Things I don't own that make my life easy

Elysha and I were meeting with an attorney to discuss wills, trusts, end-of-life decision-making and the like in the event that a plane falls on both of our heads but blessedly misses the children’s heads.

At one point, the attorney said, “Think of this like owning an umbrella. You hope to never need to use it, but on a rainy day, it’s important.”

“I’ve never owned an umbrella,” I said.

The attorney looked at me like I had two heads, but it’s true. I’ve never owned an umbrella. If I’m out in the rain, I’m probably just walking from my car to a building, and in these cases, moving quickly and possibly donning a hood has always worked just fine. If I’m going to be in the rain for a prolonged period of time - like when I attend a Patriots game in the rain - a good raincoat does the job, and besides, who wants to carry an umbrella around all day at a football game?

For as long as I can remember, I have been aggressively attempting to rid my life of as many things as possible, and an umbrella was one of those things. If I lived in New York City and walked everywhere, I would probably think differently, but since I don’t, I’ve intentionally avoided the hassles of an umbrella:

  • They are misplaced, forgotten, and lost all the time.

  • When you need them most, they are often in the car, necessitating a walk in the rain anyway.

  • They are difficult to use on a windy day.

  • If you’re someone like Donald Trump, even closing an umbrella can be a challenge.


I feel the same about watches. I’ve never owned one in my life. While I know men who enjoy wearing a watch because it’s a status symbol, I’ve never felt the need to adorn my wrist with precious metals and expensive Swiss engineering in order to impress others, demonstrate my wealthy, or feel like I belong.

And not owning a watch is one less thing to worry about. As long as I have my phone, I have the time.

The same goes for skin cream and moisturizers. I’ve never used any of them even once in my life. Perhaps my skin is especially supple and fine, so moisturizing is not required. If I suffered from dry skin, a moisturizer of some kind would probably be in order, but until that time, the last thing I want to do is commit to another product that costs money and adds even a second to my day.

Other items that I don’t own and/or don’t use include neckties, sunglasses, and scarves. I haven’t worn any of these items for more than 15 years, and I’ve been perfectly fine. In fact, I’ve attended weddings without a tie and been the envy of every other man who is wearing a tie.

A man at a wedding once said to me, “You’re the only guy not wearing a tie. Doesn’t that bother you?”

I think his question said more about him than it did me. And I promise you that today, no one remembers that I wasn’t wearing a tie that night. And no one ever cared.

Simplicity. This is what I seek in all things.

Less stuff. Fewer steps. Reduced costs. Zero delays. The aggressive, proactive, relentless organization of anything I must own or save.

Seconds count. If you don’t believe that, you have yet to understand that time is by far your most valuable commodity and the one that people waste the most.

I’m not suggesting that you throw away your umbrellas and stop moisturizing. Just make sure that the things that cost you time and money (which represents time spent on the job) are actually necessary and not just another thing adding time and expense to your day while offering little in return.