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Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle

Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle

Last week, Andrew Hyde made headlines after doing an interview with ABC Radio News.

If you aren’t familiar with Andrew Hyde, he’s a technology mogul and consultant. Like many in his field, he’s constantly on the move, working out of New York and Silicon Valley in equal measure. He is also the founder of Startup Weekend, and organizer of the TEDxBoulder conference. He mentors young companies and is working on a new business venture that will create art out of discarded vinyl records.

Sounds like a pretty typical business professional, right? Well, Hyde does have one other claim to fame that sets him apart from his competition.

Andrew Hyde only owns 15 things.

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Hyde is intentionally homeless. After leaving his job as community organizer for the New York-based start-up incubator TechStars, he sold all of his posessions and decided to travel the world. And for Hyde, everything is coming up roses.

Minimalism is something I’ve been intrigued by for years. In fact, one of my first posts here at Lifehack was about 100-item minimalism. And while I’m making a concerted effort to through the clutter in my own life, paring down all my belongings to 100 items is something I’m not sure I could ever achieve, let alone the incredible challenge of selecting just 15 items to live on. So one has to wonder…just what 15 items would you choose to live with?

In this picture of Hyde, you can see him and all his worldly possessions. In addition to the clothes on his back, you’ll see two pieces of outerwear, some workout clothes, an orange backpack, a pair of socks, a pair of sunglasses, a phone, a laptop, and a few other sundry items. In other words, everything he needs for a tech job on the go. (You can read the full list of Hyde’s belongings circa 2010 here.)

And while not having a permanent home certainly helps to limit the number of possessions a person can have (unless you’re investing in a long-term storage unit), just 15 items seems crazy to most people, especially to anyone who likes fashion and wants to have more than 1 pair of shoes.

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But it’s worth remembering that just because you don’t own any given item doesn’t mean that you can’t ever access one, should you need it. The larger your network of friends is, the fewer items you need to own. You can always borrow what you don’t own from friends or colleagues, whether it’s a suit for a formal occasion, a casserole dish for cooking dinner for your in-laws, or even a whole house while your friends are on vacation.

And while you might think that there are just some things a person can’t live without, there are decent alternatives for most of them.

Cooking basics like pots and pans aren’t needed if you are traveling and either eating out for every meal, staying in a hotel, or staying in accommodations provided to you by your employer.

You don’t need furniture if you don’t have a home or apartment.

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You don’t need a TV or a cable box to watch your favorite shows, as long as you have a laptop. Same goes for video games, books, and magazine subscriptions.

And think of the savings. No car payments, no mortgage, no cable or utility bills. Without those burdens, you could probably afford to go our to dinner every night and travel extensively.

So how would you go about paring down all your belongings to just 15 items? For Andrew Hyde, it was a slow process: “I started with my clothing basics: 2 shirts, 1 pant, 1 short, 1 sandals, 1 sunglasses and underwear. I added a few ‘must haves’ for me like an iPad and camera. I added a backpack, toiletries kit, towel, and a few random things (pen, connector cable, chargers) and tried it out. After five weeks of the trip, there is more that I have not used in the bag than there is in the bag.”

Socrates once said, “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” For a guy who lives with only 9 pounds worth of personal belongings, Andrew Hyde is living a Socratic ideal that meshes surprisingly well with our modern perceptions of what a person needs to be happy.

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Could you ever live with just 15 items? What 15 things would you choose? Tell us in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

More by this author

Tucker Cummings

Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

Does the Pomodoro Technique Work for Your Productivity? The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

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Last Updated on November 3, 2020

What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It and Move on)

What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It and Move on)

What is FOMO, exactly?

Are you unable to say “no” to a party invitation, even if you have work to do? Do you feel like an outsider if you don’t see the hottest Hollywood movie everyone is talking about? Do you feel that you have to buy the latest and hottest “making money online” information product because everyone else is doing so?

If you have been in these or similar situations before, you have just experienced FOMO. Social networking has exacerbated this problem and made it something we now have to actively combat.

In this article, we’ll look into what FOMO is and how to get over it.

What Is FOMO?

I learned about FOMO by reading a book Find Your Focus Zone by Lucy Jo Palladino. In that book, she described FOMO with an everyday example: Have you ever felt that you had to pick up the cell phone right away when it rings?

The longer the phone rings, the more and more you experience the fear of missing out (FOMO). You feel that there is something important you are about to miss if you don’t pick up the phone immediately.

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The most important element in FOMO is the word “fear,” It makes us to do things even when we necessarily don’t want to. It’s logic versus emotion: When a compelling option is presented to us, we feel like an outsider if we say “no” to that. We may even fear that we’ll miss the opportunity of a lifetime if we say “no.”

At the same time, we know that we probably shouldn’t say “yes” because we may be spreading ourselves too thin. Also, there are going to be plenty of other opportunities out there, so missing this one probably won’t make a difference after all.

Symptoms of FOMO

When you are a victim of the fear of missing out, you are going to experience at least one of the following:

Procrastinating — Being Unfocused and Stressed

It’s obvious that when the temptation to say “yes” to a request is too big, you accept yet another task or project.

In practice, you are spreading yourself too thin. Not only are you stressed out by too many activities in your life, but it increases the likelihood for procrastination. This is because you cannot keep up with your schedule and you start finding excuses for not doing something you promised.

Losing Money

Sometimes you don’t want to feel like being an outsider in a group by making different decisions than the rest of the people.

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For example, I have been in internet marketing circles for a couple of years, and every time there is a big product launch coming, there is a lot of buzz around it.

Since this “next shiny object” is probably going to make you rich and famous overnight, you don’t want to miss out. If you do, others are going to be rich and famous, not you.

Unfortunately, in many situations like these, nothing groundbreaking is going to happen after all (no fame, no money, just hard work). It is yet another product launch, which is going to waste your money if FOMO gets a hold on you.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Being overwhelmed is one of the symptoms of fear of missing out. When you are unable to say “no,” feeling overwhelmed is destined to happen at some point.

There is just too much going on at the same time, and you are unable to focus on anything properly.

How to Get Over FOMO

There are certain things you can do when you experience FOMO.[1]

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What Does FOMO Mean and How Do I Deal With It?

     

    1. Be Aware of It

    The first thing is to be aware of the feeling. Stop for a moment and acknowledge when you are having a feeling of FOMO.

    Understand that this is a natural (although undesirable) way of reacting in a certain situation. We all wish we could say “yes” all the time, but we’re only human.

    2. Be Honest With Yourself and Others

    Honesty is one of the best ways to deal with the situation.

    First, you have to be honest to yourself: If you say “yes,” you have to understand that you may be spreading yourself too thin.

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    Second, it is also important to be honest with others, too. They have to be aware that you may not be 100% committed to their requests if you have plenty of action going on at the same time.

    3. Make a Quick Decision Regarding the Situation

    One of the worst things you can do is be on the fence. As long as something is left undecided, it is using your brain capacity for nothing.

    That’s why it is imperative to say “no” to an opportunity as quickly as possible if you feel you are unable to commit to it 100%.

    When you say “no,” you may even regret your decision at first. On the other hand, if you are meant to experience the opportunity at all, it will come available to you at a later time.

    4. Change Your Perspective

    Lastly, one step in defeating the FOMO is to see if a situation or event supports your short or long term goals.If it doesn’t, it’s likely better for you to get off social media sites that can increase FOMO and say no. Instead, focus on everything you have to be grateful for in life at this moment. Try spending time with friends and family and improve the important relationships in your life. These are the things that you’ll really regret missing out on and what will ultimately improve your life satisfaction.

    The Bottom Line

    FOMO can lead you to distraction and can push you to do things you really don’t care about. However, there is a way to overcome the fear. Once you learn to handle it, you will feel better and will feel ready to take on more things that add genuine fulfillment to your life.

    More on the Fear of Missing Out

    Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Very Well Mind: How to Deal With FOMO in Your Life

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