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A morally, ethically sound person feels ridiculous when forced to say something they know is false.
I knew this all along.
But Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists put this into words I could truly understand and share.
Bear with me as I highlight the key section of their guest post on Becoming Minimalist. It’s absolutely worth reading yourself.
One thing that helps us these days is to say something out loud. There is an unavoidable ridiculousness factor to certain incongruent statements when we say them out loud. Go on, give it a try. Let’s start with the easy ones, the ones that won’t sound ridiculous. Let’s start with the important things in your life. Say these things out loud. Heck, shout them if you feel like it:
‘My family is incredibly important to me. It is immensely important for me to contribute to other people in a meaningful way. I don’t know where I would be without my close friends. It is extremely important for me to live a healthy life.’
Did you say them out loud? See, none of those things sound ridiculous. That’s because they are congruent with your beliefs, they coincide with the tone, passion, and conviction of the statements themselves.
But try these on for size. Try to say these things out loud with the same conviction and passion and feel the difference.
‘This T-shirt is incredibly important to me. It is immensely important for me to go to the mall and shop today. I don’t know where I would be without my khaki pants, they are so important to me. It is extremely important for me to eat that extra piece of pie.’
You get the point. Ridiculous, right? They are ridiculous even though they are the same sentences structurally. You just replaced a few words when you said them out loud. The problem is that you know these things intellectually but not emotionally. In other words, you don’t feel it in your gut.
My article here is not just a supplement to what Joshua and Ryan wrote. And it’s not about preaching what you should value.
Like The Minimalists, my intention is never to give a lecture from “someone who knows best.”
This is about helping you shift your priorities if you need a push. It’s a reminder than you and I aren’t the center of the universe.
If you know someone whose lifestyle is out of alignment with their values – or what they want their values to be – share this with them. And if this resonates with you, share it freely via email, social media, or whatever method you use to spread an idea whose time has come.
What You Should Have Them Say
Joshua and Ryan gave some powerful examples of statements you should say to yourself. I want you to empower other people by having them say these 49 statements to you or in front of their family and friends.
This challenge can be done tactfully and free of conflict when you approach it with the proper intentions.
You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too. – Anne LaMott
So help someone tell the truth and create the spark for a big change.
Help your friend or co-worker drowning in debt say some of these things to jump start their freedom from the shackles of liability.
Help that family member – too selfish to see their own greed – realize the biggest rewards are reserved for those who focus on everyone else.
And if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, say these things yourself.
Say, I value:
- Worrying about how I’m going to die over obsessing about how I want to live
- Spending most of my time chasing money I don’t need versus spending time with family and friends
- Waiting for the perfect scenario to act over just freakin’ starting today
- Not starting anything hard over growing as a person
- Being able to prepare, eat, and clean up a meal in fifteen minutes rather than making my own food, knowing its ingredients, and staying healthy
- Not knowing why I do what I do over finding out what makes me tick
- Mentally checking when overwhelmed more than being constantly present
- Being ignorant about investing rather than ensuring my continued purchasing power
- Not acknowledging my problems instead of asking people to help me do something about them
- Staying up late watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet more than getting enough sleep
- Not investing some money now over gaining the tools I need to realize my future talents
- Trusting the instincts of others over listening to my own inner voice
- Not reducing my unrewarding commitments over being a fully engaged parent
- Living an insular life over seeking fresh relationships that could become amazing future friendships
- Creating multiple versions of me for different physical and social contexts over having just one, authentic me
- Being entertained over being informed
- Pointing out everyone else’s shortcomings over focusing on my own
- Spending on consumables over timeless experiences traveling or exploring
- Being clueless about the science of healthy lifestyles over learning to overturn long-held assumptions about what’s healthy and what’s not
- Focusing on what you do and how you do it over why you do it
- Struggling with repeated processes over one-time efforts that put my future success on autopilot
- Hiding from change over being blindsided by personal evolution
- Having no intention behind what I do over understanding the motivation behind my actions
- Blaming everyone else for my problems over taking personal responsibility
- Hiding my true feelings more than letting people know where they stand with me
- Judging others over understanding why someone makes the choices they do
- Having fleeting feelings of personal happiness over creating long-term happiness in others
- Spending more time learning over applying what I already know
- Highlighting our differences over finding common ground
- Keeping endless clutter (just in case) over intentionally assessing what I really need
- Buying momentary joy through presents over breaking the label of “consumer”
- Convincing myself I can “start tomorrow” over actually doing something positive today
- Building a protective shell over growing from within
- Beating myself up rather than finding a movement or belief to empower me
- Being weighed down by my limiting beliefs over shattering them
- Depending on a system run by others instead of creating my own
- Follow generic advice and clichés over a customized kick in the pants
- Saying yes when I can’t afford to over being able to say no to overwhelming promises
- Competing against everyone else more than collaborating to make a bigger pie
- Forcing myself into a work niche over expressing all my talents at once
- Self-preservation and conformity over self-expression and happiness
- Forgetting why I do this work over learning the power of enough
- Holding on to secret grudges over resolving problems right away
- Sticking to a paper filled world over the possibility of paperless
- Thinking only safe thoughts over letting something radical and game-changing enter my brain
- Avoiding selfless acts more than doing what’s right, regardless of who’s looking
- Taking everything for granted over showing gratitude frequently and deeply
- Following someone else’s vision over establishing my own vision
- Not leveraging my experiences rather than curating them to express who I am (and help others)
What You Should Have Me Say
Now that you’ve empowered yourself or someone else, I need to empower myself.
I’m deficient in many ways and want to declare them publically. The goal is to make myself feel ridiculous enough that not doing something about these things is even more ridiculous.
I, Joel Zaslofsky, value:
- Prioritizing sub-optimal health over doing regular yoga and bodyweight exercises
- My addiction to sugar more than a binge-free eating existence
- Doing boring tasks that could be outsourced over using that time to build my legacy
- Wasting hours reading too slowly over spending some money and time learning speed reading
- Spending time in online forums helping strangers over helping friends and family
- Checking and sending emails over eliminating distractions and creating useful things
- Being a good minimalist more than being a good papa
This is Me Actually Saying It to You
So you know I’m serious, click play on the audio player and listen to my actual words.
Can’t see the audio player? Right click here to download the MP3 or read this on Value of Simple if You’re viewing it via RSS or Email.
What Someone Should Have You Say
Tell us in the comments at least one thing someone should make you say to tell the truth.
And then actually have someone make you say it.
To a stranger on the bus. To the love of your life. To your dog and your child. To your best friend.
Record a clip saying it and post it in an online forum. Link to it in the comments here so the rest of the awesome community can see how sincere you are and help you be accountable for a specific change.
Do something now, feel ridiculous, overcome the powerful lies we tell ourselves, and finally tell the truth.