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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 You? 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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1 How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide) 2 How to Sleep Through the Night and Get Good Rest 3 How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide) 4 The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People 5 13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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