Lighten your Load

Have you seen the 2009 movie “Up in the Air”? It’s a movie starring George Clooney as Ryan Bingham travelling around America firing people whilst living out of a suitcase, only to find his beloved lifestyle threatened by the presence of a new hire and a potential love interest.

The film also featured a fantastic monologue which contained enough snappy sound-bites such “Moving Is Living” and “The Slower We Move, the Faster We Die”.

We all carry around unnecessary ‘baggage’ with us which makes each day harder than it needs to be and holds us back from really doing what we want which is what makes the “What’s In Your Backpack” so relevant to each and every one of us.

Here is What’s In Your Backpack? Speech:

How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel ’em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. The things on shelves and in drawers, the knick-knacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff, clothes, table-top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV.

The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. Your home, whether it’s a studio apartment or a two bedroom house. I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now try to walk. It’s kind of hard, isn’t it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. And make no mistake, moving is living.

Now, I’m gonna set that backpack on fire. What do you want to take out of it? What do you want to take out of it? Photos? Photos are for people who can’t remember. Drink some ginkgo and let the photos burn. In fact, let everything burn and imagine waking up tomorrow with nothing. It’s kind of exhilarating, isn’t it?

So what is this proverbial backpack? And how can we prevent it from filling up to the point where we feel like we can’t carry all of our “stuff?”

The movie has a one very interesting, crucial, absolutely essential point: your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. His message is to get rid of those relationships as much as possible, because they slow you down. In reality, you don’t need to get rid of people. You just need to say no a lot more.

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Warren Buffet

You can’t actually be friends with everybody. Your life revolves around 3 main circles of people:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances

A lot of us spend way more time than necessary in the 3rd circle, and that’s what slows us down. If you want to make any sort of progress in a given direction, you have to say no to people, and mostly the people in the 3rd circle.

  • Say no to events.
  • Say no to distractions.
  • Say no to late nights.
  • Say no to one more drink.
  • Say no to people.

Then sometimes, say yes. Say yes to things that matter, and most importantly to the people who matter. Saying yes doesn’t necessarily mean taking ownership of a task that would clutter your calendar. You can yes and direct people to other sources of help. You can say yes, but later. You can say yes, but only when you’re done with your current task.


Letting go is a process that takes time. But the sooner you move through the process of letting go of what is hurting you or not letting you soar, the sooner better days are to come for you!

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