The Experience Curator

The Experience Curator is a periodic series giving you the most fascinating, exceptional, or fun moments from 5,000 BCE through today. From online content to offline stories to tantalizing tidbits, there's plenty here to resonate with anyone (including you).

This second edition features why connecting people to each other scales so well, an impressive (or shocking) real-time infographic about U.S. consumption habits, how to “smoosh” your interests together to create meaningful projects, why “everything in moderation” works for approximately nobody, and a whole lot more.

Grab a beverage, remove your distractions, and let's explore a combination of topics and mediums that I've found valuable … and I believe you'll dig, too.

Your Wonderful World of Experience Curating

Before You Dig in

If you missed The Experience Curator: First Edition, complete with myth-busting, high-fives, and butt-dialing, click here for loads of grooviness.

And if you like podcasts, especially the nifty Smart and Simple Matters kind, keep your eyes ears on Value of Simple for an upcoming episode celebrating my five-year personal renaissance anniversary. The Experience Curator – and pretty much everything meaningful I've ever done online – wouldn't exist if not for a transformational day in April 2010.

Word Up (Text)

Have you ever felt the potentially dream-crushing pressure to pick a job and stick with it until you either retire or die? I have, and that conventional path totally doesn't work for multipotentialites.

Wait … multi-potential-whats? Read an article by Puttylike's Emilie Wapnick and you too can learn how to “smoosh” your interests, passions, and skills into the grooviest creative work you'll ever do.

There was something here … The common thread I saw was accessibility. My student seemed to love taking an idea, transforming it and presenting it in an amusing, entertaining, creative way. I mean, that's what art is about – taking an idea and expressing it in a way that moves people. It's what teaching's about. What's more, it's a skill she can bring to her discussions of history, health, sports …

Did You Hear That? (Podcasts)

I'm no Seth Godin fan-boy, but I am a big fan of this engaging interview he did with Srini Rao. First, Seth persuasively explains why the Internet is destroying the scarcity and lack of connection that the old industrial economy is based upon.

But then he opens up a bottle of wisdom with gems like this (one among many in the first thirty minutes):

Connecting people to each other scales. No one who uses Facebook has a relationship with Marc Zuckerberg, but lots and lots of people use Facebook to connect with one another. Building a platform where people can connect with one another tends to be a larger scale success than trying to connect yourself with lots and lots of people.

Picture This (Images)

It's hard not to be impressed – or shocked – once the Retail in Real-Time numbers start flying. Here's an eye-opening experiment: load this real-time infographic, come back in ten minutes, and see how much has been spent on retail in the U.S.

They even have hover-over effects for each retailer (e.g., Amazon, Walmart, and McDonalds) that shows how many and what type of daily transactions there are. Our donut and soda habits are scary, but it's the unsustainable hyper-consumerism that disturbs me the most. What about you?

Hat tip: Joshua Becker

The World of Simple

If that real-time infographic above didn't convince you that we have a cultural consumption problem, this short and profound interview with Duane Elgin for Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures just might.

The bad news?

Since World War II, we've seen the most massive experiment that's ever been undertaken in programming the psyche of a civilization. And it has worked. The advertising culture has succeeded in creating identity consumption — a sense that our meaning in life depends upon the significance of what we consume … We're literally going crazy — on the one hand knowing we need to learn to live with less, and on the other hand being continuously encouraged to consume ever more. We are being divided against ourselves. Something has to give.

But wait … there's hope after all.

About 10 percent of U.S. adults are ‘upshifters' that have gone even further and are pioneering a new way of life that is more sustainable, satisfying, and soulful. They're making a whole-pattern shift in their lives that grows out of an ecological awareness and the sense that ‘I'm here as more than just a consumer to be entertained; I'm here as a soulful being who wants to grow. I want to have meaningful work, a meaningful life with my family, a meaningful connection with my community, and a meaningful sense of spiritual development.'

The whole interview is one big “Whoa-fest,” so check it out yourself.

For Your Health and Fitness

Ahhh … the “everything in moderation” mantra that's nestled deep inside our brains. It sounds so amazing in theory, but does the conventional wisdom hold up under a scientific (and scathing) lens?

Melissa Hartwig of Whole9 knows how to light a fire under people and you'll probably find yourself fired up after reading Please Stop Saying “Everything in Moderation.”

For folks with specific sensitivities or health conditions, eating inflammatory trigger foods “in moderation” is a terrible idea – yet popular magazines will suggest it's far worse to ‘deprive yourself' than to avoid entire foods or food groups altogether. We ask, what's worse: giving up bread altogether, or dealing with energy dips, sleep interruptions, mood swings, skin breakouts, GI distress, resurgence of pain, and other health consequences of your ‘moderate' indulgence?

As an analogy, if you were allergic to peanuts, would you still feel the pressure to enjoy them ‘in moderation?' Of course not! So why are you even attempting ‘moderation' of bread, cheese, or diet sodas if these foods make you significantly and tangibly less healthy?

Develop Your Development

I was once sold-out by a college roommate who refused to help me as some friends ganged-up to play rather unkind tricks on me. His asking price? A KitKat bar and an orange soda.

You know what's crazy, though? We often sell-out ourselves for much less and with far greater consequences. Right Now Joel sometimes doesn't give a damn about Future Joel – despite Future Joel screaming, “Don't eat that Dairy Queen Blizzard!” – which is why reading this Raptitude article by David Cain is so powerful.

The hallmark of the fool is that he borrows fleeting pleasures, at interest, from himself … [Here's] the elegant secret to discipline: valuing your future self as highly as you value your current self, at least long enough to get your Right Now Self to do the right thing.

Get the full context from David because self-discipline is too important not to have.

New Stuff I Created (or Had a Hand in)

There are few principles that sum up my goals better than consume less and create more. And that's why I created the “Continuous Creation Challenge” three years ago.

Are you stuck in a consumption rut? Do you dream of reviving those playful childhood days of block towers, sand castles, or snow forts? Well then, discover How to Consume Less and Create More: Continuous Creation Challenge Style.

Quote Notes

Community. We all crave it. Yet too few of us truly understand what the word means or have enough of it. Sash Milne gets it, both the meaning and feeling, and summed it up nicely.

A community is a place where the desire to share is greater than the desire to own.

The Simple Time Capsule

Here's a snapshot of the good, bad, and groovy from me over the months and years:

  • April 2014: ATSR003: Your Uncommonly Powerful Invitation to Minimalism with Joshua Becker. Dan Hayes and I interviewed one of the world's favorite minimalists, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, about a ton-o-schtuff. We talked SimpleREV, where Joshua turns to for community, swapped stories about how simple living changes people's lives, and why the three of us ignore the conventional wisdom to “Just wait until the kids leave the nest to simplify.”
  • April 2013: Less is More: Lessons From a Two-Year-Old About Simple Joys and Parenting. This is a popular Value of Simple guest post, courtesy of Samantha Langlois. Join her on a journey to find the simple joys in parenting (or grandparenting) a spirited, messy, and clever young child.


I believe that Scott Edwards and the MeSimple crew are all kinds of awesome. So whether you can go to their April 25, 2015 one day MeSimple Symposium in Boulder, CO or not, browse their simplicity story library.

I recommend starting with Scott's own inspiring story about radical, intentional down-sizing of stuff and equally motivating journey to up-size his relationship with nature.

So what about you? What intriguing experiences – ancient to brand spankin' new – have you curated that I or others should see? Please share in the comments!


Are you ready to become an Experience Curator or join thousands who have gone deep into the world of Experience Curating? Click here to discover the popular book that started it all.

Photo credit: Alan English