We live in a consumer culture built on two basic myths: newer and bigger are always better, and wealth equals happiness. Daniel Ryan Day explains that the best way to respond to myths is to rebel in his book Ten Days Without: Daring Adventures in Discomfort That Will Change Your World and You. By sacrificing the small silly things, we are open to change in ways that we would never have been otherwise.
Ten Days Without is based on the premise “feel the discomfort so that you can care and give more.” Daniel Day shows how to get out of the coffee shop and do something, even if we don’t have it all figured out. We can move beyond good intentions and actually start trying to make a difference. When we experience the physical or emotional pain from going without, it helps us to think about things in a new light. Daniel Day shares his experience in his experiments of ten days without:
- Shoes – to address disease
- Coat – to address homelessness
- Media – to address distractions
- Furniture – to address global poverty
- Legs – to address our response to disabilities
- Waste – to address the environment
- Speech – to address modern-day slavery
- Human touch – to address orphans, widows, prisoners, and other untouchables
Most of the ‘withouts’ are public displays to get people to ask questions, and thus promoting people to give to a cause or organization, a sort of marketing ploy. You don’t just do it. You tell people about how difficult it is and why you are doing it.
While this book seems to promote a marketing strategy rather than giving details of his experiences (probably available on his blog), I really enjoyed reading it. It made me think about how I could take more action in the lives of others, and to actually care beyond my own little world. I had not realized how dangerous it could be to not have shoes (and a very dangerous thing to practice for ten days), or how dependent I am on a comfortable bed or chairs. My favorite “without” was going without media for ten days, which is more of personal effect that may have more broad-reaching results that impact the lives of the people around you as you become aware of all the distractions and time-wasters in your life.
But being the kind of person who would rather be invisible than draw attention to myself, I would prefer to read the stories blogs of people who experience this and be moved by it than show off my experience. However, I am currently pondering ideas of things I may want to try going 10 days without in order to dispel my own apathy and feel passionate about needs of others. This book made me think.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from WaterbrookMultnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.