This is an important post, probably one of the most important that’s ever been written on this blog.
I’ve decided to share with you the secret of success.
I’m sharing this secret with you, because I just realized it myself.
There’s been a lot of changes in my life over the last two weeks, and I wanted to share them with you as well. I’m really in the process of redefining everything about what it is to be me, and rather quickly at that.
I was going to include what’s going on with my life in this post, but then this post ended up being way longer than I thought, so I’ve decided to split it up into two posts. Don’t miss the 2nd part, sign up for free updates via EMAIL or in your RSS reader (such as google reader). Also, I say a lot of things that I don’t say here on Twitter, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
Alright, so what is ‘the secret’?
I’ll make this as short as possible, so you can print it off and paste it right above your LCD screen on your laptop. So you don’t forget it when you’re globe trotting through the world with other people who have mastered the secret like the case-studies I will list below.
You need to lead a lifestyle that you want people to live.
This secret came to me recently when I was meeting with a soon-to-be minimalist business success story Jonathan Wondrusch of Grokkeryand the upcoming site By Bloggers where he’s partnering with Sam Spurlin to teach people how to design successful businesses.
Jonathan and I met for a coffee at Ritual Coffee in San Francisco’s Mission District (where I’m also writing this post), and we were discussing how to make his new partnership with Sam Spurlin grow until he doesn’t have to work more than 2 hours per day.
And the secret came spilling out:
You need to lead a lifestyle that you want people to live.
So lead a cool lifestyle, and describe it on your blog.
This is the only reason why my blog has grown to nearly 6,000 subscribers and 70,000 readers in only 11 months since launch. This is why I make a full time nearly passive income from this blog. It’s because I stood up and said “I want you to live the freedom lifestyle that I’m living, and I’ll teach you how.”
I even say it in the sidebar –> right over there if you’re reading this on my blog. Look over there right now. “I will teach you live and work from anywhere.”
[Please also note, that it is next to a picture of my face. The picture of my face was taken as I was living and working from anywhere. So important, and so many of you aren’t doing this. It makes me angry when I see a blog that isn’t doing this. Put a picture of your face on the site!]
This is why so many minimalist blogs that focus on the details of clearing table tops and renting dumpsters don’t take off. Why? Becausewe all know how to burn all of our stuff if we wanted to.
It takes someone who actually burned all of his stuff to lead you to that place.
Now, you’re probably saying ‘how many minimalist bloggers can there be?’ Well, here’s the thing, this approach applies to every thing you want to do on this planet.
As these case studies will emphasize:
Secret of success case study #1: Tyler Tervooren.
You probably don’t remember Tyler’s blog before this one, because it sucked (sorry Tyler, but it’s true and you knew it, so that’s why you started a new one.) The reason that it didn’t work is because Tyler wasn’t describing a lifestyle that he wanted people to live.
A few months ago (it might even be less than that) Tyler relaunched his blog as ‘Advanced Riskology‘ with the explicit purpose of teaching people to take risks, overcome their fears.
How did Tyler become this self-professed Professor of Riskology? He started climbing mountains, one mountain at a time. He takes risks with his money, like trading in $15,000 in credit for some sort of government approved coin that he then deposits in the bank for in order to earn thousands of airline miles.
The new and improved climbing mountain, risk-taking Tyler’s blog is now super successful. He has literally thousands of subscribers and has been mentioned all over the media in a very short time.
Why? Because he describes a lifestyle that he wants you to live.
Secret of success case study #2: Mikko Kemppe
Here’s a good example of someone who’s about to do this in a very real way: Mikko Kemppe. I know Mikko because occasionally when I tweet that I’m going to Yoga to the People in SF, he shows up and we have enlightening conversations about lifestyle design and building a freedom lifestyle.
There’s nothing cool about that, so many people have conversations about lifestyle design. Here’s what makes Mikko different from say a dude sitting in his apartment watching TV discussing lifestyle design with his boring wife.
Mikko lives in an RV in San Francisco, he’s a tango instructor and dating advice expert. He lives in an RV because that’s the idea of ultimate freedom for him. Now, living in an RV isn’t something that everyone will do. But it is a dream that EVERYONE has at some point in their life.
The reason Mikko is going to become so damn popular in a short time is because he’s actually living the lifestyle he designed. He’s rocking out the RV in San Francisco and dating hot girls who tango. This is the lifestyle he describes, because he lives it. This is why he’ll be such a success.
Again: lead the lifestyle you want to live.
Secret of success case study #3: Corbett Barr.
When I first met Corbett a few days after I got to San Francisco, he was a little frustrated with both of his blogs (Think Traffic and Free Pursuits). He knew how to grow them, but he wasn’t making heaps of cash off them either.
He was just getting by, going through the motions of what Problogger and other blogs that think they know how to teach you how to make a successful blog, but actually don’t, tend to tell you. You know what I’m talking about ‘guest post on other people’s blogs’ ‘comment on a-list bloggers blogs’ etc, that garbage that doesn’t actually work.
And then I shared with him the secret to success (or he realized it himself, I can’t remember we had too many beers.)
I said, DUDE. Here’s the problem with your blogs: in real life you’re a really damn cool person, but it doesn’t come across on your blog. You go on long sailing runs up to Vancouver on expensive sailing vessels. You’re rocking out in the mission district. You drink beer. You live in Mexico for half the year. You don’t have a job. Etc. Etc. there too many awesome things to mention about Corbett’s lifestyle.
All he needed to do was describe the lifestyle he was already living on his blog, and his revenue would go through the roof.
So you know what he did? He wrote this brilliant post about the real Corbett. He came out to the world as being a really cool person who actually does things with his life.
And what do you know? The next month he launches Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and does a 11k launch. All because he described the lifestyle that he was ALREADY LIVING. Then he went sailing for a few weeks, because doing great work must lead to living your life.
The real secret to minimalist freedom success (or really any success) is that you need to lead the lifestyle that you want people to live.
Does that make sense yet? I hope it does, because now I’m going to move on to the hard part.
You actually have to live a lifestyle that you want people to live in order to do this.
No one would care about Peter Pan if he was just another lost boy. He had to teach Wendy how to fly. Then we remembered that he existed.
This is the hard part, and what most people aren’t doing. You see, you can’t really create an all star lifestyle design blog if you’re sitting in your kitchen eating chicken nuggets and drinking a milkshake that you just bought when you were driving your Hummer three blocks to Burger King and sideswiping bicyclists while destroying the planet.
It just doesn’t work that way.
No one wants to read a blog about eating chicken nuggets. That’s just lame.
So, the only answer to this problem is that you need to stop being lame and start living an unconventional life. The easiest way to do this, and the one that I’ve described in both of my books and on this blog for the last 11 months, is to destroy all of your crap and quit your day job.
Obviously there are other ways to live, but this is the lifestyle that I describe, and that I want you to live.
But your freedom doesn’t need to be restricted to the way that I live. You can go about it in any number of ways. There are any number of leaders that you can follow who will teach you how to live in other ways. This is just the way that I describe.
The reality of the secret of success.
The thing is, most of you won’t do what I’ve just told you. Instead, you’ll continue to eat chicken nuggets. You’ll keep driving to work every day and doing as you’re told.
You won’t stand up and be a leader, because you’re asleep at the wheel eating chicken nuggets.
But some of you will. Like the case-studies I mentioned above, you will show people the lifestyle that you want them to live.
Here are few other examples of things I’m really into that do this:
I used to be really into two bands when I was a teenager. The first was Smashing Pumpkins, and the second was a power-emo-pop band calledKill Hannah.
Both of these bands were so successful for the very reason that I mentioned above. They showed you the way that they wanted you to live. They both had this ‘it’s raining all the time I’m a man who feels and sings like a girl’ lifestyle that I was incredibly attracted too as a teenager.
Yes, I even used to sing like a girl. Deal with it.
They describe the Peter Pan lifestyle. I won’t grow up, so frak you (Battlestar Galactica is another great example of harnessing this power.) I’m going to do exactly what society doesn’t want me to do. I will put on eye-liner and I will get on stage, and I will have thousands of teenage girls come to my show and jump up and down and want to meet me after the show.
Everyone wants to live this way, but hardly anyone actually does.
Both of these bands had an image that coincided with a message that described the lifestyle that they wanted you to live. You wanted to be Billy Corgan and Mat Divine, that’s why you bought the albums and went to every single show when they were in town.
Now, obviously Billy did this way better than Mat did. Everyone has heard of The Smashing Pumpkins but only a couple hundred thousand teenagers who grew up in Chicago in the ’90s know about Kill Hannah. But the fact that they weren’t ever a national sensation didn’t matter, because a couple hundred thousand teenagers are plenty to support a band where the lead singer sings like a girl.
If you’re older and don’t know these bands, another great example of this is David Bowie. I’d actually argue that Kill Hannah and even Lady Gaga are so successful because they just replicated exactly how David Bowie looked and acted. I’d argue that I’m so successful because I copy what David Bowie looked like.
Lead the lifestyle that you want people to live. Then describe it.
In order to do that, you need to live a lifestyle that people want to live. Not just eat pizza all day and wish you did.
And there you have it. The secret to success. Now you can all go and be successful. There’s no need to thank me.
The dangers of this reality.
Now that I told you the secret of success, I want you to realize that it doesn’t come without dangers. Here are the two most important.
1. You have to actually live an interesting life for it to work.
Would anyone subscribe to Exile Lifestyle if it was about staying home in Kansas, getting married, dropping zero-down on a house you can’t afford and popping out two little critters? No.
(if you’ve already done the aforementioned thing, there’s a huge market for describing the lifestyle where you’ve got two kids and figured out how to still be awesome. This is why Joshua Becker is so successful.)
You need actually pursue an interesting life for people to pay attention to the life you describe. If you’re boring, you fail at success. It’s not hard to be interesting, just stop watching TV and get out into the world once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to live it up.
This is also the exact reason why your blog stopped being popular when you went back to Kansas after that around the world plane ticket ran out. The Wizard of Oz wouldn’t be such a hit if Dorothy hadn’t run into that tornado. No one cares what happened to Dorothy after she left Oz.
The solution to this problem is to never leave the bridge of the Enterprise. To never leave Never Never Land.
Or, like Kurt Cobain, die before you do.
2. A lot of people will hate you because they can’t live the way you do.
Living a lifestyle that blows people’s minds isn’t for everyone. Not everyone has the ability to set up a minimalist business in order towork 2-hours a day. Not everyone can live with less stuff. To be quiet honest, most people are pretty damn boring.
If you live in a way that’s courageous, if you really do want to change the world, people will hate you.
Part of living an extraordinary life is learning to ignore people who want to tear down what you’ve built. For every love letter I get, I get a hate letter as well. Love letters get a reply, haters get marked as spam so I never have to hear from them again.
Haters really hate it when you mark them as spam by the way, but you can’t change a troll. You have to focus your super powers on good people who want to live a better life.
So, in conclusion.
In order to be successful, you need to live a meaningful life.
You can’t just expect to sit around eating potato chips and also expect people to pay you to live a meaningful life. If you do, you’re delusional.
The solution to all of this is for you to stand up and live in a way that matters. I don’t care what way that is. I just think that it’s easier to live in a way that’s forever in pursuit of the important if you embrace a minimalist lifestyle. That way you don’t ever have to settle for less than the best, because you’re not subjected to the laws of consumerism.
If you want to learn how to live the life that I lead, I wrote this book called The Art of Being Minimalist that tells you how. Abandoning consumerism is so much easier when you know how to do it. Live on less in order to find freedom.
A lot has changed in my life over the last few weeks, and I want to share it with you. I’ll be posting another post later this week will the full details. Don’t miss out, sign up for free updates via EMAIL or RSS.
And don’t forget to share this article. Imagine if everyone knew this? We could maybe actually save the world. That’d be pretty cool.