Angela Horn has heart for people and a wonderful disposition for humour. Armed with these strengths, she worked her way through a variety of careers before landing on her knack for wordsmithing as a way to impact the world around her. Adopting a “less is more” lifestyle has resulted in a bounty of benefits for Angela and her wife, Sporty. Here she reveals some of the key insights that have come about as a result of living with less.
My Definition Of Success | I think when I was younger success might have meant a big salary or a fancy car, but nowadays I measure it by how much of a difference I’m making. If someone watches my TEDx talk and tells me it inspired them to declutter their home, I feel happy knowing I’ve had an impact, however small it may be in the greater scheme of things.
What drives you? | The knowledge that I have the power to make a difference.
My Highlights | My work life is a checkered canvas that would make most recruitment agents throw their hands up in despair. I fell into my first job by accident and that set a precedent for diversity and trying new things.
I’ve worked as a caterer, spent time in the film industry, been a graphic designer and even had a stint in government, all of which taught me that I learn quickly and adapt easily (in spite of what I tell myself to the contrary).
Aside from that I’m probably most proud of speaking at TEDx Cape Town in 2013. I consider it one of my crowning achievements for two reasons. Firstly, I’m ridiculously shy, so finding the courage to stand up and speak to an audience that big helped me see that I’m braver than I give myself credit for.
Secondly, and more importantly, that one act has had (and continues to have to this day) far-reaching effects, more so than I could ever have imagined possible. The talk has inspired people to make positive changes within their own lives and that alone is enough for me.
The Magic in me Originates From | Inside myself.
The Difference Between Good And Great | People who are great at what they do have the advantage of passion. If you’re passionate about something it’ll drive you to go the distance, whereas if you’re good at something, but it’s not your reason for waking up in the morning, then you’ll only ever be good at it.
Principles, Values and Ideologies I Live By | Be nice, play fair and don’t harm others (people, animals or any living being).
People are inherently good and the Universe is a friendly place, but I think our obsession with the news and the barrage of negativity it consistently delivers makes us believe otherwise.
I get that there’s ‘bad news’ and people doing wrong, but there is also so much good in the world, so many people doing the most amazing things, yet they often go unnoticed because we’re all so focused on what’s wrong.
I believe the world would be a much better place if we didn’t spend so much time obsessing over the news.
How I Use My Mind | I try to focus on the positive. Easier said than done (obviously), but when I get this right I’m always happier. I avoid, as far as possible, watching (reading etc.) the news or exposing myself to anything overtly negative. I meditate and visualise, I take the time to appreciate the everyday, small things life has to offer. I also find gratitude to be a really powerful tool. It reminds me how much I have to be grateful for.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Always try to be nice. As far as possible avoid saying or doing anything you’ll regret, because sometimes saying sorry isn’t enough and sometimes you may not even have the chance to say sorry.
Live within your means, avoid debt and invest wisely.
Donate money and/or time to charity, it makes you feel really good and serves as a wonderful reminder of how much we have to be thankful for.
Spend time alone. Live alone before you live with someone else and when you find your someone always make time for you. Don’t disappear into the relationship.
Slow down, don’t be in such a hurry. Wherever possible walk or ride a bicycle. Cars have a tendency to cut you off from the world, plus they’re expensive.
Dealing With Doubt | I meditate, I go running and I talk about how I’m feeling. We often build things up in our head and all it takes is someone else’s perspective to remind us that we’re enough, that we have what it takes.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I love watching TED talks, I still can’t get over how many people there are out there with ideas worth spreading. Whenever I watch one I’m invariably uplifted or I learn something new. I like going to the movies (especially by myself) and I enjoy walking or running on Tafelberg Road. The view is magnificent and if you get there early enough the quiet is incredibly soothing. It’s good for my soul.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I applied to speak at TED Global and I would be so happy if that happened. I want this message of being mostly mindful to reach as many people as possible, and that’s a platform that could help me make that dream a reality.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | When I was about eighteen years old I’d just landed my very first job. My Nana sat me down and told me that the best way to handle my finances was simply to divide my salary into three. She said I should save a third, use a third for living expenses and spend the remaining third on myself.
I never listened to her and within two years I was mired in credit card debt. It took me until 2012 to finally be in the black again. If I’d paid heed I’d probably be retired and sipping pina coladas in the Bahamas right now.
Advice On Building Wealth | Start young and if you can’t start young start right now. Avoid debt, save, invest and stick to a budget. Get yourself a really good financial advisor to help you. Remember, you don’t need all the ‘stuff’. Instead, invest as much of your earnings as you possibly can, because if you do that now it’ll pay off big time later on. There are people out there retiring as young as 30, it can be done. That old school way of thinking i.e. you have to work until you’re 65 or older no longer applies, at least not unless you opt for the big house, fancy car and lavish lifestyle route.
I Am Inspired By | My wife and Mostly Mindful partner in minimalism, Saskia aka Sporty, has shown me that you can be nice and still be heard. People like Eckhart Tolle and Mike Dooley deliver daily words of wisdom that keep me grounded and make me think. Esther the Wonder Pig (and her two humans, Steve and Derek) are changing the world one heart at a time. Theirs is a truly remarkable story that’ll have you rethinking that BLT.
I’m also super inspired by celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Leo DiCaprio and Emma Thompson (to name just a few) who are using their status to make a valuable contribution to the world. The Internet has also introduced me to a community of minimalist and plant-based people that I’d never otherwise have met. All of whom are making a difference in their own way.
All these people are in their own way making a difference and leading by example.