Business Magazine

Live Minimal: People Skills

By Shawnaschuh
Apple Store, 5th Avenue New York City

Image by sachman75 via Flickr


Knit cap down to his eyebrows, earth tone clothing, moccasin type footwear, and a backpack – a student, I thought as he settled in next to me on the plane.

He was absorbed in his iphone, I closed my eyes….

After I awoke we began to chat – this bohemian man and me. Turns out he works at an Apple Store so we had something in common – I love my iphone.

He was returning from a trip to New York where he went to multiple concerts and as we spoke I learned he travels regularly to see bands and visit places he’s never been.

I mentioned that he must be doing well to travel so often and attend concerts. His reply was a lesson, “I live minimal”.

I probed and he elaborated, “I have all the stuff I need really – and more than I need, so I save my money to go places and do things. Mostly I stay with friends or family and I meet some really cool people too.”

What he said made me feel good, it made me question myself – all excellent reasons to meet people –

Do we live minimal? Do you? What does that mean exactly and is it right or a lifestyle or an excuse?

Is stuff bad? As we spoke it was apparent this man had stuff – besides the newest iphone – which he shared some cool new uses with me about – he also has musical equipment and enough computer equipment to record his own music so I gathered he wasn’t living in a cave or had decided to shun society.

In further conversation I gleaned that he simply didn’t care about certain things that cost money. Shoes for instance – he told me he has two pair and he wears them until they fall apart. He also walks everywhere or bikes and he even shared that his best friends were in their 60s and he loved hanging out with people who teach him things.

I found him thoughtful and deep – he shared that he thinks we’ve lost something in not writing each other letters, that he journals longhand almost every day and his girlfriend is learning to knit. He was open and bright and made the trip better.

Now I’m thinking – and writing about him to you. Asking the question – are you living the way you want?

Here’s some questions meeting him brought up for me – maybe they will be of benefit to you also:

  1. Do I have enough stuff? If so how can I remember that next time some stuff catches my eye?
  2. Are the things around me things I love? If not when will I clean them out and give them away?
  3. What brings me the greatest joy? Am I doing that enough and planning to do it more?


I’m happy to report – the answers to these questions for me are yes, yes and yes – and still – I’m going to think more minimal – I’m going to clear out some unused or unneeded stuff – and plan even more to do the things that make my heart sing.

How about you?

Let me know what you think or what you do to live minimal – it’s interesting and when we help each other – we all benefit –

Blessings, Shawna

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