I’ll admit it. I’m a bit weird. I always have been. And maybe you are too, and that’s what makes us “special.” Or at least that’s what our moms always told us. I like doing “experiments” on myself. I think it’s a great way to grow as a person and to learn more about yourself — which can help in one’s personal or business life.
I once read how Leonardo Da Vinci slept only about 3-4 hours a day by taking short 20-45 minute naps throughout a 24 hour cycle. Many years ago, I tried my own sleep experiment after I found myself pulling a lot of “all nighters.” I decided to go every other night without sleep. So I would stay awake for stretches of 30-35 hours straight and then crash for 9-12 hours. I got a lot of work done by doing this.
And I was able to do this for about 3 months straight – sleeping only every other night. There was only one problem… it put me in the hospital. It had weakened my immune system and I ended up with a bad case of vertigo. Horrible, horrible stuff. I was basically DIZZY all day, everyday, for about 2 weeks until it finally went away. So I, obviously, went back to a normal sleep schedule and refused to pull “all nighters” anymore. I had bad insomnia for a long time but eventually got over it. If you’re pulling all nighters and going without sleep, I recommend you don’t. It’s just not worth the damage it can do to your health.
But I’ve done many other “full immersion” types of experiments on myself over the years, and most of them didn’t have bad health results – thankfully. My point is… you can learn a lot about yourself if you take yourself out of your normal comfort zone and really ‘challenge’ yourself by trying little experiments and personal challenges.
AND I’M DOING IT AGAIN.
Check this out. I just finished selling (or giving away) all of my personal possessions. Not too long ago my life consisted of a massive 6-bedroom house (with many rooms I never even went into!) and 5 cars. Yes, FIVE cars. I’m a car guy, what can I say.
I had accomplished what many consider to be the “American Dream.” I had the huge house and all the toys. The Lamborghini, Ferrari, BMWs, a Rolex collection, an expensive wardrobe, amazing furniture, a massive home theater, a 1,000 gallon saltwater aquarium, the works.
And now I have NONE of it. And I’ll explain why in a moment…
Here are some “quick facts.” For the first time in over 20 YEARS:
- I don’t own a car.
- I don’t own any furniture.
- I don’t own a TV.
- I don’t own any books.
- I don’t own a huge closet full of clothes.
- I don’t have a HOME. Not a house, or apartment, or anything.
By now you’re probably thinking, “John, what the hell are you doing!?” I decided to do all of this because I wanted to do a new experiment on myself. It’s a challenge of MINIMALISM.
If you haven’t yet heard about minimalism, or read anything about it, you should. Not only can it (I believe) improve the quality of your life but it can also make your business a lot more profitable. Minimalism is essentially focusing only on the 3-4 most important things in your life (or business) and ELIMINATING THE REST.
There many opinions on minimalism and how to apply it, and some approach it differently. Do some Google searches for “minimalism” and you’ll find lots of great blogs about it. It’s really a growing ‘revolution’ of sorts.
I don’t agree with everything he teaches, but a decent book you can read is The Power Of Less by Leo Babauta; and he’s someone with 6 kids. That will get you started. Everyone will have their own take on minimalism. But I’m willing to bet you can benefit from it.
WHAT I HAVE LEFT…
So you’re probably wondering, if I got rid of all that stuff, what the heck do I actually have left? And how will I live? Here’s a full list of the only things I now own:
- A small 28L backpack (that holds everything below)
- 5 t-shirts (4 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 light jacket
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of running/trek shoes
- 5 pairs of boxer briefs
- Assorted toiletries
- Clothesline & large ziplock bag (for washing clothes)
- 1 MacBook Pro 15″
- 1 64GB Wifi iPad
- 1 iPhone 4
- 1 Livescribe Pen & small notebook
- My passport & credit cards
THAT’S IT. That’s all the ‘stuff’ I own. ALL OF IT. Here’s a photo of my backpack (with everything in it) except for my 15″ MacBook Pro which is in the photo next to it.
But it’s also important to note. I still have all of my money and investments. I didn’t pull a Christopher McCandless (“Into The Wild”) and burn all of my money. This experiment isn’t about that. So I still have all of my businesses (and their assets) as well as a valuable .COM collection, etc. But as far as personal “things” go, I currently only have what I listed above. I’ll explain more as to the “WHY” in a just a second…
WHERE ON EARTH WILL I LIVE?
The answer is… Everywhere. I am just going to travel the world non-stop for awhile. It may be for a year or for 10+ years. I don’t know yet and that’s part of the adventure. I have structured things so I can travel the world INDEFINITELY and plan to do so for a very long time.
As many of my long-time subscribers know, I love to travel. I’ve been to every continent in the world except for Antarctica. (And hope to visit their soon.) But even as much as I love to travel, I was only taking a few trips a year. So now that’s all going to change.
BUT TRAVEL ISN’T THE ONLY REASON I’M DOING THIS…
Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself. My level of happiness all comes down to my level of STRESS. And my stress level is mostly due to having the feeling of being OVERWHELMED. I had so many possessions to manage and so many things going on in my life that it was making me a bit crazy. (More than I already am.)
I found that my CREATIVITY has really suffered because of this. It’s like the brain only has so much available RAM like a computer, and everything we own and do and manage takes up that space. It doesn’t leave a lot of room left for creativity. So essentially, I wanted my brain back.
I wanted to have what I call “Freedom Of Thought.” I want to have so few distractions and things taking up space in my brain that I’m free to use as much of my brain as possible to think of exciting new ideas and fully appreciate new experiences. I did also realize that all of that “stuff” that I thought was the “American Dream” was mostly based on EGO. But that’s a discussion for another day.
As many of my customers already know, late last year I started a new company to develop Video Games. It’s been a dream of mine for many years and I finally decided to pursue it. Well, this new business (along with other projects) really demands maximum creativity from me. So I wanted to try this new ‘experiment’ to give myself the best chance at being able to come up with amazing new ideas.
AND IT’S ALREADY WORKING.
I’m currently on Day 3 of my journey. I moved out of California about a week ago, then spent a few days visiting my family in Florida, and then 3 days ago I ‘officially’ set out on this “Minimalism Adventure” and flew up to Toronto, Canada (where I am now) to visit my good friend, Dean Jackson.
In the first 3 days, I’ve already come up with some unbelievable new ideas for my businesses. And this is only just the beginning.
I would like to challenge you to look at your business (and life) and see how you can apply the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) and eliminate the things that aren’t essential to your goals — or things that take away from the more important parts of reaching your goals.
I recently deleted my personal Facebook account (that had 5,000 ‘friends’) and it was one of the best things I ever did. I was finding that Facebook was one big waste of my time. I was logging in multiple times a day and it was robbing me of time I should have been spending on more important things.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook has decent marketing uses, but I think for most entrepreneurs it’s better used for brands (with Business Page accounts) than as a personal account. For me and all of the businesses I am involved with, Facebook does not fall into the “20″ part of the 80/20 rule. PPC, SEO, buying media (which includes Facebook Ads), and other strategies out-produce it by a massive amount. But that’s a rant for another day.
After recently telling someone about what I am doing they said, “But, John, I gotta tell you. It really sounds like you’re just running from life.” To which I replied, “No, you don’t understand, I’m running TO life.”
Okay it’s time for me to go and pack up my stuff — even, though, it only takes me about 5 minutes. I’m heading to Europe for a few months tomorrow as I continue on my journey. I’ll be in touch soon.
Yours For Online Profits,
Did you enjoy this post? Get John Chow Dot Com updates via email...
Stay up to date with all of John Chow’s tips for making money online and blog posts by subscribing via email. Your email will be kept private and never shared with anyone.