SASM 022 – Minimalism, Intentional Living, and Being the Best You with Joshua Becker

Joshua BeckerThis is the reason I created Smart and Simple Matters: so I could have meaningful conversations with amazing people that improve your life.

And my guest for this episode truly falls into the amazing category. He has a ton to offer to everyone (including me) looking to simplify, organize, and be money wise.

It’s Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist, one of my go-to resources on intentional living and practical ways to be a great minimalist … without sacrificing what’s most important to you.

Joshua knows how to ask the right question at the right time like…

I bought that and I don’t need it. What was the disconnect between what I was thinking was true and what really is true in life?

…and offers insight with clarity and brevity.

Intentionality for me is just taking the time to question the assumption that we base our life upon.

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Those things that you can’t possibly measure are the things that we should be chasing the most.

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Minimalism [for me] has never been about subtraction for the sake of subtraction.

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What I found was that the chasing of possessions, and even in some ways the unintentional allowing of them to absorb my life and resources, was distracting me and keeping me from becoming what I most wanted to be.

If that doesn’t get you fired up and ready to make some changes, I don’t know what will!

Joshua and I talk about a lot, including his best-selling books, subtle catalysts that turn into transformational moments, and the problems with (or opportunity in) competition.

Have a listen and discover why hundreds of thousands of people care about what Joshua says through his website, newsletter, public speaking events, and social media.

What You’ll Learn

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Joshua’s flashpoint for living intentionally … and how you can too.
  • Why you should just be the best “you” that you can be.
  • How many Goodwill donation trips it takes before asking yourself some hard questions.
  • Why comparison is always unfair.
  • How to lead your kids to a lifestyle without forcing them.
  • Realizing that struggles don’t always go away and don’t always need to be overcome.
  • Whether Joshua wants to celebrate Thanksgiving with me … on May 27th.
  • Why pursuing passionate work comes sooner with a big dose of simplicity and minimalism.
  • How to resolve destructive competition… even if you’re just competing with yourself.
  • What the greatest hurdle is for starting your entrepreneurial dream (you might be surprised).
  • Why competition drove me into a rage and to violently swinging a hammer.

Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode Include:


  • [08:55] Joshua’s seeds of awesomeness
  • [11:11] The sparks of a minimalist journey
  • [17:05] Joshua’s evolution as a minimalist from physical items to something bigger
  • [22:22] The flashpoint for starting to live an intentional life
  • [28:05] How to stop the constant comparisons between you and everyone else
  • [35:09] Whether Joshua will bite on my “how crazy is Joel?” challenge
  • [41:39] Why minimalism isn’t Joshua’s greatest obsession
  • [45:15] The goal behind Joshua’s SXSW collaboration How Minimalism Is Changing Entrepreneurship
  • [49:00] How competition can be healthy… or destructive
  • [55:08] My three challenges to you

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The transcript will not be available until I find a new transcriptionist (if you know someone good, let me know).

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10 Responses to SASM 022 – Minimalism, Intentional Living, and Being the Best You with Joshua Becker

  1. Shanna Mann says:

    Great talk, you guys! I realized this weekend myself that I’m not a minimalist, per se, it’s just an extremely useful tool– to discard what’s not useful and move towards greater efficiency.

    • Agreed, Shanna. Minimalism is not my only tool to simplify life, but it’s my primary one. And I’ll be hard pressed to find a tool as useful, fun, and that speaks to me as much as minimalism.

      Joshua’s a big inspiration to me and I’m trying to inspire another round of people to become minimalists (or at least think of themselves as one). Hopefully this kind of podcast helps with that.

  2. David Delp says:

    Hey Joel, I’m excited for your Ignite event. I hope you record it!

    I had the pleasure of meeting Joshua at WDS last year. He’s inspiring and humble. It makes so much sense you two have connected.

    As much as I know comparing myself to others is a dangerous practice, I really needed this reminder. Joshua’s realization that comparison doesn’t actually go away is so important, and just to remind myself that I’m not them. I can only be me. It’s so corny. It’s so so true.

    Pursuing Gratitude and Generosity is something you can’t measure. It’s also completely personal.

    And yes, you are crazy, and I’m grateful for it! May 27th will also be my extra Thanksgiving, too.

    • Hey David,

      The Ignite event organizers record all the talks and it will be up on YouTube within a few days of my talk on May 29th. Assuming it goes well (and it should because I’m rockin’ my prep for it), the link to the talk will be flowing freely on the Internet.

      Thanks for confirming that Joshua is just as real and inspiring in-person as he is everywhere else. I’m excited to meet him at WDS this year… and you too… and the rest of the thousands of awesome people who are going to be there! We’ll all talk about how our extra Thanksgiving on May 27th went, eh? And we’ll make sure we don’t compare our experience to anyone else’s, right?

  3. Great stuff, guys! Had the chance to listen to most of the show on my way home yesterday. I had not heard Becker talk about minimalism before, so it was really cool to hear his story — especially as a parent. My wife and I have had talks about how we could try to incorporate these ideas into a family setting without driving our kids nuts. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the show to get the details.

    • Getting the “full Joshua Becker” experience isn’t easy Michael, and you won’t get it from just this one chat. I’ve been reading, listening, and watching what Joshua has been saying for years and I continue to find new wrinkles or dimensions on his perspectives of, well, just about everything. I suppose that’s the sign of a powerful communicator and someone who’s not afraid to evolve his thoughts and actions along with his experiences.

      Let me know if you ever want a deeper picture into Joshua’s mind from someone other than Joshua himself. I have my own greatest hits of his and I’m willing to share them with anyone who wants my curated stash.

  4. Denise says:

    I think this is my favorite podcast from you, so far.

    I like what he said about comparing. How it’s OK to be motivated and inspired by others, but comparing to see how we measure up is useless.

    “Comparison is always unfair” is such a great statement. Made me think when I was a kid and being compared a lot – grown ups telling me who I needed to be like. It always felt unfair. But, then I grow up and do the same thing to myself. Something I’m trying to unlearn.

    • I’m glad you keyed on the comparison piece of our talk, Denise. The most influential part of Joshua’s philosophy for me has been the art of not comparing my life to other people’s. Your comments are aligned with my feelings on the subject and I definitely recommend you read Joshua’s articles on Becoming Minimalist about how to stop comparing yourself to everyone else… even when people and human nature are pushing you to do it. One of those articles is linked in the show notes by the way.

  5. Ciara Conlon says:

    Looking forward to tuning into this one. A subject I’m passionate about. I often get frustrated that my quest for a life without clutter will never transpire. No matter how many bags of stuff I offload there’s another 10 waiting to be packed. One day an elderly lady smiled at me in the supermarket as she saw me get frazzled at the till as my two boys jumped around. She said, enjoy your untidy noisy house now because before you know it your house will be quiet and empty!

    • Shall I file this comment in the category of “be careful what you wish for?” :)

      Knowing you Ciara, you’re going to get a lot from this episode. I hope you’re able to make some small, positive changes after listening!

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