As you may have noticed, I like reading and recommending things from good people. I started following Dave Bruno, the author of The 100 Thing Challenge last summer. I gravitated to his easy going nature, honesty about consumerism, and exciting project of living with less than 100 things.
Note: I do not live with less than 100 things, but do live with less than 33 in my closet.
It was only natural that I ordered his book. I am genuinely interested in living with less and I wanted to support the work of a good guy.
Why I almost didn’t read the book: I thought it was going to be about how to do the 100 things project, and I can figure that out on my own. Instead of being about a project though, it was about a man and his family and their lives. It was about more happiness and less stuff.
The 100 Thing Challenge is one of those books where you know after the first chapter that you will finish the book in a day or two. While I love reading about minimalists like Nina Yau, traveling the world with just the stuff on her back, I could use Dave’s lessons because we have a similar lifestyle.
Things I have in common with Dave Bruno
- I am married with children (child)
- I used to want more
- I have pets
- I’ve felt “stuck in stuff”
- My perfect day requires minimal consumer accessories
- Now I want less
Maybe you have some of these things in common with Dave too. If you are wondering how to simplify with young children, an extensive American Girl Doll collection, and grandmothers who love to give gifts, this book is for you. If you are business person making more only to want more, this book is for you too.
Dave has taken a little heat for his rules. He explains why he created the 100 Thing Project and explains why he chose to include his library of books as 1 thing. He doesn’t apologize for the rules but explains them in such a way, that you’ll learn how to modify the project to fit your lifestyle.
The book was entertaining, but also soul searching for me. Dave suggests that he bought stuff to patch up the past in order to make a fantasy future. Don’t we all do that? Here is where the soul searching started for me…
“Faith is not an option for humans. I like what Wendell Berry says about it: “Our instinct for faith is like a well-bred Border collie, who, lacking cattle or sheep, will herd children or chickens or cats. If we don’t direct our faith toward God or into some authentic ‘way’ of the soul, then we direct it towards progress or scientce or weaponry or education or nature or human nature or doctors or gurus or genetic engineers or computres or NASA.” To his list, let me add, “or shopping.”
We do put a lot of faith in shopping and stuff.
I have had faith that:
- a new dress would make me look skinnier.
- a luxury vacation would make me stress free
- a bigger house would make me feel secure
Clearly my faith was misdirected because none of those things happened. Since I cannot say it better myself…
“Real faith cannot be bought at a store. We cannot pay money for it. Faith is the means by which we take our incomplete and imperfect lives and do something marvelous with them. We cannot use a credit card or even cash for something so wonderful.” – Dave Bruno
The 100 Thing Challenge does outline the rules and offers suggestions for incorporating them into your own life, but the powerful story of an entrepreneur that realized his American Dream didn’t need to be defined by so much stuff is why I recommend the book.
While I got to know Dave through Twitter, I fell in love with his wife, Leanne through his book. She is smart and sassy, and says loving, wise things like, “Bloom where you are planted.”
I laughed, cried and identified with Dave’s challenges. While I am not signing up for the challenge, I am more determined than ever to let go of stuff and redirect my faith. My happiness is not at the mall or in a daily deal, so I’m not going to look for it there anymore.
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