The title says it all — how much would you sell your life for?
I’m not talking about planning for your death or a life insurance scam, but rather how much would it take for you to walk away from your entire life? Your worldly possessions, your job, even your family and friends.
A garage sale of the soul, so to speak.
Back in 2008, Australian Ian Usher did just that. He was going through the stereotypical mid-life crisis. He had separated from his wife two years earlier, moved cities, taken a new job but still felt that he had not truly moved on. He needed to do something drastic.
So he turned to eBay. He was going to sell his life.
What is a life worth?
In 2020, eBay had annual revenue of $10.27 billion. There are a lot of crazy items sold on there. From a grilled cheese sandwich that looked like the Virgin Mary to the meaning of life — it seems there is little that is deemed unsellable on the action website.
You could even sell your life on the e-commerce platform. And so, in June 2008, Usher listed his life for sale.
The description of the product was sale was simple: “I have had enough of my life! I don’t want it anymore.”
He offered his house, motorbike, car, job, friends, and possessions. With such an interesting item for sale, Usher attracted global media interest in his life.
Bids came in from around the world soon rocketing above $2million Australian dollars (approximately $1.7 million USD), but further scrutiny found these were hoax bids — the top bidder was a curious fifteen-year-old. As a result, Usher was forced to set up a registration process so only genuine bidders could submit offers. If you wanted to buy Usher’s life, you needed to be authentic!
When the auction closed, the winning bid was $399,200 Australian dollars ($339,000 USD).
It was life-changing. And I do mean that literally. Usher had sold his life and had to move on.
Life sold. Now what?
If this was an article on marketing or investing or how to achieve publicity, it would end here. Admittedly short, but an interesting case study on how to use eBay and spark global media coverage.
But it’s more than that. It’s about life. So let’s talk more about life. More specifically, once you have sold your life, what do you do?
You have been presented with an opportunity: a clean slate and a chance to begin anew.
Usher certainly didn’t want to waste his new life. He had the money, the time, and the freedom to change his life. So, he came up with 100 goals he wanted to achieve and gave himself 100 weeks to achieve them.
He traveled the world doing all the usual bucket list type adventures — running with bulls, swimming with sharks, joining the mile-high club. Ok. Maybe that last one isn’t on everyone’s list.
As he checked off his 100 goals, he kept people updated via his website, hoping to inspire others to take action.
Goal 46. Meet Richard Branson. Source: WikiCommons Images
Usher managed to tick off all the items on his list, attracting media along the way fascinated with his journey. One item that wasn’t on his list but that Usher accomplished was finding love again — he married a Canadian woman.
In 2012 with his global travels complete, he purchased a Caribbean island. There he wrote a couple of books and even sold the rights to his life story to Disney.
From driving commercial vehicles in Western Australia, he was now living on his own island as a writer.
That’s a significant change in life.
A life unlimited
Not everyone can sell their entire lives.
In fact, very few people can. But we can metaphorically sell them—no need to pay eBay fees that way. Instead, we can rid ourselves of bad habits, toxic people, or unnecessary distractions. We can move on from negative situations and adopt a new mindset.
I ‘sold’ my life — or aspects I didn’t like last year. I was struggling with mental health issues, pressures, and stress from a business dragging me down and interactions with people who weren’t good for me.
I went through both a literal and figurative sale. I sold my business, changed directions, and focused on what I truly loved in life — creativity, writing, and humor. I sold my share in my startup — which was financial. I also sold business Ash and the associated people and possessions to find a new passion and tribe — which was mental.
There was nothing better than starting a fresh new journal to write the next part of my journey in life. It wasn’t a new life like Usher’s, but to me, it was an improved life.
My advice to you, my dear reader and member of my tribe, is to take note of what you can sell in your life.
This can be on any scale — from Kondo to Usher.
Marie Kondo advises ridding yourself of unnecessary possessions and decluttering your life. It can be as simple as cleaning out your closet.
Ian Usher is at the other end of the scale — getting rid of everything and starting with a completely clean slate.
For me personally, I was halfway between Kondo and Usher. Perhaps that could be termed an Ushdo? Or a Konder?
Whatever route you choose, the important thing is to maximize the opportunity this ‘garage sale of the soul’ presents to you.
If you want to see Ian Usher speak about his experience, you can view his TedTalk. If you want to watch me speak about my experience, petition Ted and say they need me as a speaker!