I’ve been reading Colin’s work on Exile lifestylele since 2010. Back then I was a disorganised hoarder with a whole bunch of stuff and I was recently promoted at work to a desk job and I was looking for tips to organise my stuff and I found minimalist lifestyle practices and life hacking.
I came across this cool looking left handed dude who writes lessons and stories online and occasionally talking about robot ninjas and posting a few drawings.
I eventually ended up reading a lot of his work and learned tons of useful stuff over the years here are a few that made the most impact on my life.
We live in a world that has an abundance of good things and that also includes distractions. The thing is our resources are physically limited, that includes our attention, our time, because we only have 24 hours a day, we only have two hands, theres a limit to how much we can cary and we also have physical space to think off. The lesson is if you can gradually remove the things you don’t use, or use often or the unimportant you’ll have more resources to focus on what is important. In my situation, I found it freeing that I have less stuff to clean up or maintain or to worry about and think about so I can move more freely day to day.
Today's Tragedies Are Tomorrow's Comedies
I found this while scrolling through his older posts. At the time I read this I interpret it as all my past challenges and difficulties aren’t something to stress over because all the awesome things I enjoy today is likely to be a result of that past struggle. Three years ago after a bad breakup leading to depression this phrase was the only thing that kept me going. This was the “Challenge Accepted!” to my worst moments and had helped me endure those emotional hardships. Today’s tragedies are tomorrow’s comedies. Too bad the book of Job in the Bible just concluded with a happily ever after. I imagine they’d say the same thing. Whenever you’re down, it might not feel like it but in my experience, that situation where you’re suffering is something you’ll eventually laugh about or make a good story which brings me to the next lesson.
Start a Blog
A blog is a way to document your lessons and stories and share it with other people. It’s part of your personal branding and it delivers your message for you on the internet. Every several months or whenever you feel like it, going over your blog reminds you of how much you’ve grown over the years. It keeps you accountable to the changes that you’re making and as I was saying it helps manage you personal brand which I’ll talk about a next lesson.
Manage Your Personal Brand
Colin wrote a book on Personal Branding which helps you manage how you come across. It doesn’t “teach you how to live” but it invites you to think about how you come across and possibly be intentional about what you wear, the words you use, how you present yourself both online and in person. Colin talks about the benefits of being in control of your personal brand. In my case I started a blog, made my own business cards, made my theme consistent with the message I’d like to share and as a result I was able to qualify for a higher paying job that I previously wasn’t qualified for.
Pay Attention to People Instead of Your Phone
In a post about his favourite items highlighting the iPod touch I picked up a trail of thought about how we’re always on our phones connected to the online world and had stopped interacting with other people. That has been my experience since everyone started to own a smartphone. It’s good practice to keep your phone in your bag or pocket and just talk to people, listen to them, share stories and just be there. Seeing their smile is way more fun than seeing a like on your page.
Identify Your Baseline
I’ve been guilty of collecting gadgets and nice things to build my ideal lifestyle. Every now and then I lose track of my goals as it gets bigger and bigger and my ambition eats up my discipline and I end up poorly maintaining my body until a downward spiral occurs. The baseline is your standards and expectations. If your standards are too high, say a million dollars then anything less is something to be ashamed of. I’ve lived most of my life ashamed of myself because I wasn’t a financial success. That wasn’t exactly true. The number that I set was too high because I was comparing myself to people who are way ahead of me. Your ability to “keep making progress” depends on your ability to stay happy as you do the activities that eventually build the life that you’d like. If you appreciate where you are and what you achieved and accept that what you have is exactly enough for this moment, which it often is then you’ll be happier. When you’re in that state of contentment, doing a little extra work or project that moves you to a higher level of say, increasing your income or developing a skill doesn’t feel as heavy as you being dissatisfied with yourself.
Learn a new skill
I’ve observed Colin learning how to juggle, learn python, photography and a whole bunch of other things. I also notice how his design skills had improved and how his writing got more direct. Over time Colin got better at what he did. Living a lifestyle that encourages experiments you’d want to learn something new. Learning something enables you to learn success principles for the specific skill you are learning which may enable you to apply it to challenges you are currently facing. Since then I picked up past passions and began learning and having fun. I encourage you to do the same.
Constraints cultivate creativity
If you’re confused at what to do set a limit to what you can do. Often, the question is “what do I want to do for the rest of my life?” I have difficulty answering this question. Instead an alternate is asking what would I like to accomplish in the next 6 months or 3 months or month or week or just for today? Then you can define what you’d like and you can start immediately. Another lesson I was able to take from this is that whenever you find yourself in a situation where you have limited resources or options then it’s the best place in the world to practice creativity. See how much you can do with so little and just play with it and you’ll be amazed.
That’s it for now. I would like to encourage you to visit Colin’s blog Exile Lifestyle and get to know this awesome person.
Throw in something interesting you learned at the comments bellow.