Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.
Can you imagine getting rid of everything you own except for what fits in one backpack, and making $6,000 selling stuff you no longer need on eBay? For Luther Cale, selling his crap became the key that would open doors to a treehouse in India, a freak show on Coney Island, and a jungle in Ecuador. It’s also allowed him to write a book, 33 Ways to Reboot Your Life, to help others open the same doors.
Luther, who has made selling his crap into an art form, is content with so much less. “I still have some very nice things and everything I need. (I) look at my rooftop office in the Andes and hear the river flowing and see the trees to know that all is well,” he said.
Oh, and he’s gone swinging in the Andes, as you can see in the picture above. Now THAT’s cool.
Would you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I have walked in many worlds and learned many amazing things about what it takes to “breakthrough” and create a life that works.
My many reboots have taken me to India, Brazil, Connecticut (no, seriously!), Nashville, Tennessee, the mountains, beaches, jungles of Ecuador and a dozen other countries. I helped take a company public. I went to a training session for the freak show on Coney Island and learned how to swallow swords. I worked for eight months across from a physic surgeon and shaman in South America.
I helped internationally launch a mobile tech company in partnership with the world’s largest telecom. I wrote a bunch of books. I modeled for a Russian fashion designer. I lived in a treehouse in India. I had a lot of fun. I considerably upped my “life force.”
What led you to Sell Your Crap (the book), and what led you to sell your crap (the action)? What was the biggest thing you were hoping to accomplish?
I first found about you through Leo’s blog and have followed your adventures ever since (including the RV days!).
The (Sell Your Crap) book came out at a perfect time because I was planning a move to South America and didn’t want to take a lot of crap. The main thing I wanted to accomplish was some extra cash for my trip and to streamline the ridiculous number of electronic devices I owned.
Talk about your stuff-purging mindset. How did you decide what to get rid of? What was the hardest thing to part with? (And do you miss it?)
I got rid of mainly high-end electronic gadgets (with some medium-end ones thrown in there for good measure).
My exact criterion was this: Does it fit in the one backpack I am taking with me for my move to South America? Anything that did not make the cut got sold.
So I really thought first about what things were most functional for me for my move and worked backward from there.
How much would you say you sold altogether? What did you do with the money?
I sold $6,000 worth of stuff. $2,000 I used to acquire new stuff that was more appropriate (either more minimalist or more multi-functional for my move). $4,000 I used for a plane ticket to South America plus the first few months of living expenses.
Tell us some more about the actual sales process. Where did you primarily sell? Any particular horror stories – or wins?
Sold everything on eBay.
For most items, I looked to see what the best price was on eBay and then beat that price by $50 (remember that I was generally selling $600 to $1,000 items). I set the time frame to 5 days. I was relentless in follow-up with interested parties. All items sold for my asking price and within my asking time.
One buyer requested a return on an item I had listed (internationally unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note) because there was a minor scratch on the front that I had not listed (mainly because it was so slight, I didn’t even know it was there!). I re-listed at $50 lower with full disclosure and some extra photos, and the phone sold in no time.
Now that you’ve sold all this, you’ve done some pretty amazing things. Talk about where you’re living and tell us a little about your new project, the book. What led you to that (and to the “rebooting your life” concept overall)?
My whole notion of rebooting my life was to double my energy, improve my health, and make a difference. For 10 years I have been traveling around the world learning from some of the best sources on living food nutrition, energy and transformational therapies, as well as starting and growing online businesses. Shockingly, one of the last actions I took personally was to get rid of all my crap.
Wow, what a boost in energy that provides! Can be done in one week and will at least double your energy, probably more. It was so powerful that I included it as one of the 33 items (including your course) in my book 33 Ways to Reboot Your Life, which is a very practical guide for specific things anyone can do to double their energy, improve their health, and make an impact.
What’s the single biggest difference in how you feel now vs. before?
Lighter, freer. I have an opportunity to go to Chile in December, Panama in January, and Bali in March, and all that will be quite easy and stress-free because I don’t have a lot of stuff to carry. And I am not spending money on more crap, so I can instead spend on things that enhance my life and make a difference for others as well.
What’s the single biggest struggle you have now?
Ha! Once a gadget addict, always a gadget addict! Ecuador is not on the same release schedules as the United States and Europe when it comes to electronic gadgets that I like such as tablets, cameras, and smartphones. So when I see the latest greatest (on the Web), I have a flash of coveting it.
Wanting to mess around with gear – sell some stuff, re-acquire some new stuff (which I think is all fine and well – I have just now limited myself to one time per year to upgrade my kit if needed). But with the natural restraints of not being able to get the new stuff (or even sell the old stuff) as easily, I realize that everything I have is just fine.
I still have some very nice things and everything I need. Just need to stop the monkey mind and look at my rooftop office in the Andes and hear the river flowing and see the trees to know that all is well.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
I have spent 10 years acquiring knowledge. I will spend the next 10 sharing it. This is the reason I wrote the first book. I have already written a sequel as well. It’s like the information is coming to me and outlining itself in my head faster than I can write it down!
I will also be hitting the road internationally and doing seminars, as well as hosting some weeklong seminars in some special places I have discovered here in South America!
I am at the beginning of a fun journey and definitely Selling My Crap was a key step in keeping my options open and my ideas and movements flexible.
What one challenge would you give to Man Vs. Debt readers – something they should do today or this week to get closer to living their dreams?
I’ll give you two.
One: Get rid of 5 things today. Doesn’t matter if you sell them or give them away. Just pick 5 things that are no longer serving you and move them out of your life today.
Two: Get out a blank piece of paper and spend 15 minutes answering this question: “If I sat down in this same exact spot three years from today, and was looking back over those three years, what has to have happened in my life, both personally and professionally, for me to feel happy with my progress?”
Don’t duck this exercise. Stay with it for 15 minutes and write down whatever comes to you. (Credit to Dan Sullivan for the question.)
Any parting words of advice for our community?
Sure. This work is not just about being free of debt or struggle or obstacles or anything. Instead, this work is about being the biggest, best version of you that you can be.
Having the most fun, making the most impact, learning the most, sharing the most. There are so many people around the world doing amazing things and you could be one of them. Starting today. Every single person who is doing amazing things started one day. And that day can be today for you.
It all starts with a decision. Your decision.
What do you want to be? And are you willing to take Luther’s challenge?
Share your progress in the comments!