Let’s not play that game

We don’t have to believe that Apple will make our lives better, cooler, more beautiful. We don’t have to watch the Harry Potter movie (the last one was kinda lame) or every blockbuster that comes out. We don’t have to believe that Victoria’s Secret and H&M will make us sexier, or that we need Lululemon or Gap Body to get fitter, or that we need designer water or Starbucks coffee or Powerbar for health or nourishment, or that we need Bud Light or Heineken to have fun (or get girls).

We don’t need to play. Let’s live instead: everything essential is nearly free anyway.


This pretty much sums up how I feel about advertising and consumerism today. I don’t claim to be immune to it, and I’m certainly influenced by advertising, but realisation is the first step to solving a problem.

So let’s take that first step.



Ask this question before buying anything

I’ve always been trying to formulate a good question to ask myself before I buy anything.

While I usually ask myself “do I really need this?” I don’t always do the right thing, but it does help me be more deliberate about what I purchase.

Recently Joshua Becker posted what I feel is a much better question.

The question is this: But what if I don’t?

Whenever you feel the pull of consumerism, simply ask yourself the shortened version of this thought, “What might I be able to do if I didn’t make this purchase?”

Every purchase contains an opportunity cost. The question, “But what if I don’t?”, forces us to recognize and articulate it.

I think most of us don’t really stop to think the amount of effort needed to actually acquire the money in our wallet, or in the case of credit cards, the amount of effort that will be needed in order to pay the bill that will arrive in the upcoming statement.

I believe if I actually take the time to stop and think about it, we’ll drastically reduce the number of frivolous purchases that we make.

Minimalism Thoughts

The story of the Mexican fisherman

The mexican fisherman

This is a story that I read in a book somewhere. I can’t recall which book it was, but it’s a story that has stuck with me, and understanding it just makes me want to scream in frustration even more in this jail cell of modern society.

I managed to find a version of it at Be More With Less, which I’ve reposted below.

The story of the Mexican fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Gear Minimalism Travel

Ordered a GoRuck GR Echo backpack

Goruck gr echo

This definitely isn’t something healthy, but I’ve been checking out various bags recently. I lusted a long time over the Cote & Ciel Isar Rucksack, and finally bought one recently. It’s a great bag and I love it, but I’ve also been getting an itch for something a little smaller that I can carry around for day to day use. With that in mind, I eventually ordered the GoRuck GR Echo.

A lot of it had to do with the review of the bag over at Tools & Toys. There are many reviews and YouTube videos about GoRuck stuff out there, so that probably helped nudge me to part with my money.

It’ll take me a while to get hold of it, since I’ve shipped it to a friend’s place in America, but I’ll post my thoughts on the actual bag after I’ve received it.

One disappointing thing is that it’s definitely a ding towards my goal of minimalism.

Minimalism Productivity

Slow down

Being in Fast Mode leads to constant switching, and constant busy-ness. It leads to overwork, because when do you switch it off? It leads to exhaustion, because we never give ourselves breathing room.

Learn to recognize when you’re in Fast Mode, and practice switching to Slow Mode now and then. It’s essential to doing all the things that are really important.

Via Zen Habits

As I’m pushing to focus on minimalism, one of the things I need to consciously remind myself is to always slow down. Some may call it stop and smell the roses. The result of rushing and thinking slowly differs greatly. While we’ve been brought up on the notion that hyper productivity is good, sometimes we take it to mean that it’s raw speed. I myself am a fan of productivity and its various techniques, but I think slowing down is a strong skill in terms of productivity itself. After all, being constantly stressed and busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. It’s also one of the reasons why I’m back to using my iPhone 4 for the moment.

Why not give it a try? Try and slow down when you’re doing something that you usually rush through, be it washing the dishes, replying a customer email, or typing a blog post.

The results might surprise you.