Minimalism, Priorities and Punching Difficulty in the Throat


Some people, activities and things are so important that you would give up everything else in order to hold on to them.

The tricky part is that we’re so awash with ‘stuff’ it becomes hard to tell what’s important and what’s not, and the only way to figure it out is to trim the fat.

This is what I did when I left the US to start traveling the world.

I sold everything short of a bagful of necessities, cut back on all but the most necessary communications and put myself in a situation where I would need to spend more time just learning how to live, leaving less free time in which to do the fun things I’ve always done. This has given me a lot of clarity as to what I value most.

My Freedom is My Life

One of the facets of my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything is my freedom of movement and time.

I can wake up, go to sleep, eat, read, work, write, date, chill, drink and party whenever I want. There is no one looking over my shoulder telling me I should be more productive or dropping subtle hints that I should work less.

What’s mine is mine, and that’s just fine.

There are times, however, when one priority might infringe upon another priority’s turf, creating some tension.

For example, another priority in my life is starting up new ventures and using them to build something out of nothing, and one such venture is ebookling.

Working Together

After talking with a lot of people, all of whom decided that ebookling is the cat’s meow and would hit it big, no question, I decided that it would be prudent to bring someone else on board to help manage the thing. A capable ‘How’ person to help me convey the ‘Why’ of the project.

I hadn’t even begun to look when a chap from New York named Miles hit me up for a Skype conversation and convinced me that he was the man to get things shaking at ebookling, and after having worked with him for a month I’m inclined to believe him.

The crux of the issue isn’t Miles, but rather the fact that now there is someone else involved with a project that – up until now – I had full control over. I controlled the brand, the website, the conversations with customers and the content that was published. The blueprint in my head was all that mattered, and I had no one to answer to…I could work on it once a week or 8 hours a day without recriminations or congratulations.

I don’t REALLY answer to Miles, but as someone who is working on a project I believe in and as someone whose opinions and work ethic I respect, I kind of do. My action or inaction impact him now, and to a greater level than if I were to, say, not blog for a week.

Conflict is Necessary for Continued Evolution

The point that I’m aiming at here is that no matter how you refine your lifestyle to fit perfectly with how you want to live your life, so long as you are still pushing and challenging yourself there will still be friction and uncertainty and conflict.

You may be forced to choose between priorities or to meet in the middle with them. You may even have to invent new ways of operating so you can enjoy them both.

You shouldn’t try to run from difficulty, you should seek it out! Embrace it! Take it on, beat it, punch it in the throat and look for more of its kind!

Minimalism isn’t just about reduction, it’s also about reaffirming daily that what you’ve got is exactly what you need.

You get better at rolling with the punches as you get more practice, and if you want to keep growing as a person while building your ideal lifestyle, you’ll need to be able to do just that.

PS: if you’re a rockstar developer (or know one) with tons of experience with e-commerce and might be interested in working with us on ebookling, shoot me an email and introduce yourself!


  1. Darwin said it a few hundred years ago “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

    Minimalism gives you the ability to do just that, change, move, adapt, be free, connect and create!

    It’s good to be part of something bigger that yourself even if you lose control, give it a try!

  2. I personally like to work on project by myself, on my own terms. I’ve always been this way. Even when I was in school, I dreaded group projects, not so much because of working with other people, but it was painstakingly inefficient.

    However, I think partnering with others has HUGE benefits one of which is being accountable to another person. Sure it’s easy to sleep in any not finish your part of the project by the day you said you would, but when you have a partner whose done his part and is expecting you to do the same, it’s a nice kick in the butt to do what you need to do.

    I think by default, most lifestyle designers are self-motivated, hard-working, disciplined individuals, but we all get lazy/unfocused/discouraged sometimes and it’s nice to have a partner to help us with all this.

    Looking forward to seeing how ebookling shapes up!

    • Yeah, I’ve never had too much trouble getting things done and staying efficient, but being able to take 2 and 2 and make 5 is something I’m intrigued about, and that’s very possible when you find the right combination of skillsets and personalities. Hoping that’s how this ends up!

  3. I love how for Everett’s interview, there’s a little Miles in the lower left corner of the screen. The combination effect of both interviewer and interviewee really adds great value to the overall interview itself. I wish both of you guys much spectacular success in your business partnership and friendship!

  4. Very true–when we’re forced in a situation where the comforts we take for granted are taken away, we get a much better idea of what’s really important. My first two months in Venezuela taught me to get more enjoyment out of simple things like hot showers and fresh vegetables than anyone I know.

    Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I’m really attracted to the image of punching difficulty in the throat. Maybe a new T-shirt is in order…

  5. I’m new to the world of Personal Branding, Minimalism and Location Independence. But this post strikes a chord with me, for a number of years I’ve wanted to run my own business, have more flexibility and design a lifestyle that I wanted.

    Increasingly, I’ve found stress in the monotony of my career, and the amount of junk around my house. It’s not that I don’t like a lot of the stuff, but it certainly has tricked my family into thinking the stuff is more important than what we do and the experiences we gain together.
    So now, I’m learning a lot, starting to blog as I learn, and looking at ways I can apply these principles to my life and start my own businesses / revenue streams.

    I think that is the key point though, its about how to apply these principles to ourselves to make our lives what we want.

    Thanks Colin, and thanks also for being open to chatting on Twitter etc, it’s appreciated.


    • Sounds like you’ve got the right of it, Mike.

      Glad you’re analyzing and making it all work for you and your lifestyle. The point is not to grab something off the shelf and expect it to work, but to understand the key components and then reshape them to help you achieve your own personal goals.

      Keep it up! Happy to chat whenever :)

  6. Pingback: The Simple Guide to Making Friends Online | The Art of Minimalism

Comments are closed.