make your country better.
Here’s how you can make your country better:
Use your voice
When I was faced with the question “How do I make my country better?” I decided to use my voice.
It was this decision that changed everything. I spent every day using my voice to stand for something. I wanted to inspire the world through entrepreneurship and personal development.
So, I started using my voice by posting on LinkedIn. I used my voice and transcribed it into words to tell the citizens of my country what I think they needed to hear.
Using your voice is incredibly scary at first. As soon as you start sharing your thoughts, many people will say nothing. You’ll get almost no feedback. As your voice starts to get louder over time (probably years) the opposite will happen and you’ll attract trolls and critics.
The hardest part about using your voice is having the courage every day to use it and not being obsessed with the outcome.
By using my voice online through blogging and LinkedIn, I managed to get a 35,000 person bank to start talking about my ideas with staff and customers, and I was voted LinkedIn Australia’s Top Voice that year.
Using the power of your voice is the number one way you can change your country.
It’s in your experiences, ideas and thoughts that you can find what it is that can help your country.
In my country, Australia, we are quite well off, but we still lack a positive mindset. Some of us work jobs we hate and we like things that only money can buy. There’s a competition to get the biggest house or the most expensive car.
It’s not a problem everyone in Australia suffers from, but it’s widespread. I believe by using my own voice to inspire people to seek alternatives, I can change my country.
The results thus far suggest I’m well on the way to changing my country.
Changing your country seems like a huge task. It sounds like something only a Nelson Mandela sort of fella can achieve. That’s not true.
A simple understanding of the power of kindness can change your country.
There was this guy I read about online that changed his country by giving out free hugs because he couldn’t run in the local marathon. He embraced his kind nature and ended up impacting millions of people in his country.
Being kind is infectious because we’re wired to do it. When we see one person be kind, we want to do the same.
The problem in my country (and many others) is that we’ve sacrificed kindness for greed.
We’ve let our country’s economy become the most important factor instead of measuring the way we treat people and the ability of a country’s nation to overcome adversity together.
Kindness is so important because every one of our countries will face adversity, and kindness is the solution to that inevitable problem.
Pick up the trash
This one seems even smaller in impact. It’s not.
I found that by picking up the rubbish I saw in places like my apartment lobby, I was able to show myself that I care about my country.
When we care about our country, we choose to make it look beautiful so others can enjoy it. Something simple like picking up the trash can take you a long way towards helping your country.
Every country has an environmental problem and picking up rubbish can help solve it. If we all picked up one piece of trash, then each of our country’s would be a hell of a lot cleaner.
Don’t think you can’t make your country better
A lot of what I’ve learned, by trying to make my own country better, has come from the belief that I can have an impact.
There are so many people who want to do nothing more than complain which wastes time and energy and doesn’t make anyone’s country better.
The way you make your country better is by believing you can and taking one or two small actions to start the process.
The people that change their country believe they can.
It’s What You Do On A ‘Bad Day’ That Matters.
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