in reverb10

What Have You Made Lately?

What was the last thing you made? A paycheck? A paper-mache Christmas decoration? Breakfast this morning?

How about personal freedom? Location independence? A more fulfilled life?

Whether you take the practical or philosophical approach – you’ve no doubt made a lot of “things” in your life. My question is, do you really need them? Or are they distracting you from what really matters?

The last thing I made? A new and “improved” Facebook profile. Okay, no, I didn’t actually “make” this, but Facebook presented me with an option to trick out my Facebook profile, and of course, like any well-behaved Facebook user does, I agreed to upgrade and now I am the proud owner of a new profile.

What’s it do? I’m not really sure. It looks a little different. It shares more information. It puts some unflattering pictures of myself up at the top for everyone to see. I’m not really sure. But it’s new. It’s cool. Everyone’s going to have one, so I need it to, right?

In a world that constantly demands more. More features. More options. More “stuff”. I find myself somehow wanting less.

Less is more

My partner Sam just published his new book, “50 Things Your Life Doesn’t Need” in which he talks about getting rid of the “stuff” in your life. One of my favorite quotes (granted, I’ve only made it through the first few pages so far) is in reference to buying “Stuff from SkyMall”:

“The problem isn’t SkyMall, of course, but rather anything that grabs our attention and tells us to spend money. Maybe it’s a daily coupon site that tempts you to buy services you never wanted until you received that morning’s email. They’re offering 75 percent off belly dancing classes? I never wanted to learn, but now I do! It’s so cheap, I’d be a fool not to take these classes”

Sam’s example illustrates a greater overall point. Most of the things in your life? You don’t need them. You think you do, you may argue with me that you do, but you probably don’t.

Did I need a new Facebook profile? No. Was there anything wrong with the old one? No. The allure of Facebook used to be that it was a clean and simple alternative to Myspace. Now Facebook, slowly but surely, is doing the exact same thing that led to Myspace being “uncool”. Bombarding us with bells and whistles and things we don’t really need. Not cool, Facebook.

It’s not going to change – Facebook will continue to take over the world. There are always going to be new “things” that come along and are just so damn cool that you have to have them (Ipad, I’m looking at you). This isn’t an argument against Ipads and no, I’m not going to delete my Facebook account.

Do you need a lot of money, a “safe” job, a big house and a fast car to be happy? Probably not. Today, start thinking about what you’re making, what you need to make, and what you can get rid of. Instead of working constantly and worrying about making a lot of money start making memories with your family and friends.

What are you going to make today?

(Check out the full rundown of my #reverb10 posts here | Photo c/o laurascope)

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  1. This is good. Creation takes time. It’s messy. And usually imperfect. But it’s great. It’s rewarding, inspiring, and unique. I agree, Matt. We need to create more. And better. Here’s to making lots of things in 2011.

  2. First time reader. I think what you said is 100% true and its amazing how much mental and emotional space this “stuff” takes up too. I recently moved from NC to DC and 99% of my stuff remained in storage for months. I went from a whole house of belingings to one room of only the bar necessities: 1) my best clothes 2) toiletries 3) bed n linens 4) basic kitchen utensils and cookware 5) work materials and a few fave books. When I finally moved my stuff back up I realized I didnt need or like or want most of that stuff. In fact, Id forgotten what most of the stuff was at all. And I got rid of all most all of it selling/goodwill. I dont miss any of that “stuff.” My life is simpler, more attractivr, convenient and FULL as a result. Cheers, T.

    • Thanks for coming by and welcome, Toddy. You bring up a great point and it would be an interesting social experiment – put your stuff in storage for a year, then go back to it, and get rid of everything you don’t need. Odds are you’d have a pretty empty storage unit because you really didn’t miss all that “stuff”. Here’s to cutting out the stuff, saving money on renting a storage unit, and doing a little more “living”…

  3. I am trying to make LauraOlley.com. I started out at prcreator.wordpress.com and I’m trying to make a blog/site that will be worth your time and will get read. Daunting.

  4. Hey Matt. Making stuff is cool.

    I ran a workshop recently where we encouraged folk to make their own business cards as a different way of introducing themselves. Have to say I was very impressed with the folk who rose to the challenge. Here are a few examples:

    http://stopdoingdumbthingstocustomers.com/visible-leadership/cards-on-the-table/

    And a couple I made myself one night when I just couldn’t sleep – hence the nightowl!

    http://stopdoingdumbthingstocustomers.com/brand/a-benefit-of-insomnia/

    This small act of making something in turn helped make new friendships and new conversations and new ideas. Our friend Shereen popped in to say hi too which was great – so I made a real face to face howdy from an online connection too.

    Today – I will be mostly making new opportunities. Making stuff rocks!

  5. Today I’m making my point heard! The thing is not about the stuff we make/collect it’s about why we do it, it’s about the Vision. What Vision do we have for our lives and does what we make today contribute to that Vision in any way. making this comment contributes to my influencing people to think more about how they live. to becoming visionaries rather than achievers. Yes, let’s get rid of stuff, but let’s know why we do it.

    • Yes. If you’re not asking “why”, if you’re not thinking about the reason and meaning, you’re doing something wrong. That meaning could be there is no meaning to the thing you’re getting rid of – but that still has meaning (try saying that three times fast). Great point, Graham.