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Minimal

Why Less is More

In his 1855 poem, “Andrea del Sarto,” Robert Browning coined the now-popular phase that less is more.

This idea is best explained through pictures. For instance, I could write an essay about limes, but isn’t a picture more meaningful and contextual?

Think citrus.

The same idea applies to blog posts. I could write on and on — but what’s the point? If I can say what needs to be said in as few words as possible, isn’t that easier to comprehend?

Generate more quality with less quantity.

Pictures are meaningful because they convey 1,000 words.

Be meaningful.

Ironically, Browning’s poem is long. Here is the relevant passage:

No sketches first, no studies, that’s long past:
I do what many dream of, all their lives,
–Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,
And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive–you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,–
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter)–so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.

Categories
Minimal

On Doing More With Less

Joshua Becker, Rachel Jonat, Ashley Ambirge, and Leo Babauta are among my favorite bloggers who preach the benefits of doing more with less.

They write about minimalism.

There is a 3-step process to embrace it:

1. Accept you have clutter.
2. Reduce the clutter.
3. Be more productive without the clutter.

Many friends think I am crazy when I tell them I got rid of hundreds of books a decade ago and currently own less than 30. Or, that I once owned 500+ CDs and currently own none.

It’s natural that as I organize my apartment, I am constantly finding old technology, electronics, and other doodads that don’t define me anymore. They don’t need to collect dust in my apartment. My past purchases can be amortized into someone else’s treasure. Thanks to the Facebook Marketplace, strangers are seeing my ads and contacting me with interest — and payment.

If minimalism sounds appealing, here is a 2016 documentary trailer about a film that is currently available on Netflix:

Categories
Minimal

Thoughts on Simple Living

Confucius was the man.

Here are my thoughts on simple living:

Buy less and give more. Malcolm Forbes said, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” but he was wrong. Consumption and accumulation create clutter but not happiness. Decide what you don’t use anymore and give it away. That other phrase, “One person’s junk is another’s treasure” is more apropos. I used to give things away via freecycling but nowadays I donate them to Goodwill.

Declutter. Do you know about the reverse hangar test? Turn your hanging clothes by 180 degrees and remove whatever you don’t take out in six months. Or, how about the box test? Put loose papers, office supplies, pots and pans, whatever, into a box. Toss or donate whatever remains in the box after a predetermined amount of time. I did the bookshelf test by recognizing I kept books as trophies so I got rid of them. Why own a book when I can check it out from the library? Do you know about the national emergency library?

Drink water after you wake up. I can’t stress this enough. The best way to awaken your body is by replenishing nutrients lost during sleep. Water is the best drink for you, so drink as much as you can. Squirt lemon into it. Read a book while drinking.

Eat healthy. The next time you reach for a soda or a bag of chips, ask yourself if you can be equally satisfied with a bottle of water or a bag of nuts. Strive for a carbohydrate-free lifestyle. Go paleo.

Watch less TV. You can save money by ditching your cable bill and replacing those channels with an over-the-air antenna and streaming.

Take digital sabbaticals. Unplug for a day, a weekend, or a month. Learn to re-enjoy life without a glowing screen. An easy way of doing this is by leaving your phone home when you take a walk. Messages and notifications will be there when you return.

Make time for people. The person without a social life is the person who dies a hermit. I don’t want to be secluded from life. Do you? Keep up appearances doing activities that matter to you and connect you to others.

Create a routine. Stick to it. For instance, I go to sleep with an empty email inbox. I either reply to messages or archive them for future action. I do this every night; and I awake in the morning knowing any messages are new. Here’s my 10-year-old process.

Say no. We live in a culture of yes, feeling bad if we say no. But it’s important to say no so we’re not distracted by things that don’t add value to our lives.

Accept you’re not perfect. It’s OK to deviate from your simple life. You can come back when you’re ready.

Categories
Minimal

Get Back Up and Do It Again

Paleo eating includes fruits and vegetables, nuts, and anything that had a heartbeat. No dairy. No grains. No refined or pasteurized foods. No additives.

In other words, eat what the caveman would eat. Be a modern hunter-gatherer, not a later agriculturist.

I joined the paleo revolution in July 2014 to lose belly fat and tone my abs. Exercise alone didn’t work. My kitchen was 99% organic at the time, and it was a natural evolution for my diet to go back in time.

Because I consumed lots of fatty and earth-grown foods and nothing (other than fruits and vegetables) to break down into sugar, my body entered ketosis to maintain energy.

After three months, I lost 20 pounds and 4 inches off my waist.

I maintained those levels; and, after seven months, I shifted to 90% paleo aka primal eating. I added cheese, dark chocolate, non-dairy ice cream, corn, and gluten-free foods to my diet. I told myself I’d eat those foods in moderation.

That was okay. I looked good and felt good.

About a year ago, I stopped eating those 10% foods in moderation — but more regularly — and my body today shows it. I regained most of my lost pounds, forcing me to buy larger pant sizes to fit into them.

Life presents you obstacles and you can choose to jump over them or fail.

Last night, while eating at a Mexican restaurant with friends, I ate corn tortillas and drank two margaritas.

I want to say I feel it this morning but I don’t because I’ve eaten and felt this way for many months.

I failed.

I awoke this morning with a determination to return my body and my outlook to 2014 levels. I did it then and I know what to do now.

Here’s to detoxing my life. Again.

Categories
Minimal

Why Minimalism and My Blog Lack Copyright

In the fashion industry, there is trademark protection but no copyright protection. You can copy any clothing or accessories and sell it as your own design. You can’t copy the trademark label.

It’s the same in the food industry. You cannot copyright a recipe.

It’s the same in the automobile industry. You cannot copyright the sculptural design.

Ditto on furniture industry designs. Those are also uncopyrightable.

Magic tricks, haircuts, open source software, tattoos, jokes, fireworks displays, board game rules, perfume smells, and other things come from industries which allow the world to own their work because the world grows smaller when people benefit from it.

Because of no ownership and no protection of your work, it’s unnecessary to sell your work. You produce more work because more people will benefit from it and they will innovate if they want to replicate or adapt it.

Confucius was the man.

With that mindset, my blog has no copyright. My privacy statement since 2011 is explicit: “All words, images, video, and other content on this blog are uncopyrightable except where specified as the property of someone else.”

I used to have a copyright line in the footer of every blog page. After reading a minimalist blog post by Leo Babauta and watching the below talk by Johanna Blakley, I changed.

A minimalist lifestyle isn’t copyrightable either. Do you have one?

Categories
Minimal

Why I Never Appreciated WiFi Data Until Now

Three days of total data usage.
This shows the past three days of total data usage. Click to zoom.

Days after installing Data Usage Monitor on my phone (and that’s a link for Android phones), I started to understand my data dependency.

The app teaches me the benefit of connecting to wifi hotspots instead of relying on my phone provider’s wifi.

I never thought about connecting my phone to my apartment’s wifi. I now do that. I don’t think about it. My phone auto-connects.

When I roamed outside, I never thought about purposefully connecting to public wifi hotspots. I now do that. My phone now auto-connects to wifi whenever it goes to a place I’ve been before. When I go to a new place, it tells me available networks and I join them.

I share photos to Instagram nearly every day and it constantly syncs with the cloud; but over the past month, the app used a mere 84 MB of mobile data compared to a much larger 249 MB of wifi data.

Facebook was the worst offender of data usage with a whopping 21% of total monthly app usage, compared to Google Maps which used 2% and GMail which used less than 1%.

Three days of app usage.
This shows the past three days of app usage. Click to zoom.

Over the past month, I used 7 GB of wifi data vs 1 GB of mobile data. The prior month I’m sure the wifi usage was in the megabytes!

I guess I never thought about using wifi on my phone in the way that I seek out public wifi hotspots when using my laptop. I changed my ways.

Looking back, it’s no wonder why I kept hitting T-Mobile’s monthly mobile data limits. I relied on them as if there was never an option.

Why was I paying so much for a mobile-heavy plan? I just logged into my account and reduced my monthly cost for less mobile data needs.