The Value of Simple Declaration: This is Why We’re Here

“How?” I kept asking myself, “How?”

I knew why we needed to do it.

Based on your insight, I knew what shape it should take and that we wanted it to be found everywhere (on or off the Internet).

But I needed a ton of help with how we were going to take something so conceptually dense – something so knowledge intense – and create a Declaration out of it.

I do a poor Scott Dinsmore impression, but should we channel some of his wisdom in creating declarations that resonate?

I’m not as crisp as Joshua Becker and his images on Facebook, but should we practice the raw minimalism of his pictures?

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

I’m talking about The Value of Simple Declaration.

We explored the origins of the Declaration in December and that brought some clarity. From there, it was a matter of lining up the right graphic designer, collaborating, and about fifty bazillion other little things.

After all, this isn’t my Declaration. This is our Declaration.

It’s just that, communicating the essence of Value of Simple in a single image isn’t easy. And frankly, it ain’t simple.

I had my doubts, but it turns out I was up to the challenge…and so were you.

This article introduces The Value of Simple Declaration, the process of creating it, and what we need to do to inspire the world with the deep mission behind this community.

This is our raw and emotion-charged spirit. Our collective essence distilled into something that will make people say, “Yeah. I get it…and I want that!”

Whether you joined our movement last week, check-in periodically, or have been with us since the beginning, this is for you.

The Origins

I knew we needed what other communities already had; a fast and simple way of communicating the message that, “This is why I feel like I belong here!”

The Connect with Anyone Creed and other “manifesto-like” images were a great starting point.

To that I added conversations with my Lifeline Group, friends, family, and this community to provide clarity on the evolution of Value of Simple. We’ve only been around since last July, but our principles have grown so much already.

This nagging feeling of being incomplete didn’t sit right with me though. I knew we’d be incomplete without a Declaration.

And so a better, more complete vision of what could be was born. Something that is easier to embrace and worth the work to pursue.

I don’t know about you, but the quest for this Declaration felt like a journey to a collective personal renaissance. And the journey was just as important as the goal posts along the way.

Even if you’ve been with us for only a few steps of the journey, I want you to know the process of making The Value of Simple Declaration happen. Not only the cool public parts, but the confusing and illuminating private parts too. I hope you’re proud to know how much energy went into making this awesome.

The Process

From the get-go, this was intended to be a collaborative process. As I’ve said already and continue to repeat, Value of Simple is not me. Value of Simple is not for me. I don’t support the “I’m awesome, click here” mentality.

So it was great to see wonderful insight from amazing people like:

  • Wendy Krueger and her comment suggesting two other declarations to inspire us. She even offered typography recommendations that kept with the simple theme and the nature this community.
  • Sarah Goshman encouraging us to ask “why” each of the statements were relevant
  • Geralin Thomas telling us which statements resonated most, why she keeps coming back here, and why she joins our conversations on Facebook and Twitter
  • Linda Aitkin providing some groovy ideas about keeping the layout uncluttered and reducing the number of statements to avoid diluting the overall message
  • Raye Cage telling us on Facebook that the sides of the Declaration should be less prominent to escape detracting from its essence
  • Gabrielle Star, who did her best impression of me by obsessing over the verb tense to choose for the word “choose” in one of the main statements

I freakin’ love how everyone helped to pick a winner from the three final concepts!

I was thrilled with your thoughts about which statements could be tossed or combined. Because of you, the final version of the Declaration is streamlined big-time.

And somebody. Please give Tim Fau a medal for his patience with me and his creativity in cranking out the beautiful, powerful image! If an atheist like me had the authority to give someone the secular equivalent of sainthood, Tim would be getting sainted twice-over.

This was messy at times. It was hilarious at some points. And it made people come together and form connections with each other. The process was inspiring and the Declaration reflects it.

Thank you for getting your fingerprints all over this!

The Result

As awesome as the back story is, it’s time to cut to the freakin’ chase.

Bam! Here’s the Value of Simple Declaration!

The Value of Simple Declaration

Click the picture to see the full high-resolution version

To download The Value of Simple Declaration and share the high-resolution source image, click this link.

Can I just say again that I’m completely stoked about this! I’m dying to know what you think about this and where you’re planning on sharing it.

Now is the Time to Act

We created this to share with the world.

We obsessed over the smallest details for the increased chance of motivating people to consider new ways to exist.

We used our collective inspiration to generate a lasting image of what represents us, and what we want to declare to everyone else.

So absorb it all.

Honor us by embodying these statements in the Declaration where and when you can.

Be a catalyst for change and be a spark for spreading our Declaration.

Go out and declare you want to simplify, organize, and be money wise!

Shout across the Internet (and in the street if you want) that you’re OK with giving up the “good life” to pursue a great life.

“Like” this on Facebook and “+1” this on G+ to proclaim that freedom is needing little and wanting less.

Click here to tweet your support that many questions have the same answer: simplify.

Heck, you can even print the Declaration and underline statements like “Be Intentional” and “Chose Uncertainty Over Unhappiness.”

Then connect with the world, help someone, and motivate others that there are alternate ways to think and live.

Who do you know that could benefit from seeing this Declaration and joining our community?

Share it with them on Twitter or forward the link to the image to anyone who needs it. They will thank you for caring enough to share.

P.S. Tim Fau – the graphic designer for the Declaration and fellow minimalist – deserves a second round of kudos. We went through a lot of iterations of this and his creativity saw us through the process. Tim’s also the guy who created the cover art for the Smart and Simple Matters show and, odds are you’ll be seeing his stuff around Value of Simple again.

If you’d like to tell Tim what you think about the Declaration or extend your thanks to helping us create this, give him some love on Twitter or his website. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you!

28 Responses to The Value of Simple Declaration: This is Why We’re Here

  1. Erin says:

    Yay, it’s here! I love it! It just…feels right for what Value of Simple is all about. I known this has been a long and painstaking process, and the results are totally worth it. I really admire and appreciate how heavily you involved the community in the declaration’s creation, too. *round of applause* :)

  2. Denise says:

    Love the final product, Joel.

    I like “learn to develop and teach others” – something that should be taught in school, imo.

    “everyone plays by different rules, respect them” is another simple, yet powerful statement.

    and I like the idea of “curating my existence” – I never thought about that before.

    I’m still not entirely sure what a “personal renaissance” is, though.

    Anyways, glad you finished this! I bet it was hard getting it just right, but hard work paid off :)

    • “Learn to develop and teach others” has a bit of a Keith Ferrazzi/Denise Urena vibe to it, doesn’t it? “Everyone plays by different rules. Respect them.” was influenced by a whole hosts of people and events since my personal renaissance began (which you can understand better if you read my story). And “Curate your existence” is a Joel Zaslofsky original I’m proud to say.

      Yeah, it was difficult getting the little things just right. But that Tim Fau fella came through for us!

  3. Shanna Mann says:

    The declaration looks amazing! Wonderful to see what collaboration and a shared vision can achieve!

    • I wish I could round up a ton of folks, put our hands down together in a big circle, and do a “Team on 3. 1…2…3…Team!” chant as we all raise our hands to the sky in unison. If you know of the digital equivalent of that, let me know Metaphor Maven. :)

  4. Sarah says:

    Looks fantastic, Joel! And thanks for the shout-out. I think you really got to the heart of this. I’m madly in love with the one about being a “mad scientist”, and the “personal renaissance” one is resonating really strongly with me right now too. Congratulations on this! You and Tim and all of the folks who helped along the way really made something special.

  5. Now that was worth waiting for! Plus, it’s really nice being a part of something so radically wonderful.

    PS – I’m pinning it on Pinterest.

    • The original goal was to have this done by the end of 2012. But…Tim and I had to do this right and I needed time to integrate insight from lots of different people too. I’m glad you think it was worth the wait and thanks again for your contribution, Geralin!

  6. Lori Stalter says:

    I love it! Joel & Tim, great job. It’s beautiful and well written!

  7. Bobbi Emel says:

    Great job, Joel! I really like it – it’s inspiring and sensible at the same time.

  8. Tammy R says:

    Wow, Joel! It looks great. I love all the messages but am especially fond of “Rocking life’s basic isn’t sexy – but it’s incredibly rewarding.” Ah, heck. I think the whole thing is profound!!!

    • I have a fondness for anything “unsexy” too (except Melinda…she’s a total fox). It’s a major theme in my life and seems to be growing in importance. If you have anything unsexy you want me to cover related to simplifying, organizing, and being money wise, let ‘er rip!

  9. Priska says:

    Great job! I too loved them all but was especially drawn to ‘life’s an experiment be your own mad scientist’.

  10. Wendy Krueger says:

    Your declaration looks great. As I was reading one quote, simplify, organize and be money wise, I realized you have a 2nd tagline if you need one :)

    My favorites are choose uncertainty over unhappiness and life’s an experiment, be your own mad scientist.

    • Funny you mention the 2nd tagline Wendy. I’ve been describing “what I do” online to most people as “helping people simplify, organize, and be money wise.” I really like the “liberate your time, money, and talent” tagline because it represents what Value of Simple is trying to help people achieve, even beyond simplicity/organization/personal finance. But something about the simplify, organize, and be money wise really does it for me too. I’m glad you like it and like the overall Declaration. It’s an exciting time for me and a lot of the people who join us here!

  11. Wow, this turned out really well. Major tip of the hat to Tim for his design, and the content is pretty rad, too! You’ve got my social shares.

  12. Tim Fau says:

    Excited to see this thing go live! And I’m happy to see it’s being so well received.

  13. Amit Amin says:

    Oh man. Too sexy. My mind is blown by the sexiness, so I will comment on something more mundane – “Be your own mad scientist.” Should that have a period at the end?

    • You could have just left it at “this is overwhelmingly sexy.” But noooooo. You had to go and nitpick, didn’t you, Amit? 😉

      I’ll have to get a verdict from the best darn editor and English language master I know (the fabulous Erin Kurup), but I believe the statement “Life’s an experiment. Be your own mad scientist.” should have a period at the end. Technically, it’s two statements in one that work in unison. And when there are two statements playing off each other, both should get periods. All I’ll say is this: if I ask Tim Fau to do anything more to the Declaration than he already has, he may never work with me again. And that would make for many sad pandas.

  14. This is great Joel- So much wisdom distilled down into poster size :)

  15. Bri says:

    Love it! I’m trying to make a move here(corporate to full-time E) and this declaration is right on point. Ahh, I must confess>> butterflies in my belly but, I got’s to remember that life is an experiment and that I am the scientist. There is power in RISK-TAKING! That I’ve learned. Thanks for putting this together.

    • I don’t know if your circumstances for making the jump to “full-time E” as you call it (which I love) look anything like mine. But I’m happy to share any resources I have if you give me a little context.

      I’m glad you dig the Declaration, Bri! Be that mad scientist, man.

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