On a Search for Less
Having less can mean living more
Over the last few years, I have been trying to lessen everything in my life. I want less things, less distractions, less responsibility, but is this even possible in the modern world?
Some of you read this and see a minimalism post. Yes, minimalism will come up, but it is not the direct topic of this letter.
I have talked about minimalism in the past. I went into the topics of physical, digital, and ancillary things. You can think of this as part 2 but focused on the ancillary.
I have been on a journey to slow down and focus. I want to get back that focus and creativity we had as children, well I did at least. I could focus on anything and I could memorize everything because it was singular and intentional. Now we are expected to context switch constantly, be inundated with notifications and ads, and buy things that make us feel successful and fulfilled. This is a terrible, draining way to live.
How has the journey been?
Since quitting my job back in June, I have had time to try to get back to that childhood focus. It hasn’t been perfect due to my constant drive to create, but it's better. I wake up earlier than ever. I take time every morning to consume content, play video games some days, or just take a random stroll with my wife. I don’t have a day job yet but I am consulting for a few companies and about to start filming my Skillshare course. Since I am working for myself, I am making my own hours. I work about four hours a day. Those four hours are extremely productive – usually two, two-hour blocks. Some days I search LinkedIn for my possible next day job, but I am not overthinking it. I even get to bed at a reasonable time and sleep pretty well. To sum it up, taking my time and being intentional over the last nearly four months has been great. I am still refining and lessening my physical and digital belongings as well, but nothing new here, just more refined intentionality.
Why can’t this be normal life?
Why does it have to be more, more, more? More clothes, money, and success doesn’t equal fulfillment. In my experience, less of all of those things does. Yes, more money doesn't actually hurt but it tends to complicate things for most. Before any of you start hating me, I know I am super privileged for being able to take this time. I touch on this a lot in this letter. My point here is why can’t we all have this life? We created so many good things in this world just to keep up with it, rather than living in it. Now our actions are compiling into things like climate change and mass cultural anxiety. If we were wanting less, rather than more, would these things be an issue?
So what is my goal?
Simply, a slower life with less. I am still striving towards less but like all things, there needs to be balance. My main focus is on a "career" at the moment. I need to find that perfect mix of less + comfort + stability. I am on a path to just that but I don’t know how much is really in my hands. In a perfect world, I will continue to do consulting work. I’d make good money for minimal output of time. This will allow me to do all the less I am hoping for. The downside here is that it is less stable than a day job – not having a consistent paycheck. I mention “I don’t know how much is really in my hands” because my consulting has been mainly word of mouth thus far. I do not have a huge social following or a deep Rolodex of contacts to leverage. I truly believe that the limitation of my professional success over the past ten to fifteen years has been due to my lack of friends and professional relationships. I don't see this changing anytime soon so this goal of mine is a bit left to chance.
Driving - substituting it with walking and bike riding. We might even move into the city soon so this is even more accessible. This is somewhat due to my environmentalism but also due to wanting to move more and deeply know my surroundings, not just the path Apple Maps tells me to go.
Work life balance - I have been slowly working on this, but my goal is to get to my old salary as a product manager consistently whilst working less. This will allow me to not have to use all my personal time on passion projects and actually live.
Refine my bio - this is an idea for another newsletter but also a general goal. Living your bio – no more, no less. In summation - living an honest, specific life, not stretching oneself too thin.
What about you?
Do you feel the same as me or do you want more? That's perfectly fine, I just wonder why.
What does less mean to you?