A Minimalist Lifestyle Will Make You Happier – GaryVee Interview With Matt D’Avella

– Like happiness and fulfillment, has to become a much bigger
part of the conversation. (dubstep music) You got your perspective. (crowd cheering) I just wanna be happy. Don't you wanna be happy? – Dude, thanks so much for connecting. So, I don't know, are you
familiar with minimalism? – I'm familiar with it the way that many people are familiar with most things, which is, they can headline read, but it's not something I deeply aware of, but on the headlining of, you know, keeping things simple, not having a whole lot of stuff, like those kinds of things, I can understand the nuances from afar. – Has anybody called
you a minimalist before? – No, but it's funny
that you just said that, like, I understand that about me. In some weird way.

– I mean, honestly, when
you look at your office, you've got the Jets memorabilia,
a lot of stuff and things, and a lot of people, they
have misconceptions about what minimalism is, and
if you have a lot of shit, that means you're not a minimalist. I mean, it's just a
term but, realistically, a lot of the stuff that
you've been talking about, lately, and even over the past 10 years, has been about, stop
focusing on materialism, consumerism, we're getting
distracted with stuff. – If that's where it goes, where it's like, if there's
a deeper understanding to why one owns something, then it's a movement I
can get really behind once I get educated,
because I'm desperately sad that people buy things
to close emotional gaps. – Why do you think that people do, are getting distracted with consumer purchases, the
car they can't afford? – Because people are insecure. And they need validation from others. And I think they use items to
get validation from others.

I really do. I think … when
I think about anything I buy, it's 100% for me, even all the tchotchkes, the thrill of finding
them at a garage sale, or, like, the one thing I
actually buy that I think is silly is, like, custom
New York Jets jerseys, but it's so for me. And I'm happy that I don't buy things for other people's opinions,
but I think most people do. – I just watched last
night your Melbourne talk that you gave, I believe
it was last winter? Yeah, and you were talking
about, you were essentially encouraging 30-to-40-year-olds
to downsize, move back with the parents. Where does that come from? There's something very in the air that is manifesting to me that's clear, which is we have a lot
of people out there that really, pretty much, live their lives based on other people's opinions. And I just know that right now somebody's listening or watching who overextended themselves, and owns things they can't afford, actually desperately loves their parents, like, you know, it
probably comes from a place of, like, secretly I'd like to still be living with my parents,
I like them so much.

It'd be nice. You know, I don't feel a
burden if I walk through the kitchen and be like hey, Mom. Like, I could live my
life, but like it'd be nice to say hey, Ma, like I like
it, anyway, nonetheless, I think a lot of people are overextended, and I think they can
restart, and if they're in the context of you're overextended, you're underwater, you're
in debt, you're living too much above your means, you can sell off your home that you bought that was too big for
you in the first place, get some level of
dollars back, or at least get out of debt or a mortgage, move back in with your
parents, which is a, if you're not worried about
your high school friends or your co-workers saying, oh, I'm sorry that you move back in with your parents, if you can deal with the stigma, well then, that's probably
a nice way to save some, first of all, again, plenty
of parent and children relationships are not great,
but plenty are amazing, and– – But it'd have to save
them money.

(laughs) – There's millions of
relationships out there where both the kid and
the parent would think it's the greatest thing
that ever happened, that the kid came back and
lived there for a year or two, including the family, but
you know, people have pride, or have a preconceived notion
that that's unacceptable that's in the air and
so I'm trying to start conversations that I believe in. I believe there are hundreds
of thousands of people who would become miraculously happier if they saw the world in a different way, and did something as practical
and as out of left field in, at least, today's popular society as selling their home,
getting back that equity, moving in with their folks
for a couple of years and re-establishing a, you know, one of the big things that I'm
passionate about is, are you doing something you enjoy to do? Like, happiness and
fulfillment has to become a much bigger part of the conversation than financial upside. I'm always very hurt
when people think that I'm pushing hustle and too much work and make it for the money, you know, my behavior doesn't map to that.

I would've been a
venture capitalist, then. Like, I'm talking about
actually liking what you do, and being in a place where you don't have issues or internal
mindset struggles because you actually have been
able to start the process of not worrying about
other people's opinions. – The best decision I
ever made in my life was after college, $97,000 in debt, buying a brand-new car, that
wasn't the best decision, but it was then moving home, and being able to spend two
years at home with my parents, starting my business,
actually, it's funny, the retain client that changed
my life was actually Viddler. I was their video guy for years, and actually we did an interview with you maybe like six, seven years ago? – In my office?
– Yeah, in Midtown? But if I didn't move home,
if I didn't take that– – Leap.
– Yeah, that leap, I mean, cos everybody was starting going out with their starting salaries,
they were making money, and then for me to move literally
in my parent's basement, making no money, that was where
minimalism came in for me, where I saw it and I was like oh, I don't need all that
stuff, I don't need to prove anything to anybody, I don't need to prove anything to myself, like I'm
happy with what I have now, and I'm happy with the
stuff that I'm making, and I have a vision of where it could go, and I think too many people get just trapped in this
idea that they have to prove themselves to other people.

– 100%. – You talked a little bit about hustle, I think if we had done
this interview a year ago, even before Crushing It!, it would've been a different interview,
because you have talked a lot and, I think, clarified
a lot of your vision of what it means to hustle, to work hard, and obviously there's a lot of people that have their own opinions about hustle and hustle porn and all that stuff, so we don't have to, kind
of, go all into that, but I am curious about how
do we hustle with intention? So for myself, and there's
a lot of people like me who are incredibly ambitious
about their work lives, but they're also ambitious
about their health, their wellness, their relationships.

How do we make sure that
it doesn't sway too far? – Well, you know, we
definitely don't do it by listening to Gary
V, or the Anti Gary V. We make it very contextual to ourselves, and we also don't judge
ourselves through the process. There are gonna be times where, naturally, right now, I'm in a phase in
my health, in working out, especially after I really
severely sprained my ankle, where over the last four years, I'm probably at the heaviest,
I've got the most fat that I've had in four years,
and for the last three months, I've just not been in the same zone that I've been for the past four years. I'm dealing with it by
not over-judging myself. And so things ebb and flow. Like right now, you're in
massively good physical shape, (Matt laughs)
you just are, I'm impressed.

– I did biceps today, so…
– I'm impressed! But I'm sure you intuitively understand, there'll probably be a chapter where you won't be as tight on your
regimen or what have you. The way, you know, I'm very fascinated by the conversation of work
ethic, hustle, overworking, I'm fascinated by people's ability to not take on accountability. I never feel like my points
of view, and my thoughts, and my hot takes, and my
passions, and my story, are right. I've never believed that in my life. I don't think they're right.

I think I enjoy sharing them
because I enjoy sharing them, I'm a communicator,
there's some selfish needs of communicating, I'm
sure, but I share them, but everybody shares them. This thought that, you
know, I think one of the biggest things we need
to get more thoughtful about is this question, which is,
the answer to your question is, by conversating with yourself, and trying to develop self-awareness, and not look for outside validation. When people email me and say,
"Gary V, I've been hustling 15 hours a day," I'm like,
you getting enough rest? Are you good, are you pumped? Like, with intention, my
intention is to be happy. And so I'm not gonna apologize
for enjoying my work, like I don't need validation for my work, my work is not my family
or anything, you know, I watch these conversations,
I'm fascinated by them, I respect other people's
points of view, I just, I just wanna make sure that they don't think they're right either.

A lot of people that push
against hard work, hustle, are people who've already hustled, and didn't find fulfillment from it, but maybe somebody else did. In the same way that I haven't had to clarify my points of
view, there are plenty of interviews in 2010 where my
point of view on Crush It! was make $86,000 a year and
talk about strawberries. I've been talking about
happiness the whole time. I have evolved, and
have been forced because I feel like I've been dragged
into being a poster child of something that I don't
believe in, in creating clarity, but I think to answer
your question directly, I think you have to
answer that for yourself, and what I would say is don't overjudge yourself in every chapter. It's okay to be losing
by 14 points at the end of the first quarter of an NBA
game, you can win that game.

And so, if you're working
15 hours a day for a year because you're starting
your videography business, that's probably okay, it does
take work to start something. If you've achieved some level
of success three years in, and you don't wanna take it to
a ten-million-dollar business from a three-million-dollar business, because you fall in love,
and you've started a family, and you wanna play wiffle
ball outside with your child, that's amazing! There is no right, there's
only right for you.

More importantly, there
is no line in the sand. I'll be very honest with you, I'm unbelievably excited to evolve. There may be a time where I don't want to be as passionate about
my work, and there may be some cause or some game, or who the heck knows what I'll get excited about? And so I think, to answer your question, it's A, to do it for yourself, B, to know that it's going to ebb and flow. When you're 96 in debt, in
the basement, you're grinding. When you're not in the same place, you don't have to do the same things. You may still want to. I still want to! I love operating.

I was afforded a lot of opportunities besides building VaynerMedia and having a client service business,
a thousand employees, a lot of chaos, I enjoy that. And look, there's a lot of people, I don't post pictures of
my family on social media. Lots of people do. I could judge that, I choose not to. I think there's a lot
of judgment in the air on this issue right now, and so, yeah, I'm trying to do a better
job over the last year of clarifying it, because I
don't wanna be dragged down in the momentum of something
I don't believe in, which is, why in the
world would I believe in, why would any human being want somebody to burn out and not be happy? But guess what, I would
be burnt out and unhappy if I worked nine to five. I would die. – Yeah, I think that was my favorite thing that you said in Crushing
It! was this idea of, think about the people
who are just drudging through a job that they hate.

– I know unbelievable
amounts of unhappiness from people that work 40 hours a week. Who gets to decide? Definitely not me, and
definitely not people who're pushing very hard in
what they perceive to be my point of view on this issue. I think I've been
consistent, I could've been better at clarifying it along the way. – One area in which you're
definitely not a minimalist is the amount of content you produce. – Yes!
– And also the amount of content that you suggest people produce. I know even in Crushing It! you've said there's not one person who
isn't creating enough content, and I agree with you, I think obviously there's an appetite for
it, you can always be creating more, but in the
same way as you can always– – Let's use working out, cos
you're in such great shape.

– Yes, please, I'd love to talk about it! – You could be in better shape. You're in really good fucking shape. So that's my punchline, which is like, good behavior isn't perpetuity. I do believe in the modern internet to create awareness
for something you want, whether that's to raise
money for a non-profit, or to sell glasses, I believe
the volume of content is, because then you're
able to contextualize it to your audience, is
absolutely the leverage of the current state of
consumer consumption. One's capability, financially,
energy-wise, creatively, you know, that's no different
than saying run really fast. If you can run really, really
fast, faster than anybody, you can win an Olympic gold medal, and then make 25 million
dollars a year in sponsorship if that's what you
choose, or live in a cave and say I won a gold medal. I'm speaking to what I genuinely believe is the right strategy. How one interprets that
is really up to them. – I think it's certainly true for when you're getting started out.

When nothing is sticking,
and you have to be on every platform because you don't know which one is–
– When something is sticking you need to quadruple down on it. – Right, that's what I was gonna ask you. – Well, you know, like I
understand what you're saying, you're trying to find your thing. Well if you find your thing is, you know, how to make potato salad,
there's 87,000 potato sa– I mean, I made a thousand
episodes of a wine show on Viddler that I could still be doing. I could. There's too many wines. There's so many things one can do. You know, I've come to learn that I'm a little more creative than I thought.

You know, I've seen more creative angles, I think people get, I
think we underestimate how much creativity it
takes to create content. But that's why I think
documenting over creating is a very fascinating conversation. – I guess with the documenting
versus creating, too, is that, is there enough
of a differentiator? – I don't think you have enough scale that you're reaching everybody. So to me, in a net-net game, I'd rather get 20% of my audience to get bored of seeing the same old thing, to give me the opportunity to
consistently reach more people.

pexels photo 4050424

Like, you know, there may not be enough differentiation through the documenting, but nobody's reaching even a fraction of the amount of people they could be. There are literally millions of people that are into
entrepreneurship and business in America that've never heard my name. And I've gone at it hard
for the last 10 years. That scale, at the tippy-top of my game, and I think we can all
agree I'm out there, millions, millions of Americans that're into entrepreneurship and business that have never heard my name. So that's something I believe. That has to map your
ambition, same with any brand, service, organization, you know, I think the fragmentation of attention across all these mediums has created a scenario where you can't have overexposure. – You talked a little bit
about quality being subjective, and in a lot of ways that
comes to play with this idea. I wanna push back a little bit on that, because at least from my
own experience, it's been producing one high-quality
video every single week, and that's like,
eventually what it became. In the beginning it was
podcasting, I'm doing eight teasers for every single podcast, I'm putting them on
social, I'm sharing them with the people that were on my show, and it became so much
work when I was seeing a massive return on
these short-edited videos that I was making,
eight-to-ten minute videos on YouTube, and then it became for me, how can I make one
amazing video every week, versus five decent videos? – That's what worked for you, and for Steven Spielberg
it's one movie a year.

You're just doing way too
much volume for him, right? And for me it's not even
close to enough volume, because I think there's
47 meaningful pieces of content, potentially,
in this 40 minutes we spent together. I think that's right,
I think that goes back to self-awareness and
back to the theme that's, I think, evolving here, which
is this is very contextual. You know? I think that's right,
for you, and by the way, I think the debate for
you is if, you know, how much micro-content does
come out of this 40 minutes? – It used to be a lot more. (chuckles) I mean, because it, it was just for me– – Here's the question,
and if you hire somebody for $40,000 a year who's great at it, in post-production contextual to social, will it be much more? And will that lead to much more awareness to the top of the macro piece of content that you're passionate about? And then it becomes one of your ambitions, do you wanna make that investment, so, I really don't think
there's a right or wrong, I think that what I'm passionate about is, oh my God, there's a permission for an enormous amount of content, and for you this has been
the way it played out, but for some people, a
single piece of micro-content on Instagram became the
piece that brought them awareness to their
long-form YouTube video.

– Also in the beginning, if you're shitty, then it doesn't matter. Like, making one shitty
thing a week, it'd be better to make five shitty
things and to keep going. – Or to your point, I don't think so, I think shit is shit, like
the audience gets to decide. I think this format works for you. – This'll be fun. So I did last year a
40-day social media detox, quit social media. I still uploaded YouTube
videos once a week. – Cos it was your business. – Yeah, exactly. But I didn't really see
a social media from– – You didn't read the comments? – I didn't read the
comments, no, I completely– – How did it go? – I saw the greatest, I had a
video go viral at that time, which now has eight million
views, so it's hard to say it's because I quit social media that my social media following grew, but I saw massive growth in my audience.

– The viral videos, yeah,
it's too tough to tell– – It was!
– You should do it again. – Yeah, but I think– – Did you like it? – Yeah, no, I loved it, it
was great, but I, for me– – When was this? – This was October of last year. But the idea, and this is something that Seth Godin's talked about,
Cal Newport has talked about, the idea that social media is a symptom, that just because you
have 10x social media managers on your team doesn't mean you're gonna do 10x the numbers.

– Yeah, I think that's right. – What are your thoughts on social media, obviously you were one of the first ones that was talking about how
important it's gonna be for brands and personal brands. This retraction now, for
a different reason is– – I think it's great, I mean,
to me I don't overthink it. To me, I'm so contextual,
like I don't think you grew cos you were off it, I think, I appreciate you quantifying
it and saying look, that viral video, you
get a YouTube video that has eight million views
pop on, or two million at that little window,
you're gonna feel the effects on your social numbers. Yeah, I mean, look, I
think that people need to try to be self-aware about what makes them happy and
doesn't make them happy.

Right now, I view social
media as a mirror. I think what people are putting out is an incredible indicator of
what's inside of them. So right now there's a
lot of political anxiety, there's a lot of ideological anxiety, and so what we're seeing
is a lot of judgment. I think the early days,
especially when you and I were on and there was a
lot of Nirvana early users, it was very soft. I think you are seeing a
different version of that today, but that is… Getting off social is no different than stop watching CNN or Fox every night, or reading the Journal, or the Times. We consume, as animals, and I think if one feels overwhelmed, they should stop consuming, but I
don't put social media consumption in a very different place than the films and music
and books that one reads.

Like, the collective
replies of people's angst is no different than Kurt
Cobain's singular angst, other than it's a collective
versus a singular, and so I think it's great,
and when people are like oh, what're you gonna think about that? I'm like, I don't care about social media. I really don't, I care about humans communicating with each other. I'm fascinated by communication, and I'm fascinated that we now have a collective ability to communicate a scale that we've never seen before, and I think right now people are focusing on the downside of that, and I think we're
forgetting the upside of it. There's so much love and
greatness going on every day. I think humans find what
they're looking for. You're signing into
Twitter to find a fight, or to find somebody to fight with, or to see some negativity,
you're gonna find it. I think if you go to Twitter or Instagram to find happiness and
positivity, it's there at scale.

– I'm curious, for people
who are trying to find meaning in life, to
live a meaningful life, what would you say to them? – I think a couple of things, you know, it's a very heavy question, I think people first of all have to
give a lot more thought to the environment and the
parents that raised them. There's a lot of answers
in there, like a lot. So that's interesting to me,
that's just one hot take.

I believe one of the great
ways to mix things up is what you listen to and who
you surround yourself with. I'm unbelievably passionate
about people finding more optimistic, practical friends. And I think optimism
can slide into delusion, which is why I say optimistical,
practical, you know? It's funny, as you were
talking about minimalism, it's so interesting that
you're the first person to ever say it to me, that I can recall, and it feels very real
to me, like I don't have outside things kind of driving me, and that's what leads me
to a lot of happiness, and so I would say auditing your circle, like if somebody wants to
live a meaningful life, just get happier, I
think the people that you spend your time with is a big one. The amount of people listening right now, who've got a mother
who's super pessimistic and cynical, but they love their mother, and they don't realize that cutting down their time from seven hours a week of engagement with their mother to two, and adding, like going out of their way to seeing the person that's
always smiling in the office, and trying to spark up a
friendship and become friends with that person, and
cutting up that seven hours a week from Mom to two
to Mom, maybe 30 minutes with that person, and maybe
reallocating the other hours to themselves or other things, is a massive deal, it's a massive deal.

Like, there's only offense and defense. There's only the force
and the dark side, right? And I think that right now a lot of people are choosing to be driven
by fear and negativity without realizing it, and
so if you're listening right now, my biggest
thing is start leaning into a little bit more of
optimism and positivity. I think where it
over-corrects is when it goes into delusion, and that's when you start creating entitlement,
and that is the tightrope that I've been talking about,
thinking about, watching. And I create entitlement a lot of times, cos I like positivity, and
it took me a little while, maybe 20 or 30 years,
20 years of operating and managing and parenting and being like, okay, I can see this, but I'm a product of not having entitlement. – Everything you're talking about is in alignment with minimalist principles, living a meaningful life.

I think it's just that sometimes people put their own life as,
try to fit it into a box, they're not personalizing
it enough for themselves, too many people aren't asking themselves the right questions. – I think one of the
things that has probably evolved in my content is,
as I have more attention, I feel a greater responsibility. And so I become very passionate
about creating more context. I think I'm at my best when I have time, to talk like this, and I'm not when I'm too excited on stage,
or in a one-second clip, I think that I'm becoming more thoughtful because I'm surprised at the
sheer level of quick judgments that our society has
become comfortable with.

– I thought about doing it myself, I mean I re-read Crush It! and I'm like, there are some things in
there that I could pull up and say hey, this is kinda crazy. – Yep.
– And I'm like, this is no worse than
pulling up tweets from 10 years ago, it's like,
just have a conversation, it's very easy to do
that, because I think– – It's very easy, and it's
also written in context. I wrote that book in 2008, when people, like the economy collapsed,
and this internet thing emerged, and there was a land-grab, there was an amazing
opportunity if you were a fast mover on those platforms, and those things played out.

You know, it's not as easy to build a huge personal brand or a media property on YouTube or podcast or Instagram as it was five years ago,
it's supply and demand. So I don't feel anything, or
any, like it's contextual. Like, yes, I think you should've spent all your money on Manhattan
real estate 180 years ago. (Matt laughs)
And that was a good bet! So yeah, I also… One of the things that's struck me in the last year that,
like, oh wait a minute, these people think they're right. I never think I'm right, ever. I think I'm communicating my observations. I have no interest in telling
anybody how to do anything. Really, I don't.

I don't have that level
of audacity, and I think what I'm watching is, I'm
surprised that some of my friends, contemporaries that take
different points of view are coming at it with more of
an I'm right, you're wrong. You know? That's been really interesting to me. That's something I wanna
throw more in the air. It's probably why I'm
yapping now I'm being late, cos I respect your platform and, like, just kind of respect your
point of view on this, like, I'm surprised that we've
gotten, not surprised, we are in that place. And so I'm gonna do a much
better job over next half-decade to say look, this is how I see it, these are my circumstances, and I think, I'm also pretty aware of my happiness. And not that everybody
has the same chemicals or circumstances, but
I would feel remissed not to speak about what I see. I also think that when we
start demonizing work ethic, I think we are the by-product of the last 10 years being so fruitful. You know, a lot of the people that push against me are
venture-backed company founders who were able to raise 25 million dollars over four years based on their idea by never running a profitable company.

And not that they're wrong, I just think everybody has different perspectives. So I think we need to
get into a healthier, you know, minimalism, I don't know. I assume there's some sort
of counter-debate to it. – Oh, yeah, yeah, like
minimalism is dead and, it's just the whole thing, I mean, from the same perspective
of hustle, it's like well it's not a cult, these
are just some ideas. (chuckles) – I think that's important.

And I think, for example, I think I both love work ethic and minimalism, you know, I already know
that I'm a kind of enigma and have some pretty
contradictions within me, so I'm hoping that because of that, and that's just the
luck of the draw of DNA, and given the platform that
I've earned and been afforded, maybe I could create some
better conversations, cos I think it'd be a really
good time for all of us, in any sector, about any
debate, red versus white wine, let alone minimalism,
anti-minimalism, hustle, anti– it's a really good time to get back to a cordial state of debate.

I also know what's contextual. Like how can't you tell
somebody who's not afforded any opportunities that work
ethic isn't gonna help them? There's no thing you can pull up that speaks to me saying
money is happiness. I wasn't raised in that
environment, I know it's not true. So… – Cool brother, thank you so much. – Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
– Yeah..

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