Welcome to the show everyone, thanks for joining me!
We’re on episode #9 of the Tasty Dangerous Podcast.
I hope you’re having an awesome day… and well… if not, something we were always told in the military is “false motivation is better than no motivation maggot”.
Little bit of sunshine for ya there.
I’m pumped because today we’re talking about Minimalism and Freedom of thought.
I’m not referring to the art style of minimalism, though I do appreciate it.
What I am referencing is specific to minimalistic living and even more so combined with travel and adventure.
Designing a lifestyle that’s focused more on experience and simplistic living rather than acquiring things.
It’s incredible how much freedom of thought and movement is realized the more you reduce your consumer footprint.
I’m not gonna get all holier than thou and start preaching down at you from a soap box.
At least that’s not what my intention is.
Rather, I’ll share a bit about my own experience on this journey into minimalism and what it has afforded me.
I’ll also share some of my difficulties and the truths of trying to live a minimalistic lifestyle.
However, before I jump into the episode I’ll do what I always do and share a quote that’s influenced this show in some capacity.
Todays quote is by Jackie French Koller and reads as follows.
“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.”
Say what? But I want all the things you say!
Gadgets and gizmos, lasers and light sabers!
So this episode came about because we’re headed into spring in the states.
I’m from the upper midwest and it’s been in a deep freeze for the better part of the year.
What tends to happen around now is the weather gets warm enough where people start having their garage doors open during the day.
The interesting thing is you’ll see cars parked on the street or in the driveway and garages packed with things instead of cars.
Lots of things.
Many things that are just collecting dust and being saved for the off chance they’ll be used in the future.
Now there are those things that homeowner need that assist in maintaining the property like lawnmowers and yard tools.
I’m not talking about this stuff.
Also, there are some things that are the luxuries that enrich our lives.
These are what we use as humans use to define us and our personalities.
Who doesn’t like a nice car or some new clothes?
Some luxuries are always nice….but again, that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m referring to the lawn darts, the mascot costume and frogging spear that haven’t been used since the few years just after they were purchased.
Lets be real, these things were pretty awesome while you used them, but only for a while until you picked up a new hobby or hurt yourself while using it…
Probably shoulda taken some lessons in handling swords before you started attempting to cut watermelons in half in the back yard
The vintage Braveheart sword was a heck of a black Friday deal, but the 47 stitches across your forehead didn’t help your savings much.
Ok, I’m being ridiculous, but ya’ll know what I’m talking about.
I had quite a few things of my own that I had to slowly let go of, one such example….
I had purchased some scuba equipment as I was on the last leg of my Open Water certification and almost immediately after the purchase I smashed my clavicle into pieces in a mountain biking accident.
I had about 6 months of rehabilitation and all the training I had done lapsed, which meant I needed to start all over again.
By that time it was into late fall or early winter and in the midwest… this meant no more outdoors open water certification classes… which are mandatory for the PADI open water certification
The following spring came around and I had new priorities with starting a business… the gear just sat for a season…. and then another.
My biggest problem with hunting for new experience is that when I find something enjoyable I like to be fully invested.
This requires a lot of commitment and it can be difficult to just dabble in terms of equipment.
With climbing there’s ropes, quick draws, harnesses, shoes, helmets and belay devices.
Mountain biking has the bikes, helmets, shoes, pumps and repair equipment.
Fishing is rods, reels, lures, tackle boxes not to mention boats and trailors..and that’s just summer gear
I’m not even going into what’s required for winter fishing in the upper midwest.
I’m sure people wanting to get invested in an activity is why many people build up quantities of things.
It’s letting these things go that can become an issue.
If you look around online you can find many scientific journals and articles that link this notion of stockpiling or hoarding to a primitive instinct.
Back in the day… like waaaay back. Think loin clothes and wooden clubs.
As a species if we were to come across anything that could be of use for survival we’d gather it so when it was needed we’d have it.
Without going into detail this is an element of our evolution as a species that’s leveraged my marketing and consumerism… for real y’all.
Consider how many hasty purchases you’ve made because there was a sale… you never knew you needed and had to have it… until you saw the sale.
From that point you just had to bring it home.
Something that’s helped me not stockpile too much stuff is I don’t have a house with lots of rooms and a garage…. for better or worse and I’ll get to that.
The problem though…
Life gets busier and more complicated the older we get and we have to start prioritizing what’s important.
More adulting has to take place and this is coming from a dude that has no kids.
To all the family peeps out there that are able to maintain at least one hobby, you have my utmost respect.
From most of the folks I know that have kids, especially younger kids, it sounds like it’s nearly impossible to make time and have the energy for the hobby.
Also, those of you who manage multiple hobbies throughout the seasons and have all the things, kudos, you get a gold star and a pat on the back!
This isn’t for you.
So yea… hobbies and things, it adds up.
This is for those with the things and stuff just collecting dust.
Those of you who see the piles of things and feel deflated at the thought of having to move it one day.
That feeling of exhaustion is what reduces your freedom of thought.
The piles of things also reduce your freedom of movement.
However, when you consider bagging some things up to donate or consider a yard sale you can’t bear the thought of letting it go.
I know this feeling myself because a few years ago I had started to compile many things.
I was quite a few years into a corporate position living in a large two bedroom apartment and finding the more room I had the more stuff I found to store in it.
Also, the longer I lived in one place the less I thought about the effort it would take to move the stuff.
In all fairness, a big consideration for me is I enjoy experiences and search for new adventures regularly.
I find learning new things a big challenge and that challenge is a huge part of what I’m always searching for.
Whether that’s academia, athletic activities, mental conditioning or other.
I love adventure and for me a big part of that is exploring and trying new things.
If you haven’t done so already, check out episode 4 of the Tasty Dangerous podcast where I talk about adventures big and small.
There are a lot of different ways to go on adventures and they don’t all require piles of equipment or plane tickets.
I digress… so my problem.
I guess in some ways you could say it’s just time management and needing to be more realistic with my goals and aspirations.
This is something I’m still figuring out and having left corporate and started on my own journey of building a few businesses I’m getting a crash course in this.
In fact…Episode 1 goes into significant detail regarding goal setting, plans and taking actions.
It’s something easier said than done, but with a decent road map it’s totally doable.
For me the process of building piles of things would typically go as follows.
I find something that interests me and think, I’m going to learn how to do that.
Whatever that thing is, I attempt to fit it into my week somewhere between work, painting, skydiving, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, fishing, travel, relationships… you get the idea.
I can imagine this is a big part of why many people end up with so many things piling up that are no longer relevant.
All this said, some of the biggest negatives of having many things is the realization you’ll eventually need to do something with them all.
The idea of moving suddenly takes on a new level of stress.
The thought of making space becomes a massive undertaking the longer all the things are left to build.
The potential of letting stuff go hit’s us in a primitive manner and makes us question how we’ll survive if we let go.
The sense of guilt ensues in terms of how we’ll feel if we let it go and in a few months we need it again.
Consider this quote by Tom Robbins.
It really illustrates an aspect of consumerism I think many are aware, but tend to overlook the significance.
It goes like this.
“Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.”
I don’t think this quote is a shot at anyone in a negative manner.
Rather it’s more of an awareness of culture and habits.
I’m speaking in terms of US consumer culture.
There are definitely a number of other societies that fit into a consumer culture, but I’m not the one to tell you which ones they are.
Some of the difficulties of living a minimalistic lifestyle can be tough to accept as well.
Many years ago I graduated college and got the corporate job I had trained to get.
However, when I graduated college and started getting a salary I didn’t increase my spending habits
I didn’t buy a new car, I just kept driving the old vehicle I had.
I spent the next 5 years paying off student loans.
A small portion of the money I was able to save I spent on travel.
I also made a concerted effort to build a savings to position myself to be able to pursue my own business as well as travel after leaving corporate.
So this is an illustration of 5 years of my life and some of the difficulties I faced with a minimalistic lifestyle.
I wasn’t purchasing lots of clothes or nice things.
I had to forgo a number of luxuries to become debt free.
Some of the other difficulties came with reducing my footprint included letting a lot of things go that I felt strongly about.
The scuba equipment I mentioned earlier was some of those things.
However, if you want it bad enough you’ll find a way….
I’m actually gonna be going scuba diving in a few weeks from now on a fun dive here in Thailand and will just be renting the gear necessary.
I’ve been learning it may not be necessary or even a good idea to go all in so fast when learning about a new hobby.
Just have fun with it a bit, try to spend as little as possible and if it becomes something that is a regular activity… then the shiny things.
I’ve had a bit of stuff in storage now for roughly two years as I travel and the number of times I’ve had to get something from the boxes I can count on one hand.
So to wrap this up.
Difficulties of a minimalistic life include not having all the things you may need and having to figure out how to make it happen.
Otherwise known as problem solving opportunities.
Probably my biggest difficulty to date is not signing a year lease for renting.
It can be tough and more expensive to rent monthly.
Also, the living arrangements can be tough in and of themselves if just trying to rent a room, depending on the roommates.
Not having a place to store things and come back to after traveling is really tough.
Storage lockers are an option, but… it’s just not the same.
Ideally… eventually I’ll get my own small property, but when I say small I really mean it.
Maybe a two bedroom condo where I can store gear and bounce in and out of while traveling.
However, consider this.
When I left corporate a few years ago I learned quite a bit about those around me as well as myself.
The reactions of many folks were interesting and telling in and of themselves.
On one hand there were folks that were genuinely happy for me and supportive of my decision, but there were nearly as many that would almost seem pessimistic.
I won’t go so far as to pass judgment as to why, but something I noticed to be a regular aspect of conversation would come across in a few way.
One way is at some point in the conversation it would lead to them saying “I don’t know how you can afford it”.
The interesting thing was some of these people were driving around really nice vehicles or had significant spending habits on the weekends, but they were also in debt… in many cases significant debt and I’ll let you make up your mind as to what significant is, but hey… the cars were awesome and the weekend outings I’m sure are fun.
Another way the conversations would go was something like they question what they’d do with all their things.
To be fair, some of them have many things and aren’t interested in parting with them.
It’s a significant consideration for them if they intend to travel a bit more.
“That which you hold… holds you”
An interesting and realistic quote by Doris Janzen Longacre does a nice job of illustrating minimalistic living.
“The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple.”
So how does a minimalistic lifestyle lead to freedom of thought and movement?
Something that I enjoy as a film maker and videographer is that for the most part I can manage with a checked luggage and two carry on bags.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t like more gear, but I am able to create quite a bit with that amount of gear and while traveling it’s enough for me.
This trip to India in a week has me even eliminating the checked luggage. I’ll be traveling with a single large backpack.
The idea of having all my possession for an international trip in one bag is exhilarating.
It’s gonna force me to focus much more on what I have at the time.
So here’s something to wrap up this episode.
There are studies you can find that discuss the amount of decisions made in a day… averaging around 35,000.
These decision range from what we eat and wear for the day to what we believe and what we talk about in conversations.
What these studies discuss is how to reduce insignificant decisions and or prioritize those most important.
The idea of having a very basic wardrobe is a great example of reducing insignificant decision making for strategic thinkers.
All you fashion gurus calm yourselves, if that’s your things then obviously it high on the list of priorities.
However, for many strategic leaders the clothes they wear is not a priority.
Consider what Steve Jobs wore for many years… a very basic outfit and yet he was a visionary to many.
The rule of thought is that many strategic thinker simplify their wardrobes and lives in general to free up thought to focus on what they’re most passionate about.
So consider this. The less amount of things you have overall the less amount of decision that you’ll need to make during your day.
Clothing being the very basic example.
Simplification of your lifestyle and minimalistic living can also bring out more creativity.
Consider life as an artist.
Something I’ve found when creating is I can actually find my way into a sort of decision paralysis when I have too many options.
Which brush or color should dI use.
What canvas or other materials should I use.
It’s like going to a restaurant that has a 15 page menu.
It’s great having all the options, but it can really cause a level of uncertainty when ordering or regret after an order is placed…. shoulda woulda coulda.
So simplification and minimalistic living.
Free up your movement
Free up your thought
Gain focus, introspect and peace of mind.
Don’t let things control your options in life.
It’s your life, own it.
Well that does it folks, I hope you enjoyed todays episode and feel like you got something out of it.
Be sure to hit up tastydangerous.comfor the show notes.
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I’ve got a lot planned moving forward and it would be great to hear your feedback.
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Until next time….
Keep living that Tasty Dangerous Lifestyle!
***Tasty Dangerous…. Lifestyle Development focused on Mindset, Creativity, Adventure and Business.
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