the master of less: leo babauta

Leo Babuata just released The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life, and is the zen behind ZenHabits.net, a wildly popular blog on simple productivity. I couldn’t resist asking him:

What do you want more of?
There’s nothing physical I’d like more of … in fact, I’m always getting rid of stuff as my possessions naturally accumulate. But there are two things I’d like more of:

1. Patience. I’m not a super impatient guy, but it’s something I’d like to improve as I age.

2. Travel. I love to travel, but I haven’t had the chance to do much of it. There’s so much of the world I want to see!

Assuming that your evil twin is a materialistic, extravagant hoarder, what’s an over-the-top luxury that he’d be craving?
A super-huge monitor for my Mac. I love big monitors. I saw a really beautiful one recently and immediately lusted for it. I’ll never buy it. :)

“How do you keep it simple with six kids?” sounds like a trick question. But really, when they’re pleading for the latest Polly Pocket or Guitar Hero game, how do you convey your essential outlook to them?

I don’t pretend to be the perfect parent — I give in and buy them video games and gadgets all the time, especially for Christmas and their birthdays. And I feel guilty about it afterward.

But parents are only human, and we are striving to improve, and that’s what we want to teach our children — that we can be happy with what we have, but that if we fail and give in to our human frailties, that’s OK. We can just try to do better next time, and figure out a better way.

My kids have learned, through my example, how to get rid of things they don’t use. They’ve learned how to have fun without spending money (though we do spend money to have fun sometimes). They’ve learned what’s important. They’ve learned how to do things for themselves, and how to solve problems and learn things on their own.

I think any parent who’s helped their children do these things — often by getting out of their way — should be proud of the job he’s done.

What’s been the greatest surprise on your journey to blog-dom success?
I’m surprised every day, by things I learn from my readers and other bloggers, by the simple fact that I’m able to do what I do for a living. I keep thinking people are going to catch on to me and I’ll have to find another job, but lo and behold! I get another day to do this crazy job called blogging. It’s a dream come true — a dream I never really dared to do before.

Besides being able to blog for a living, I think what has surprised me the most is that I’ve been able to find success as a writer — especially without having to leave the tiny island of Guam! In the past, a writer would have had to go to one of the major cities, such as New York or Paris or London, to try to make it in the world of writing. I always supposed I’d have to do that, but was too intimidated. But amazingly, I just put my writing out there in blog-land, and I was able to succeed, to be shoulder-to-shoulder with great writers from all over the world!

Who would you like to hand-deliver a copy of The Power of Less to?
Leonardo da Vinci … because the dude just fascinates me. I’m named after him (my dad’s an artist) and I’ve always felt it’s an honor to be named after someone so amazing. Plus, I’d have to travel through time to hand him a copy of my book, and how cool would that be?

But if I had to choose someone living, I would choose William Gibson, the sci-fi author, because that is one seriously cool guy. I don’tknow what I’d say to him. I’d probably pee my pants.

I would say Jessica Alba but my wife might kidney punch me. So just ignore that comment.

What’s your big audacious dream?
I’m already living it! I am self-employed, my own boss, able to work from home, spending time with my beautiful and painfully sexy wife, playing with my six incredibly cool but exhaustingly curious children, living in an exotic tropical island, reading and running and wearing shorts and T-shirts and Birkenstocks. That’s the dream.

I would also like to live in other parts of the world … the south of France, Italy, Japan, Toronto, Brazil, London, Australia, New York, San Francisco … I could go on and on. I will make some of these dreams come true, but time will probably run out before I get to live in all of these places.

related posts
danielle-laporte-this-is-what-healing-looks-like-audio

This is what healing looks like—from cancer to politics, and our bleeding, blazing hearts.

Healing is as ugly as “healed” is gorgeous. If we don’t judge the mess of it, we’re more likely to get to the other side of it sooner—and more deeply healed and stronger than we ever imagined possible. Scars and all. Healed.

Danielle-Laporte-Guru-Singh

Cataclysmic Evolutionary Catalysts. (AKA: The times we live in). A guest appearance from Guru Singh.

For the first time ever on my site, I’m bringing you a guest feature. Because these times call for collaboration. And radical wisdom. So here it is: Guru Singh is a luminous and direct Truth teller. It’s an immense honour to share his insights—and prayerful plea. Please listen in.

danielle-laporte-conscious-gifts-2017-1

8 holiday gift ideas for friends & co-workers. Conscious, cool, and not-destined for landfills. And 6 ways to help #NoDAPL this season.

Here are a few pro-earth, pro-good taste, pro-kindness ideas for showing your love and appreciation this season: 8 conscious ways and things to give this season—to friends and your professional circle.

danielle-laporte-how-you-listen-is-how-you-live-featured-2x

How you listen is how you live. (A poem for being of service.)

You may hear this as an order, an invitation, or as the opportunity of lifetimes.

How you listen is how you live.
Can you hear the women crying?
Can you hear the soil gasping for clean air?
And did you hear that? That’s the sound of a good man asking, How can I serve?

How do you serve?

Danielle-Laporte-Gift-Transaction

So, is this a gift, or a transaction? Because…your entire life is not a business deal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transactional giving these days. I’ll tweet about you if you tweet about me. They owe me a favour. You listen for five minutes to them so they’ll listen when it’s your turn to talk. Even Stevens. Transactional giving can be a beautiful commerce of support, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that interplay. But if all of our giving is to secure our getting…then, well, it’s gross.

Danielle-Laporte-Love-the-egg-you're in

Love the egg you’re in. (This is not a sermon on patience. But…)

Savour the simplicity of your pre-dreams-come-true time. Love the egg you’re in. Because not too long from now–and right on time, you’ll be spreading your wings and life will never be the same again.

Rock your emptiness

Rock your emptiness

But what if we rocked our emptiness? Felt the perimeter of ourselves. Relished the silence. Made friends with the peace that’s always waiting for us. What if we got off on the discomfort of our emptiness and let it be creative tension?

Whats-Underneath-Wishful-thinking

What’s underneath wishful thinking?

Wishful thinking is tangled up with craving. We want what we want. So we ignore the evidence that we’re very likely not going to get what we want out of a situation. Craving… wishing. Craving… denial. Craving… tolerating. It’s a wishous cycle.

danielle-laporte-manifesto-for-creativity

Don’t worry about being invited back. My Manifesto for Creativity.

Meaningfulness. Reveal myself. Be compassionate. Don’t worry about being invited back. Go there. xo. I jotted this down when I began writing my book. I wanted a manifesto and it had to happen quickly because…I had a book to write.

danielle-laporte-life-is-what-happens-on-the-way-to-the-finish-line-featured-2x-456x456

Life is what happens on the way to the finish line.

If you’re not loving what it feels like between your various life destinations, then get off the ride. Burn the itinerary. Fuck “motivation” and be still long enough to find your inspiration.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This