1 Simple Strategy to Save $2,000 this Holiday and Make Everyone Love You Forever

November 26th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

This post is going to go viral, so if you’re here for the first time let me introduce myself to those of you who are new.

My name is Everett Bogue, and I think you’re an idiot.

Why? Because you think that buying people things for Christmas will make them love you.

You think this for a lot of reasons, here are a few of them.

  1. You’ve been giving and getting presents at Christmas since the dawn of time. It must be right, right?
  2. You watched TV and saw all of the happy faces around the Christmas tree in the Coca Cola commercials, in the car commercials, in the clothing commercials. Going to to the mall to buy things for people must be what Christmas is all about, right?
  3. You haven’t followed up as to where the stuff that you bought everyone for Christmas actually ended up by the time New Years came around (hint: the closet, where no one has to look at what you gave them.)

Why your reality is broken.

The simple fact is that your mind has been manipulated by mega-corporations into the mess that it is now. You’ve been bombarded by advertising since the day you were born telling you that the only way Christmas would be a success was if you spent somewhere around $1,000 on gifts for people.

Gallup estimates the average American will spend $714 on Christmas gifts that no one actually needs this year. If you hadn’t read this post, you probably would have spent way more. There’s no need to thank me yet, keep reading.

What they didn’t tell you about Christmas-gift-giving is that no one actually cares anymore. They don’t want the stuff you’re buying them. In fact, everyone you give gifts to is trying to recycle them, donate them, or stuff them in their attic as soon as possible.

Think about it this way: when was the last time you got something for Christmas that you really wanted?

I’m waiting… still nothing? Exactly.

If you didn’t get anything you wanted, maybe you’re not giving anything that anyone wants either.

Why does no one care about the sweater or flashlight you gave them?

Here’s the deal. We already have way more than we ever needed. Look around, you have everything. Your family has everything. If you didn’t have something you needed, you could go to the corner store or Target and buy it for less than $20.

The reality is that your holiday shopping is overlooking the one thing that everyone actually wants Santa Claus to bring for them.

While you were at the mall running around swiping your credit card, a small child was crying into their pillow asking for something that you never could buy them at the mall.

What is the one thing that everyone wants for Xmas?


One more time: the best gift anyone can get for Christmas is freedom. Why?

Because the #1 most valuable commodity in the world is freedom. The ability to live on your own terms, doing what you want to do with your life.

And the fact that you’re buying crap for people is in direct opposition of the most important goal in everyone’s life. What is everyone’s goal? Freedom.

One more time, just in case you missed it: more stuff ≠ freedom.

You know what the worst part about this whole equation is? The crap you’re buying for people is getting in the way of your own freedom too. Couldn’t you use all of that cash you’re spending on stuff for people’s closets on making your own life better? I think so.

How to operate with a blown mind.

I understand, you’re confused and scared. What I’m saying is blowing your mind. Has every Christmas gift you’ve given been a waste?

Well, no. You see, for a long time having a lot of things was a sign of wealth. People who had money would buy fancy cars and decorate their living rooms with all of the nicest Ikea furniture.

But somewhere along the way that changed. The fact is that our generation, yours and mine, is starting to figure out that there is a better way to display your wealth. This generation is calling themselves a lot of things. Some operate under the moniker of Minimalist Freedom Fighters, others call this generation The New Rich.

Our generation is the most mobile generation ever. We live out of backpacks, wandering the world in search of experiences. We don’t want another set of Ultimate Scrabble or another dinky flashlight/radio, because we already have it on our iPhone — and besides, it wouldn’t fit into our backpack.

What is certain is this: the less you have the more choices you have to pursue your dreams.

If dreams are like fairies, every time you give a Christmas present, Tinkerbell falls out of the sky somewhere and a lost boy cries.

So how can we fix Christmas?

If you’ve stuck around long enough to get to this point in the blog post, I’d like to offer some resources in order to save a shit-ton of money, as well as make people want to sit next to you at the dining room table at Christmas.

1. Use your resources to help someone achieve their dreams.

All of your friends and family are trying to achieve something (probably freedom, see above.) If you have the resources to spend tons of money on Christmas gifts, then you have the ability to re-direct those resources towards helping your family achieve great things. Ask your little cousin what they want to learn, and then help them pay for a class so they can learn it. Does your cousin need more education in order to rock the opportunities the world has to offer? Ask and see if there’s anyway you can help. Does your sister need funding to get her minimalist business off the ground? Maybe give her a few hundred bucks with no strings attached. If you don’t have any friends or family who need help, consider investing your money in Kiva International so that entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries can help themselves and their families this holiday season.

2. Two inexpensive and under-appreciated gifts.

There are two things that can make Christmas dinner better. 1. Hugs, which are COMPLETELY FREE, and so infrequently given. 2. More wine. If you absolutely must buy something, use your money to get something that everyone can share and consume at Christmas dinner — then no one has to try to figure out what the socially acceptable length of time before they can make another trip to Salvation Army is.

3. Sometimes the best gift you can give is to yourself.

What will make your life better? What will make you happier? I know this is a hard question to ask yourself. The answer is almost certainly not giving useless gifts to people who don’t need them. I bet you want to book a trip to Europe right now, don’t you? Well, do it. Or maybe you want to start a small business that pays for your life as you live and work from anywhere? Well, do it. Or maybe you want to learn something? Well, go take a freakin’ class and learn something new!

You’ve only got a short time on this planet, so don’t waste it being conned into wasting your money on stupid junk by giant corporations. You’re worth more to yourself than that.


This post is going to go viral without your help, because it matters this holiday season.

But, if you liked the message and don’t want to get another flashlight for Christmas, I’d love if you’d send this to your entire family, all of your friends, and perhaps your neighbors too. Definitely send it to that one person in your family who always buys you junk that you don’t need, you know who they are.

A great way to forward this on is to use the ‘Like’ on Facebook button, or the Retweet button if you use Twitter. Thank you, and happy Holidays! Ho ho ho ho.

How to Run For Never and Ever

November 20th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

There’s a an old saying that goes something like this “the only way to be truly free is to have nothing at all.”

Obviously I like the saying, most of the time… But sometimes you can see downsides to it.

Like when you’re all alone on a Saturday night, with the rain pouring down on the window outside. A single lamp burns brightly in the corner, illuminating the space that you live in in San Francisco that’s really filled with other people’s stuff.

The upside to being a minimalist location independent is that you can run forever.

The downside to being a minimalist location independent is that you can run forever.

We can live anywhere. We can work from anywhere. We can spend every single day doing whatever the hell we want. But when it comes down to it, is that worth coming back to an empty home?

This blog post isn’t about you, it’s about me. They have a saying in blog world — you’re either writing a me blog or a you blog. FBTS has this weird way of crossing that divide. It’s like a moo blog or something. I can write about me, and somehow you’re still interested? Maybe you aren’t.

To be honest, when I write here, I sometimes forget that 70,000 people are potentially going to read this tomorrow morning. Let’s just ignore that fact for a moment, and publish this post anyway.

Here’s what I’m wrestling with:

I’ve built a life and a business with three key elements.

1. Minimalism. Physical materials are out, information is in. I don’t own a lot of stuff, I encourage you to embrace this lifestyle too, because I like it.
2. Location independence. I can work from anywhere, I’m my own boss. Right now I’m making more money than I ever need. The easiest way to be rich is to embrace minimalism.
3. Automation. I don’t have to work much at all, because my business is automated. Most weeks I work less than 10 hours. I check my email once a day. I’ve even outsourced the copy-editing of my e-books, so I don’t even have to worry about that anymore.

These three elements present a pretty sweet deal, but for the last few days I’ve been thinking intensely about the dark side of the whole deal. Some might call it the paradox of choice, some might call it Kerouac Syndrome. I’m not sure what to call it.

I just know that somewhere inside me I’m battling an urge to run. I want to throw all of my stuff in a bag and get as far away from everywhere as possible.

…and I have no idea why. Maybe by the end of this blog post I’ll have some idea. Maybe you will too. Maybe you’ll think I’m nuts and unsubscribe from my blog (I hope you do!)

Maybe I’ve just been running for so long that I don’t know how to quit. Maybe it’s because I got the unrepressed hunter/gatherer genetics. Maybe I’ve just gotten addicted the feeling of walking down new streets for the first time. Maybe it’s just so much easier to say goodbye than it is to wade through the muck of normal every day living.

Maybe it’s the freezing rain that just moved in with the San Francisco winter.

These are real issues that the future of humanity will have to deal with.

When we’re all working and living anywhere, how will we know when we’ve wandered too far from home?

I’ve become so good at meeting new people, that I sometimes forget how to keep up with the people I’ve known forever. I’m living so in the moment that all I see is the face across the table from me, but so often it’s the last time I see that face again. Faces are beginning to blur together into pool of human potential and energy, devoid of individual characteristics.

The more people I meet, the more I feel like I’m just meeting the same twelve people (models?) over and over again.

You aren’t alone.

The reality is that this isn’t just me that feels this way, I know you do too. I know this because I’m not the only person who set out on this journey. In fact, most of my friends can’t seem to find a reason to throw roots down anywhere. For every friend I have that stays put, there are two more who are living everywhere and anywhere.

We’re the digital vagabonding generation, that much is certain.

This reality isn’t a fad, it isn’t going to stop being the way we live. Freedom is a result of exotropy, and that’s been going on as long as the Universe has existed.

Technology has given us greater freedom, and so we took it. But now we’re all Skyping each other late at night wondering what it was like to get a hug from someone who you’ve known for longer than three weeks.

It’ll be easier once we invent the teleporter, then I can just beam wherever for brunch. Come on people, quantum entanglement isn’t that hard to implement on a larger scale. We have all of the other Star Trek gadgets, why can’t Scotty beam me to you, so I can see what it’s like to look into your real eyes one more time?

Anonymity is addictive.

For a long time we were worried about how the Internet would end privacy as we know it. That’s all a dead issue now, google knows where you sleep and there’s nothing you can do about that. The simple fact is that once everyone knows everyone about everyone, your privacy is assured because there’s so much information out there that no one has time to do anything but try to find time for themselves.

That being said, the anonymity of being the new person in town can be addictive. Wandering down the street knowing that there is no possible chance that you’ll ever bump into anyone you know has it’s charms. Wandering into parties where you know no one can be kind of fun, once you learn enough about networking and charisma to avoid wallflowering.

When you’re anonymous, all everyone gets to know is your story. What you tell them is what they believe. You could be anyone. You’re Jason Bourne for a night, and then you’re gone forever. No one even Facebooked you, because they never caught your name. And if they did, now all they can do is ‘Like’ your next blog post…

Maybe what I’m wrestling with is that I can see everyone else’s future but my own.

I know where you’re headed, and you’re going to do amazing things. You’re all on a path to figuring out exactly how to embrace the advantages of this new society we’re building. I know, because I’ve been there.

And meanwhile I’m here sitting in the rain wondering where to run to next, but I have no idea where to. I don’t know what I’m running from and where I’m going.

So I write to you instead, maybe it’ll help. Maybe…

Strategies for anchoring the drifters (maybe only temporarily.)

The only option seems to be simple: stop running. Sit down, and shut up long enough to embrace the idea that you could find a place called home.

Plant a flag somewhere, anywhere, and sit on a spot long enough so that you can feel some sort of attachment (albeit, somewhat nervous for the group of people we’re talking about.)

…and then sit with it. Sit with the anxiety of staying. Sit with the idea that you might be around the same people long enough for them to see you on a down day. Sit down with someone long enough for them to dig under the perfect smile long enough to see the dark past that you’re trying to hide (from yourself or from them?).

…sit with the idea a person might get comfortable enough with you to assume that you’re going to be around for awhile.

This probably means walking through the rain for a winter, it probably means letting down your guard, it probably means learning people’s names, and it probably means giving up every other future that running forever could bring.

I love San Francisco so much that I could stay here forever, and that’s what I’m afraid of.

Candle lit Yoga to the People on Sunday nights will never get old.

Climbing to the top of Bernal Heights to watch the sun set will never get old.

Eating carne asada burritos (mindfully!?) after yoga will never get old.

Reading a book at Four Barrel while they play Led Zeppelin LPs will never get old.

So, I ask you this question…

How can you be a wanderer, and still have a home?

Why You Shouldn’t Believe (how to experience for yourself)

November 16th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

As many of you know, for the last few weeks (and the next few) I’ve been studying yoga intensively at Yoga to the People in San Francisco.

I’ve been learning a lot of things, many of which I can’t begin to convey in a way that would be understandable to you yet. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding takes awhile to coalesce into anything close to being presentable across the Internet.

The origins of yoga extend backwards 5,000 years into the history of the entire world. We think of yoga as being from India, but in actuality the practice has been built by all of humanity, a technology for building better human beings.

Yoga isn’t the point of this article though, belief is.

Recently we sat down for a lecture on the Koshas, which is yogic belief system which speaks of the different layers of the body. The physical body, the energy body, the mental body, the wisdom body, the bliss body, and finally underneath all of that the true self.

Most people are obsessed with the physical body, and the physical things around them. This leads to the current state of materialism in the world — and why materialism in and of itself is deeply unsatisfying to most people. It’s because there’s so much more.

I’m pretty fascinated with the energy body right now, Pranamaya. How we gain, use, and lose energy is incredibly important. I think that much of the work we’re doing to free people is at its base convincing them to free their energy. So they can breathe again.

When someone burns all of their junk, they feel incredibly free. When you get out of a relationship, suddenly energy comes from everywhere. It’s all interconnected into a part of ourselves that many of us are deeply disconnected from.

But this is also not the point of this article. Let me get to it.

The first thing the lecturer told us was simple:

“Don’t believe anything that I tell you.”

And then followed with:

“All of this you must experience for yourself.”

I think this approach is so incredibly important for you, and I, to understand.

I can tell you to burn your notebooks all you want, in order to free creative energy, but how are you going to know what it feels like until you experience it yourself? The article I wrote on freeing yourself from your past lives was incredibly powerful for a lot of people, but in order to actually experience what I’m talking about, you’re going to have to experience yourself.

How does it feel to delete the photos of your ex-boyfriend?

How does it feel to sell the house you’ve lived in for the last 26 years?

How does it feel to drop your TV off your roof?

How does it feel to move to the other side of the country?

How does it feel to not have a home at all?

How does it feel to swap out bacon egg and cheeses for breakfast fruit?

How does it feel to make $27 (or $2,300?) of location-independent income?

All of these seem like really good ideas, theoretically. But they also could be really bad ideas in practice. But you just don’t know until you try them.

Every lesson I’ve taught you in the last year on this blog has been very much optional. Also, every lesson I’ve taught you could be the wrong match for a lot of people. I like living a unrooted lifestyle. I gain energy from wandering the streets of San Francisco, smiling at the tranquility in the chaos. You might not be so into that, but you don’t know until you try.

Self-evolution happens in different ways for different people.

If you’d caught me two years ago, glanced off the top of my cubicle and told me that in one year I’d be working less than 2 hours a day, practicing and learning about yoga for 35 hours a week, I would have told you that you were nuts. …and yet, here I am.

If I told you that your wildest dream was possible, would you really believe me? Do you believe yourself when you tell you?

The human mindbody is incredible. It can convince you that you have great power. It can convince you that you have great worry. It can hold onto anything. The mind can give you a life of suffering or a life of joy. You really are the decisive element in every situation. The work that we’re doing here, is very much an exercise in exploring how far we can push our minds into believing that we’re actually capable of living in a way that is important.

Many of the best books I’ve read in the last year weren’t good because of the writing, they weren’t good because of the content, these books were good because they retrained my mind to think in a very specific beneficial way.

Books like Think and Grow Rich, The 4 Hour Workweek, Tribes all show you that success isn’t a result, it’s a mindset. Happiness isn’t a quantification, it’s a mindset.

We have control over our minds.
We have control over our bodies.
We have control over how we gain energy, lose energy, store energy and use energy.
We can also control the minds of other people, consciously or unconsciously.

There are so many ways to do this, but most people don’t investigate them (yoga is one.) Instead they sit in front of the TV, mindlessly sucking up whatever is in front of them. Their energy sinks into the couch cushions.

Mindsets are patterns. The pattern created from nightly watching TV is much different from the pattern of nightly practicing yoga with 75 people in candle light.

Let me bring this back to the point of this article:

Don’t believe me, and don’t believe anyone else. You need to experience all of this from yourself, you can’t just keep subscribing to my blog waiting for the change to come about. These words are only permission for you to embark on your own exploration of a reality that you have access to. In fact, I’d love if you’d unsubscribed to my blog if it would help put you on the path to experiencing real life.

You’re not going to know what it’s like to live without a TV until you do.

You’re not going to know what it’s like to eat fruit for breakfast every morning until you do.

You’re not going to know how much energy you gain from practicing yoga twice a day (in a beneficial way) until you do.

You’re not going to know what it’s like to throw away all of your stuff and move across the country until you do.

You’re not going to know what it’s like to read people’s energy from across the room until you do.

You’re not going to know if what I talk about is an unrealistic fantasy world, or if anything is possible, until you do.

Maybe it’s time to start working towards a reality that you can believe in — one that you’re experiencing for yourself…

…you won’t know if it’s possible until you do.


If you’re trying to figure out how to do a good interview, Nina Yau did an incredibly good one with me here.


I really hope you’ll check out Tara Sophia Mohr’s blog today — she’s involved an epic project called The Girl Effect, which I believe will change the world. Tara and I spoke to a class at Stanford last week, which was a blast.

Basically, investing in women in the 3rd world is been proven to make lasting change. When you give money to men in Africa (or anywhere) they tend to spend it on booze and motorcycles (I know, because I have, and I don’t even live in Africa.) Women tend to build businesses and support their families.

Go help Tara and women everywhere out, by retweeting her stuff. Women are so powerful. Thank you for your help! — Everett

The Whole World is Our Home, In A Lot of Ways

November 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow him on Facebook/Twitter.

“Every time I try to create a home, it ends up being a prison. So I stopped trying. I got rid of all of my stuff. Now I live in coffee shops, in the streets, in bars… I come and go as I please. I stay when I want, I leave when I want. And it works, for now…?” -Anonymous.

“For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood.” -Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot.

The future of a generation.

Over the last few months, as I’ve wandered the streets of San Francisco and parsed the depths of the Internet, I’ve started to see an interesting trend.

A year ago I seemed like a radical when I tossed out all of my stuff. A year ago, when I jumped on a plane and headed to the other side of the country, I seemed like a prophet — now everyone’s doing it. A growing legion of surprising individuals are living this way, and it seems absolutely natural to most.

Yes, you can point to the few that come back and settled back down in Kansas and say that location independence is only a temporary escapade. However, you can always find the few who change their minds and hit the road again. For every one who gives up, there are 10 free individuals who are out there exploring.

And the numbers keep growing.

Three years ago I saw my generation banging their head against a wall trying to be professionals like their parents told them to. Now I see my generation as something entirely new. A class of people that never existed before. We’re Jack Kerouacs tapped into the 3G network.

As Colin Wright recently said in his interview with Nina Yau: “The whole world is my home, in a lot of ways.”

There have always been wanderers, but we’re different.

There have always been the wandering few. Hippydippy gutter punks, begging for money on the street, and Vagabonders who saved up a few thousands dollars before taking off for a three month stint in east Asia, coming back when they ran out of cash to save up in their mom’s basement to rejoin society.

But this generation (yours and mine — and this generation is vast, I’m seeing people doing this who are 18, I’m seeing people doing this who are 60) is different. We have the ability to live anywhere perpetually.

What changed?

The difference I think is this: The Internet is caring for our wellbeing.

Before the web, we were isolated and alone. We had to tether ourselves to a company that would take care of us (until they didn’t need us anymore.) Leaving was a big deal, because there was no way to live and work from anywhere. Now? I don’t have to leave my friends when I go places.

I can see my friend Rachel Sol playing with baby tigers and riding on elephants in Bangkok. I can keep track of my buddy Chris Dame as he adventures around the world. I can Skype with anyone, anywhere and see their faces.

And we can talk about the money-making potential of the Internet all day long, but I’ve already pretty much covered that in Minimalist Business.

The barriers between people are breaking down.

A few years ago, it was really weird to meet people off the Internet. Now I’d never meet people any other way (except at Yoga class.)

Now every week I go to yoga class with a person or two who I met off the Internet (next week Maren Kate! Yay!)

For this generation, the barriers are gone. In fact, we know for a fact that using Twitter, blogs, etc is a much better way to meet your people. The whole random night out thing seems antiquated in comparison to identifying friends who have incredibly similar interests to you in the soup of society.

I’m starting to be more comfortable meeting people from the online space than I am with random strangers. It’s just so much more useful.

Some of my best friends these days are entrepreneurs and bloggers who I met through the online social space — and anywhere I go there’s the potential of meeting a brand-new pool of people who are doing similar work to me instantly via these tools. This wasn’t possible, everything has changed.

The idea of what we were going to be become is dead, and we’re in this weird new space before the next level begins.

If that’s me lying there, than what am I?

The aspect of this whole equation that’s been puzzling me is this: who are we?

We’re this mobile generation that lives out of bags. We outsource most of our needs to the society we left. We don’t consume. We work from anywhere. We aren’t afraid of the world anymore. We have no boundaries.

I’m looking for a word to describe this, but I can’t find it. Location-independent doesn’t cut it. Minimalist doesn’t cut it. The New Rich doesn’t cut it. Sean Bonner tried to label us Technomads — maybe that works?

I suppose in the end a name is just a name is just a name. We are who we are. Deep down we know that we’re different than the rest of settled societies. We know we’re the future of everything.

There are very real issues that we need to discuss or discover though. How do we deal with relationships in a location independent world? How can we develop more support systems for perpetual travelers? Is living this way for everyone, or just a small group of brave individuals? What will our generation look like when we suddenly all have headsets that read our brainwaves (we will all have these in 3 years, I will write blog posts with my brain)? These are all real questions, but I don’t have all the answers.

This much is true: I have a feeling living this way is a lot more natural to us than sitting alone in front of a TV in the suburbs.

We’re the hunters, the explorers of the new era — and every day more of you join us.


Oh! Before you forget. I need to tell you about an incredible opportunity for a few people who need it. My friend Satya Colombo has put together a remarkable educational program called The Freedom Business Summit, where he’s conducted extensive interviews with 12 extraordinary individuals in the generation I described above — learn how they did it, and how you can too. There’s also some excellent free material available for everyone, which I’d love for you to check out.

Anyway, the price for the Freedom Business Summit doubles on Friday night (Nov/12) at midnight PST, so I figured I’d let you know before it does. As I said before, this isn’t for everyone. If you learn best by listening, and want to hear from extraordinary people like Leo Babauta, Danielle Laporte and Tammy Strobel, this might be a great opportunity for you.

Best, Everett

How to Destroy Your Past Lives (starting over)

November 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

“The hydrogen atoms in a human body completely refresh every seven years. As we age we are really a river of cosmically old atoms. The carbons in our bodies were produced in the dust of a star. The bulk of matter in our hands, skin, eyes, and hearts was made near the beginning of time, billions of years ago. We are much older than we look.” – Kevin Kelly, from his new book What Technology Wants.

I like the idea that every seven years we’re a totally new person. A whole new set of hydrogen atoms, a whole new reason to reinvent ourselves. Obviously this whole new person is defined somewhat by the grand design of our DNA structure, and the choices we make, but it still is a whole new body at it’s basic structural level.

For example, the me who ate bacon egg and cheeses every morning and while sitting at a desk and eventually developed a 34 inch waist line 3 years ago is very different from the me now — with a 29 inch waist line, who eats mostly fruit, veggies, coffee and the amazing food at The Summit SF, while taking double or triple yoga classes a day.

Frequently we find ourselves dwelling on the past.

We remember the night we said goodbye to the little blond girl in the rain that one night in Manhattan. We remember the time we danced all night until the sun came out in the basement of a school in Brooklyn. We remember the time that we took that first photo of the first day we got dropped off in New York. We remember the time we rode our bike to Lake Michigan at 4am and watched the sun come up over the horizon.

These were all beautiful moments, but they happened in the past. In many ways they happened a lifetime ago.

There’s a reason that so many spiritual and philosophical practices focus on bringing you into the present moment, your breath, your heartbeat. Because these two things can only happen now, not then, not in the future.

Many of the people who contact me about becoming minimalist are struggling with a past that they cannot forgive or forget. So they hold on. They hold onto the rocks they collected in 7th grade. They hold onto the memories of the loves they never really had. They hold onto the art they created five years ago, but never sold. They hold, hold, hold.

And these collections of memories, physical or emotional build up over time. These people become heavier and heavier, until they find no rest. They do this until all of their energy is dedicated towards keeping the past alive.

The reality is that the past is dead. It happened, it shaped who you are, but it’s gone now.

And it’s never coming back.

No matter how many Facebook messages you send to your high school ex-girlfriend/boyfriend when you’re drunk at night, you’re never going to be 17 again. You’re never going to share the connection you had then.

No matter how many times you look at that picture of the perfect halloween, with the displaced tribe of a dozen remarkable individuals, they’ll never be together again in the same way.

And this is okay. The world changes. We evolve into new and better individuals every single day.

The choice though is this: will you continue to build up your energy in order to focus on the person you were back then?

Or can you let it go, to concentrate on the faces around you now?

Can you look up into the eyes of the person across from you at the table at the coffee shop, or on the yoga mat next to you, or on the other side of that email and say:

“I am here with you now.”

Because, you are.

Here are a few actions that I’ve taken to clear the past, maybe they can help you.

1. Destroy your old unpublished work.

In the last few years I’ve adopted an incredibly healthy habit of burning Moleskin notebooks. When I’ve finished one, I take it somewhere like the edge of a body of water or the top of a mountain and a burn it. I like to think this releases the creative energy invested in the work into the universe, so that it can come back to me or others at a later date.

I’ve been writing a non-fiction story, a dialog between a young woman and man who survive the apocalypse and then go on to save the world, in notebooks for the last few years. Every time I finish a notebook, I burn it, then start writing the story again. Every time I write the story again it’s clearer, more focused, more important. Someday maybe I’ll actually write a version that I want to publish, or maybe it’s just an exercise to bring me closer to the creative side of my brain, who knows?

This also means I can’t grab a notebook and flip back to remind myself about how I felt about some girl I was in love with five years ago when I feel down at 3am on a Tuesday night. I can still feel down, but without the physical connection to the memory it’s that much harder to escape to the past.

I’ve been thinking about taking all of the photos/data on my hard drives collected from the dawn of time and destroying them too. I’ll let you know if/when I do how that feels. I never look at this stuff, why keep it?

2. Don’t collect souvenirs.

It might be obvious from the fact that I live with around 50 things that I don’t collect stuff from places. I don’t have any artifacts to remind me of my trip to Vietnam. I didn’t buy a I Heart NY shirt on the day I left NY. I don’t save sea shells.

If I feel like I need to be connected to an awesome experience, I go out into the world and have one.

3. I lose touch with (most) old friends.

There are certain people who I have a cosmic connection with, who I will continue to visit every time I wander through the city that they live in. We’ll go to each others weddings, we’ll say each others eulogies, we’ll make dinner together every time we cross paths.

My friends who are these people know who they are, and I know who they are. We just know, there’s no other way of explaining why.

But most people aren’t those people. Over the last year I’ve met thousands of people, I’ve received tens of thousands of emails. I’ve said ‘until next time’ to hundreds at the end of the night. Most of these people I’ll never actively seek out again, in essence, we’ll lose touch.

This sounds sad, but it isn’t. The fact is that most people aren’t your people. They’re just bodies passing in space and time. They might have something to teach you in the moment, but after that moment they don’t need your help anymore.

So you let them go.

Why we need to destroy our past lives.

The world is speeding up. 100 years ago, you’d probably have the same small group of friends who supported each other for your entire life. You never left the town you were born in. In order to get in touch you had to send a postcard via the, uhm, snail mail? Whatever that is.

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon to live many different lives over the course of your own. You’ll morph, change, your life will transition. You’ll move dozens or hundreds of times as the ever-growing cloud of connected information cares for your survival.

You have a choice, you can either let the pain and joys of the past build up until they’re too heavy a burden. Or, you can let everything go. Burn your notebooks, let the friends go, leave the souvenirs at the shop.

All that really matters is having a connection with the here and now. This breath, this movement, this heart beat.

What can you do to bring yourself here right now?

How to Create an A-List Minimalism Blog in Less than 6-Months

November 2nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

It’s been a little over a year since I started writing on Far Beyond The Stars in October of 2009, and my blog has seen incredible growth. Since the CBS Evening News interview aired, I passed 7,000 subscribers, which is blowing my mind.

All of this happened because I did a few things that other people didn’t, this is why I thought I’d dissect the anatomy of an A-list minimalist blog so that you can come to this place.

Now, maybe you’re not aiming to launch an A-list minimalism blog. That’s fine, I’m really only writing this for the people out there who are striving to inspire the world to follow this path.

If you’re not into this type of post, I’d love if you’d skip it. Go get a coffee and enjoy your life.

If you are writing a minimalism blog that isn’t quite getting traction yet (or if you’re thinking of starting one,) maybe you need to read on.

How many readers do you need to be successful?

When I say A-list minimalist blog, I don’t mean you need hundreds of thousands of readers. 1,000 true fans will do just fine, just ask Kevin Kelly about that.

If you’ve just started blogging about minimalism, maybe this can help your blog grow.

If you’ve been struggling with obtaining traffic to your minimalism blog, maybe this will finally give you the kick you need to get your blog off the ground.

If you’ve been thinking of starting, maybe this will help solidify your plans.

Not everyone will be successful.

Now, creating an a-list minimalism blog isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is willing to live the lifestyle necessary to be a leader in this growing niche. It takes the courage of a leader, and a willingness to push the boundaries of society on a path that few seek to tread.

Are you up for the challenge?

I’ve collected my thoughts into 9 elements necessary for a successful minimalism blog. There are undoubtedly more elements, but these are the most important.

Disclaimer: Now, before you even think about emailing me asking for help making your blog a success, make sure you’ve implemented at least 80% of these rules. I get a lot of emails from people who want help, and 9 times out of 10 I’m just going to tell you one of these things.

9 times out of 10 the first element is the only thing I tell people to do, and they don’t even listen to me — and then they wonder why no one subscribes.

So listen first, then act. Repeat, until you’ve actually done some of the things that I’ve listed. Then email me asking why your blog doesn’t work, maybe I can help you then.

1. Live the change you want to make in the world.

Over the last year, a few minimalism blogs have skyrocketed way past others in popularity. This rule distinguished them all from the rest.

If you’re going to advocate for minimalism, you better damn well actually be living a minimalist lifestyle.

Simply talking about minimalism, while living in the status-quo, is not enough. No one will believe you if you’re not actually living the life, they’ll simply click over to my blog and subscribe here instead.

How do you live a minimalist life? Well, I went over that in a book I wrote. If you’re still stumped, rent a dumpster and throw all of your stuff in it. Take your car to the center of town and light it on fire (but don’t tell them I told you to do it.) Living with less than 50 things is a good benchmark for most people these days, if you’re into counting your stuff.

I’m sorry, but you just can’t have a raging minimalist fan following if you’re living like a normal person. It just doesn’t work that way.

2. Fight for freedom.

Humans weren’t designed to sit at desks until their lumbar spine fuses irreversibly to their inner thighs. Humans weren’t meant to eat meal worms (my codename for any product made out of processed corn) for breakfast. Humans weren’t meant to drive around in solitary stupid people pods. Humans weren’t meant to be popping pills every morning in a desperate attempt to find artificial happiness. Humans weren’t meant to wander around fluorescently lit shopping malls being told what to buy by huge corporations.

If you’re still doing any of the above things on a regular basis, no one will care about your minimalism blog. Is that hard to hear? Well, do something about changing your life first and then come back to writing about minimalism.

This means that the first order of business is for you to find freedom. In order to do that, see rule #1.

3. Challenge and be prepared to be challenged.

You can’t be safe anymore, the stakes are too high. So many of the newer or perpetually smaller minimalism blogs I read are tiptoeing around the issues in an attempt to make everyone happy. You can’t make everyone happy, the truth is that some people are living in a way that’s keeping them in perpetual wage-slavery and debt for their entire lives.

If you keep approaching your encouragement from the angle of ‘well, you could maybe make a box of stuff and get rid of it, if you want to.’ Then people will continue to not care about you. Why? Because we need leaders who are willing to stand up and fight for the truth that we believe in.

If you stand up for something you believe in, you better believe that the status-quo will fight back. For every “omg, you changed my life” email I receive, I get another one from a confused person with a $350,000 mortgage on their house wondering why I’m ripping on their over-extended lifestyle. Why am I? because you’re a slave to a system that originally bought you.

4. Be a human.

Every time I Skype with a blogger who wants to know the secrets of minimalist blogging success, the first thing out of my mouth is always. “Put a goddamn picture of your face on your blog’s front page.”

This is why I’m establishing a rule, as of today, that I will not Skype with any blogger who has not taken this advice.


If you want to know what a picture of your face on the front of your blog looks like, scroll up to the top of my blog and look over there –>

Why? Because no one is subscribing to your blog because they think it was written by a robot, that’s why. There is so much junk out there on the Internet, and we don’t want to read most of it. The easiest way to figure out if I’m not reading junk is to see a picture of a human’s face that says underneath it. “Hi, my name is John Smith, I’m here to teach you about a specific thing.”

Because otherwise we think maybe we stumbled onto something we don’t want to read. If there’s a face, there’s a human connection.

So, before you ask to Skype with me about the secrets of blogging success, please put a picture of your face on the front page of your blog. Put your name under it. Make sure the picture of your face is actually of your face, and not like the top of your face, your face with your hand in front of it, your blurry face, or the back of your head.

No one cares about your creative use of photoshop, what we care about is seeing your beautiful eyes.

5. Link link link link, link one more time.

For those of you who didn’t grow up reading A List Apart every issue since they were 12, allow me to give you the other secret of Internet success. It’s such a secret that most of you have no idea what it is.

Wait for it…

You need to link to people. A link, as in <a href=”http://www.farbeyondthestars.com”>Everett Bogue’s Blog is Freakin’ Brilliant.</a>

It’s called the World Wide Web because it’s supported by an epic amount of links between resources. The pages with the most links rise to the top of the pile. Far Beyond The Stars has so much inbound traffic because there are a lot of people linking into it.

How did I get people to link to me? By linking to people of course! (that and saying things that matter, see rule #3 above.)

Check out the last post, I linked to Tammy Strobel, Chris Guillebeau, Karol Gajda, Colin Wright, Leo Babauta, Corbett Barr, Joshua Becker, and Adam Baker all in the same post. <– oh look, I did it again.

If you take a look back at my achieves, you’ll observe a funny phenomena. I’ve been linking to some of these people, like Tammy Strobel, Chris Guillebeau, Karol Gajda, Colin Wright, Leo Babauta <– look I did it one more time– regularly since the dawn of time. I’ve of course linked to other people too, these are just a few examples.

A good rule of thumb is to include at least 5 outbound links to bloggers in every single post that you write. More is better.

When bloggers see you linking to them in every single post, they want to buy you dinner and a million beers, because they start to see traffic coming from your site. It might be a small amount of traffic at first, but small is better than nothing.

If you want Tammy Strobel to link to you in her famous traffic-driving link-out posts, try linking to her every post for the next three months. Eventually you’ll be sending her hundreds or thousands of hits per month, then she’ll look at her Google Analytics and click over to your site.

Another great way to link to people very quickly is to simply retweet their posts on Twitter and ‘Like’ them on Facebook. In fact, scroll down to the bottom or the top of my post right now and do both of those things so you can get some practice in. Thanks!

6. Establish an all star inner circle.

Did you notice the other thing about the people I linked to, again, above? Well, they’re also my all star inner circle of bloggers. Some of them, like Tammy, I’ve been working with since the beginning of this blog. Others I’ve come to connect with more recently.

I don’t ask people if they want to be part of my all star inner circle, I simply start promoting the crap out of their stuff every single time they post until they visit my site, email me, and then try their best to buy me a beer when they’re in town next.

This is where a lot of you get it wrong. When you email me saying ‘can you promote my stuff?’

First off, that’s just rude to email someone and ask them to promote your stuff.

Second off, why would I want to link to you? Have you done anything for me? Why would I want to pimp out my audience for your blog if you’ve never done anything for me?

This is a similar conversation that goes on in the heads of every single blogger who you’ve emailed saying ‘can you please promote my dumb blog post.’ So, stop approaching it from that angle before it’s too late.

Instead link to their posts until they can’t help but notice you.

7. Make this inner circle out of similarly sized blogs.

The other element of my all star inner circle is that all of the bloggers have a relatively similar-sized following. Leo’s Mnmlist blog has 10,000 subscribers, Tammy‘s blog has 8,000, Adam Baker‘s has 8,000. They’re all just around the same size, or a little bigger, as my own blog.

We didn’t just automatically get birthed into the world with a subscriber count this large. 6 months ago many of the blogs you’re reading now had anywhere from 1,000-3,000 followers. A year ago many of us had 23 followers.

If you have 23 followers, create an all star inner circle out of blogs with 100 followers. Help each other grow by pointing your readers to another similarly sized blog. Believe me, it works.

If you want to know how to send traffic to people, which is the most powerful strategy you can ever employ to make a larger blogger pay attention to you, rewind up to rule #5, read it again and then put links to Karol Gajda‘s blog in every single one of your posts from now until March 2011. Trust me, eventually he’ll notice.

8. Don’t apologize for being awesome.

You’re writing a blog, that’s an amazing thing. You’re doing way better than the other billions of people who aren’t writing a blog. Don’t apologize for being awesome, instead keep creating awesome stuff.

If you write on your blog about how much you’re a failure at life, eventually your readers are going to believe that you’re a failure. Now, I’m not a failure at life, but occasionally I mess up. I don’t write posts about how I messed up when I mess up.

Some people do write posts about how they fail at life regularly, and this really makes people stop believing in them. I’m not going to mention who does this, because I don’t read their blogs anymore.

Never show fear, never show weakness. You know what you’re talking about, so trust yourself. Fake it until you make it.

9. Support yourself by supporting others.

If you’re writing a C-List minimalism blog, there’s no reason why you can’t be paying at least your electric bill selling e-books. If you’re running a B-List minimalism blog, there’s no reason you can’t be paying your rent selling e-books.

There are so many amazing e-books that teach the fundamentals, all the way up to the hard-hitting strategies that you need to apply in order to enter the big leagues.

We’re living in the golden age of e-books, let’s take advantage of that.

How to pay your rent selling e-books: you need to recommend them in order to make money from them. One review is not enough. One interview is not enough. Your audience, which is interested in minimalism, (this is why they read you!!!!) is interested in also buying products that teach them about minimalism.

You’re doing your audience, and yourself, a disservice by not telling them about the amazing resources that are available for them to purchase at every opportunity possible.

The easiest way to do this is simple:

(Feel free to copy and paste these, but remember to put in your own affiliate links so the commission goes to you instead of me.)

“Hey, if you’re interested in delving deeper into living a minimalist lifestyle, Joshua Becker has this amazing e-book called Inside-Out Simplicity.”


“One of the best personal finance e-books I ever read was Adam Baker’s Unautomate Your Finances — it really got me thinking about my spending.”


“When you’re establishing your all star inner circle, it’s important not to come off as a douche-bag who wants to suck away all of your time and attention without contributing value. When I read Colin Wright’s Networking Awesomely, I learned how to contribute value to networking opportunities. Maybe you can too?”


“I’m currently building my business one day at a time by doing one simple action every day. It’s super easy, but I wouldn’t be anywhere without direction from Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Builder Kit. Yes, I know, it’s kind of pricey, but if you think about the value you’re getting every single day, it’s way less than a cup of coffee. Wow!”


“One of the biggest inspirations for my continued business growth has been the amazing work that Tammy Strobel did on her e-book Smalltopia. It really got me thinking about how simple it is to start a small business, if you start small and work your way up from there.”


“If you’re a complete newbie affiliate marketing, IE, you’ve never made a single dime online and want to know how to go from zero to paying your electric bill online, you might want to check out Corbett Barr’s Affiliate Marketing for Beginners. Yes, it’s not for everyone — if you’re already an affiliate marketing rockstar, you need not apply. I learned so much from it though, now I’m making rent money from e-book sales!! Thanks Corbett!”


“Oh, and one more thing. Every single one of these e-books (with the exception of Empire Builder Kit actually) has a 100% money back guarantee if it’s not right for you. So, if you’re not happy just email the authors and you’ll get your money right back! Isn’t the internet age wonderful?”

These are just a few examples that will lead you to a place where you’re paying your rent from your minimalism blog while you’re working towards A-list blogging standards.

Yes, this means you’ll have to learn how to sell things.

But you know what, if you can’t sell someone else’s e-book, how do you think you’ll sell your own? Yeah, I thought that’d hit a nerve. Well, it’s true. Before I launched The Art of Being Minimalist, I was making a small income every month selling Leo Babauta’s A Simple Guide to A Minimalist Life. This is why I knew writing my own minimalist ebook would be a success, because I was already making a killing selling Leo’s.

How do you join an affiliate program? Sign up for a free account with e-junkie, and then follow links from the sales pages of bloggers to their affiliate programs. My affiliate program is here.

Bonus rule #10: Keep working towards your destination.

Writing a blog doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to stress yourself out about becoming an overnight success overnight. Simply keep working towards your goal for a few hours every week.

I didn’t build an A-list minimalism blog overnight, I simply kept plodding in the right direction day after day, week after week, month after month. Eventually I got there!

Focus on the important elements of blog design that I listed above, because chances are most of you aren’t doing the things that I listed above — and they’re simple. You shouldn’t be ignoring them.

If you’re looking for a few newcomers to the minimalist blogging scene to add to your all star mastermind group, these three are doing a lot of things right.

Nina Yau writes at Castles in the Air.

Mike Donghia writes at Art of Minimalism.

Robyn Divine writes at Minimalist Knitter.

Where am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for November, 2010 at Far Beyond The Stars: The Archives.