Imagine a life of less stress. Imagine approaching every waking minute with less distractions, clutter, debt and decisions. What if you had more time?
Every decision I have made my entire life was setting me up for the American Dream. I graduated college with honors, took an incredible job capable of easily sustaining a highly comfortable lifestyle, and I bought a four bedroom house and packed it out with all the furniture, electronics and accommodations one could ask for. I even built a bar in my basement. I was doing everything I grew up thinking was the goal, the dream.
Most of us get sucked into the fast paced craze of society and build our lives accordingly. We take the normal steps just like everyone else, but once we arrive to the place that everyone talks about getting to…it still feels empty. There is a lingering discontent and noticeable lack of satisfaction. The relationships we have with our families and friends take a back seat to continuous justification of our lifestyles through material belongings. It makes us feel good to buy new things because that is what we have worked so hard for all our lives….right? We want to feel successful. We want to look successful.
Between work, television, children, cleaning, paying bills, shopping and running errands, there isn’t much time to reflect on how happy we are before the madness starts all over again. It’s a routine that controls us until time runs out.
What if you were more aware? What if you had more time to create meaningful relationships? What if your debt was wealth? What if your life was controlled through intent and passion? Where would you be, right now, if you had the choice to do anything in the world?
I remember thinking as a child that the year 2014 was going to be a huge staple in my life, blindly. Maybe I would get a dream job, or have a baby, or get married. I never knew why my focus was on 2014, or why I had the feeling, but it was real.
This year, I started reading books, listening to podcasts, and indulging in as much information as possible. My addictions transformed from numbing my senses with alcohol and nightlife to feeding my brain with the inspiration and value of others. Because of the kindness of strangers like Amber Ludwig (the first person I ever reached out to), I was confident enough to start believing there was so much more to life than I was aware of.
What I did not know, was that to have “more,” means to start with less.
Less stress. Less distractions. Less clutter. Less debt. Less decisions. Less pouting.
Through The Artrepreneur Now podcast, I have had the honor of engaging and building relationships with incredible creative entrepreneurs all over the world, and I do my best to redistribute the value from each conversation to others. I have started to notice similarities among the most brilliant minds I’ve encountered, and the reason they are successful is not a coincidence.
How do you get rid of debt when you don’t make enough money? How do you clear up time to build better relationships when there is too much to get done? How do you eliminate stress when there is always something contributing to it?
The Answer: Live Simply.
Write down what truly makes you light up inside and be brutally honest with yourself. If all of the furniture, televisions, electronics and other materialistic belongings you have show up on that list: you are lying to yourself.
True happiness and satisfaction starts with loving yourself and emotionally accepting a transition to a life of meaning and passion. To get there, you have to train your mind to think differently than it has your entire life. You have to minimize.
When you have less “stuff,” you have less distractions. When you have less distractions, you have more awareness. When you have more awareness, you pay attention to things in life that matter the most, like forming stronger relationships and engaging in higher levels of creativity.
When you start to combine the engagement of strong relationships with high levels of creativity, you will continuously open up new doors that lead directly to clarity and meaning in life. And, when you live your life with a clear intent, you will undoubtedly discover that the pursuit of happiness you dream of is not only possible, it’s absolute.
Your focus will start to shift from your television and cell phone to the beautiful sunset outside. You will start to engage and interact in relationships to a level inexplainable. Your vision of the world will start to transform back to the big eyes of your long lost childhood, whole-heartedly believing that all dreams are possible, because they are.
Everyone has superpowers. It’s up to you how you apply yours.
What is the one thing you want more than ANYTHING else in the world? Do you want to be a doctor? Do you want to travel the world and work on mission trips to help bring clean water to underprivileged communities? Maybe you want to pogostick across the country in only your undies and tube socks…. 🙂 You can be anything you want, but it all starts with taking that first step toward simplifying and eliminating distractions.
The less you have around you, the more likely you will be to focus on what is most important to achieve your goals. If you build a clear path to your goals with little distraction, you will inevitably succeed because you know where you are going, and there is little or nothing standing in your way. It’s that simple. When you reframe your mind to understand this, and believe it, magic will happen.
Again, it’s not a coincidence that a large amount of the world’s top creative entrepreneurs that have appeared on my show live minimally.
International best selling author and entrepreneur Honoree Corder gave-away and donated over 80% of her belongings and downsized from her dream home to a much smaller place.
“As a family we gave away, donated or threw away about 80% of our belongings. We moved into a smaller place, which has more benefits than I can list and has been one of the best things I have ever done. If I buy one thing, I must get rid of one thing.” – Honoree Corder
Adventurpreneur and e-commerce guru Jason Berwick has a rule that he will not own anymore materials than he can fit in his car, allowing him to hit the road and explore the world at any time.
I was chatting on the phone with international best selling author and top ranked U.S. executive Melissa Krivachek a few days ago when I stumbled across a thought on simplifying and asked her if she had ever tried it.
“Simplifying.. like minimalism? Dude…. I’m sitting on my living room floor right now. People think I’m crazy, but it’s the most effective thing I’ve ever done.” – Melissa Krivachek
Honoree, Jason and Melissa didn’t develop their success on luck, they eliminated distractions, set goals and had very clear intentions on where they were heading.
There are an incredible amount of different ways to approach a life of simplicity, but the first step is committing and getting rid of your first distraction. I’m not talking about throwing away a household item that you don’t like anyway, I’m talking about getting rid of something you may like, but you absolutely don’t need.
I started with cable, then the microwave….then my couch, guest bedroom set, 90% of kitchenware, 50% of clothes, televisions, excess guitars and amps, fish tank, closet and storage junk, and much much more.
The less you have, the less time, attention and money it takes to manage it all. The benefits of this are infinite.
Yea, the first few items were a little hard to let go, but I promise those withdraws disappear in about 24 hours. You will get to a point where you get excited to think about what you can simplify next – it’s almost like a high. It’s the most gratifying thing you will ever feel.
To get you started, I absolutely LOVE playing the minimalism game with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus from theminimalists.com. They literally packed their entire house and unpacked the necessities over the next few days as they were needed, and got rid of everything else. It’s one of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever encountered.
So slow down, cut back, and pay attention to all the beautiful gifts that life offers for free. You will absolutely achieve that pursuit of happiness you once thought was only a dream.
Less stress. Less distractions. Less clutter. Less debt. Less decisions. Less pouting.
More awareness. More clarity. More Relations. More intention. More meaning. More success. More happiness.
I would LOVE to hear about the first thing you get rid of, or the first area you simplify 😉 Or, if you are already living simply, how has it helped you become MORE of the person you love to be.
Leave your experiences in the comments!