Brandon Stover

On Life
Practical philosophy to change your life.
September 19, 2023

In Favor of Less


You don’t need that thing. You feel that you do.

Your body aches with desire and the thought of the item is stickier than glue.

Fulfilling that desire won’t make you whole.

Do you need more? Is this really true?

When we buy something, we have a desire to feel a certain way. 

But that feeling is not in the item, it’s inside you.

In a consumer driven economy, effective marketing will show you what you're lacking, amplify your desire to fill the void, and present their product as the solution. 

They will not show you all that you already have, amplify your gratitude, and tell you that you don’t actually need their product to be fulfilled. 

You must make the active choice to value what’s true.

Might you need less?

Own only what adds value and meaning to your life and remove the rest. 

Put each item to test. Try your best to confess. 

In doing so… you can truly cherish and appreciate your life anew. 

When you clutter your environment, you clutter your mind.

Fear. Worry. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Guilt. Depression.

It becomes impossible to unwind.

You’ve placed so much meaning in these items. When really what matters is only but a few.

Strip away the excess in favor of focusing on what you truly value.

In doing so you might feel the happiness, fulfillment, and freedom you seek.

When’s the last time you asked yourself what’s important to you?

Podcast Episode

Listen to the podcast now

This article is sourced from the On Life podcast. Listen or subscribe below.

Where to subscribe: Apple Podcast | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS

Scroll below for important resources, links, & transcripts mentioned in this episode.

Apple Podcasts subscribe buttonSpotify subscribe buttonGoogle Podcasts subscribe buttonSticher subscribe buttonOvercast subscribe buttonPandora subscribe buttonCastbox subscribe buttonRadio Public subscribe buttonPocket Casts subscribe buttonTuneIn subscribe buttoniHeart Radio subscribe buttonRSS Feed subscribe button




  • 0:00 Beginning of Essay
  • 2:08 Minimalism
  • 3:53 Value of Small Spaces
  • 7:05 Using Things to Fulfill Feelings
  • 9:01 Deciding What Has Value

Episode Transcripts

[00:00:00] You don't need that thing. You feel that you do. Your body aches with desire and the thought of the item is stickier than glue.

[00:00:07] Fulfilling that desire won't make you whole.

[00:00:09] Do you need more? Is this really true?

[00:00:13] When we buy something, we have a desire to feel a certain way.

[00:00:16] But the feeling is not in the item. It's inside you.

[00:00:20] In a consumer driven economy, effective marketing will show you what you're lacking, amplify your desire to fill the void and present their product as the solution.

[00:00:28] They will not show you all that you already have, amplify your gratitude, and tell you that you don't actually need their product to be fulfilled.

[00:00:36] You must make the active of choice to value what's true.

[00:00:40] Might you need less?

[00:00:41] Own only what adds value and meaning to your life and remove the rest. Put each item to the test, do your best to confess.

[00:00:48] In doing so you can truly cherish and appreciate your life a new.

[00:00:53] When you clutter your environment, you clutter your mind.

[00:00:55] Fear, worry, anxiety, overwhelmed, guilt, depression.

[00:00:58] It becomes impossible to unwind.

[00:01:01] You've placed so much meaning in these items when really what matters is only about a few.

[00:01:06] Strip away the excess in favor focusing on what you truly value.

[00:01:11] In doing so you might feel the happiness, fulfillment and freedom you seek.

[00:01:16] When's the last time you asked yourself, what's important to you?

[00:01:24] Ladies and gents, my name is Brandon Stover and welcome to the on life podcast. You can see, we did something a little different today.

[00:01:31] Or I presented the entire writing upfront. Before getting to the intro. Trying to get better at U2. Getting more hooks and things going on.

[00:01:39] And we changed up what the writing was today. Instead of being something that's more of an essay, it was more of a poem or at least something that had some rhythm to it. Uh, so I can start. Maybe making some videos around that. Just trying it out, testing it out and we'll see what happens. And if you're new though, to the podcast. All right on various philosophies on different topics in life.

[00:02:02] And try and present them to you to open up your mind to those. And helps you to start thinking in a new way.

[00:02:08] Today's writing was on the topic of minimalism.

[00:02:11] Which are the core of minimalism is not about owning less.

[00:02:15] But owning only what brings value to your life.

[00:02:18] So you can look at any item that you have around you and ask yourself whether the item is truly bringing value to your life. And it doesn't have to be some extreme existential value. If it has utility. then there's a use for having the item around. However, what happens is we end up collecting a lot of items that we think are adding value to our life. That they're going to have some utility. And then they just sit in our closet or somewhere for a year and we never used them.

[00:02:42] It's a really, those things are just taking up space. And what I've noticed in my own life, as when items are sitting around, taking up space, they also take up space in my mind. I really enjoy being in a space that doesn't have a lot of items and I'll just kind of sit there and look around. And what I'm actually doing is allowing my thoughts to sort of fill up the space. If you will.

[00:03:03] But when there's a bunch of stuff around. My mind kind of starts to fixate on that stuff. And instead of thinking through the thoughts that I may be having going on in my mind, I'm thinking about that item.

[00:03:14] Because oftentimes there's some sort of meaning than of assigned to the item, whether it be. Sentimental or a significant meeting. Or it's an item that I need to be doing something with.

[00:03:25] For example, if you have some laundry laying around, you know, that you either need to do the laundry, you need to fold it and put it away. Maybe you need to buy new clothes, you need to get new shoes and you can see these thoughts start to come up. Oh, I need to be doing this. And I need to be doing that. And I need to do. This thing with that item. And instead, you never get the opportunity to actually start moving through some of your other thoughts about what's important to you in your life. Something that's larger than just the tasks that you need to get done.

[00:03:53] Now I am in the process currently of building out a van to do van life, which is like an extreme version of getting down to the bare necessities.

[00:04:03] And this is not the first time that I've downsized everything. When I lived back in Washington, I had a two story home, 2,400 square feet on a corner lot. With a two car garage. That's a lot of space. And a lot of things that you can fill that home with. And when I lived there. I would find myself just feeling like this is too much space. I don't actually need all of this.

[00:04:26] So then when I moved to Austin with my ex-wife, we were thinking about eventually building out a tiny home. So we did a step where we were moving into a 400 square foot apartment. And in that process from moving from the house to the 400 square foot apartment, you have to get rid of a bunch of stuff. And when I did that, I found. A whole lot more freedom. A lot more relief and getting rid of all of those things. Some of them had. Long memories attached to them.

[00:04:53] And when you get rid of that item, You kind of store away that memory. You don't have to be. Rethinking about it all the time.

[00:05:00] And there was a lot of stuff that, you know, we just didn't need. It was just taking up space, taking up room.

[00:05:05] So now I'm in the 400 square foot apartment.

[00:05:08] And after my ex wife and I got divorced. And obviously it wasn't going down the path of creating a tiny home anymore. I was figuring I still wanted to lift smaller and I wanted to be traveling. So I decided to get a van and start building out for van life. In the process of doing that, that means that I'm going from 400 square foot to, I don't know, less than a hundred square feet.

[00:05:30] And that means again, I'm going to have to downsize. To the things that I own to the bare necessities of what brings value to my life.

[00:05:37] Now it doesn't mean that I'm just going down to clothes in a backpack.

[00:05:42] Instead of I'm deciding on one things that are really important to me. For example, a hobby that I really enjoy is photography. So I'm still bringing my photography equipment.

[00:05:53] That's the camera in my backpack. The tripod, a few of the lights. I'm bringing those things along with me. Additionally, I create contents. I enjoy podcasting. So I'm bringing. The equipment for podcasting, which for some other people would be excess. That'd be like, you don't have room for that inside of the van. But for me, it's something I very much value. It's something that I do.

[00:06:15] So it's important for me to have those items in there and I've built, designed out the van for waste to incorporate those items.

[00:06:22] And what I love, this is coming back for my design and architecture background. Is that when you're designing out something specifically a small space, You're forced to sit down and ask yourself what you value because you only have so much space for those items.

[00:06:37] One of the things that I value as having non wrinkle and clothes. So I'm actually building a full height cabinet inside. Of the van in order to have a closet. For other people that would be excess. You don't need those things. I'm just going to fold up my clothes and, you know, Put a minute container under the bed or something.

[00:06:54] The point of this is, is I've sat down and asked myself what it is that I truly value.

[00:07:00] What are the things that give me energy that gave me life. Not the things that take away.

[00:07:05] The other thing that I've noticed in my own habits and the habits of other people. As, when you have a desire for something like you want something new, you want to add something to your life.

[00:07:14] Specifically when you want to buy something. There's usually some sort of feeling that you're trying to fulfill.

[00:07:20] There's some sort of lack going on in your life and you think getting the item. we'll help you to fulfill that lack.

[00:07:27] And sometimes that's true. You do actually need that item. For example.

[00:07:31] The soles of your shoes are starting to come off. You actually do need some new shoes. It would be great for you to buy those shoes.

[00:07:38] However. If you have three pairs of shoes and you think buying this new pair of shoes, Is going to help you look more beautiful. Give you more height and confidence. And whatever other desire you may be seeking out of those shoes.

[00:07:51] It would be better to address that feeling without having to buy that item. And what you'll find is when you buy that item, you may or may not actually get the feeling that you were seeking.

[00:08:01] And if that item doesn't actually fulfill. Not feeling that you were seeking, it was a good chance. It just ends up in your closet. Stored away and then no longer has any value. And didn't bring the value that you thought it was going to bring.

[00:08:13] And this doesn't only apply to physical items as well. I can imply to the digital things. So a habit that I sometimes have come up as buying courses, Because the course that I want to take. I think is going to improve me in some way. There's a lack in me that I would like to improve. And sometimes that's a good thing. And sometimes the course actually does help. But other times maybe the marketing was really good. And I started to pull a desire up in me to buy this course. I'm like, oh, I'm lacking in this way. I need to get better in. This way. And if I buy this course, then I will get better in that way.

[00:08:47] When really The way that I needed to get better was something that I just needed to address and myself.

[00:08:53] Usually in something around confidence or feeling good enough.

[00:08:56] Being desired by others.

[00:08:58] Being able to provide for myself. Whatever it may be.

[00:09:01] Really in this writing today, I'm asking you to be more intentional to first ask yourself, what is it that you truly value and are the items around you where the items that you want in line with what you value. And are they actually bringing you that value And then the second thing is when You're going to To acquire more Things Are bringing. Bringing more into your life Whether this be physical digital friends Opportunities whatever it may be when you're trying to add something into your life To ask yourself with intention I Do i value this thing Is there some feeling that i'm trying to get from this thing that maybe i could fulfill on my own And then after going through that intention and reflecting on it Then deciding whether you want to actually add this thing And in the end you might still decide you want to add this to your life and that's totally fine But at least at this point you've taken the time to Reflect Whether it's going to be a positive to your life On the flip side you already have a ton in your life You can sit and reflect On what is already in your life the people that are around you The things that you already own The opportunities that you already have And have gratitude for those things there was one point in your life where they didn't exist where you had a lack and now they've entered And you get the opportunity to appreciate and cherish those things And then this is where you might start asking yourself Might there be room for less things Are there things that i could take out of my life And i'm sure you have a list of things that you're like yeah i would be Very happy if those things were gone And when you start removing those things getting rid of the excess You bring in broom. For other things that you may value Or you just bring in room to breathe To just be Again going back to the way i like to sit in spaces Sometimes i like to just sit in a very empty space and appreciate the space for what it is Was it it was something that always always trying to get out of architecture and not trying to get out of design As using the items that must be there the walls the ceiling The floor And trying to get the most value out of those items so much so they're designed so well And we don't need to add anything else to them The value is in in and of themselves I really think this is a reflection Of how i try and bring myself into the world And how am i trying to see other people As to try and value those people In and of themselves for being another human being Yes there are things that they can bring there's ways that they can get better There's things that they can do All of those are also valuable And they're wonderful on their beautiful However we must not forget What they truly are human beings Just like the space we can't forget what the space is What it's providing to us Maybe providing shelter a home family Reprieve And provide so much more And i'm only if we just took a moment To appreciate and have gratitude for those things And then removing excess so we can actually see and feel those things So those are my thoughts today on minimalism I know minimalism is a Mike strict value that some people have i don't put it in my top list of values But rather see it as a tool in order to make room for the rest of those values So i hoped you enjoyed the writing today mommy No. If this story of riding was entertaining for you when the reflection afterwards And if you found value out of it i would love if you shared it with someone else So that they can start to reflect on their own life And find what's valuable to them. As always thank you for listening.

Related Topics