I Share Hope

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Stories about hope and ways to share hope

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Petri Luukkainen

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“When I had some kind of order, let’s say 50 items or when you start to get along, you can sleep on the bed and you can go out and maybe even have a mobile phone or something. Everything is kind of in order and then you’re like, okay, from now on the 54th and the 55th, 56th item, that’s actually not going to change my life at all. You can have these kinds of small pleasures or things. There aren’t many items that actually change us. We might be able to do some things or leisure or hobbies or something, but when it comes to personality and happiness and how you perceive your own life, there ain’t really much to do with stuff actually. I’m Petri Luukkainen, I’m a filmmaker from Finland and I Share Hope, I hope.” – Petri Luukkainen

Petri Luukkainen is a filmmaker who recently released a full feature documentary about his very personal and brave experimental journey. Petri decided he would take every single possession out of his apartment, put it in storage, and then bring one item back per day for a period of a year. This way, he could discover the balance of things and personal identity.



46 Petri Luukkainen – Filmmaking, Materialism and Hope

“When I had some kind of order, let’s say 50 items or when you start to get along, you can sleep on the bed and you can go out and maybe even have a mobile phone or something. Everything is kind of in order and then you’re like, okay, from now on the 54th and the 55th, 56th item, that’s actually not going to change my life at all. You can have these kinds of small pleasures or things. There aren’t many items that actually change us. We might be able to do some things or leisure or hobbies or something, but when it comes to personality and happiness and how you perceive your own life, there ain’t really much to do with stuff actually. I’m Petri Luukkainen, I’m a filmmaker from Finland and I Share Hope, I hope.” – Petri Luukkainen

Intro:

Welcome to I Share Hope! The podcast where world leaders share their real stories of hope and how you can use actionable hope to start changing your life today and now here’s your host, Chris Williams.

Chris Williams:

Petri, you’ve got this documentary that I’ve only seen the preview for and now I’m really curious about it. Are you still in the middle of this documentary year or is it over?

Petri Luukkainen:

No.

Chris Williams:

Okay.

Petri Luukkainen:

I think that kind of experiment, they go on for life. I see it as a project and I also see it as a film. The film was filmed during my project in 2011, I think. Yes 2011 and then the film was edited in 2012 and it came out 2013. Now, it’s a couple of years ago already. Still, the process is ongoing more or less because it’s my life.

Chris Williams:

Okay, so I want to hear more about this because you got this documentary that you’ve done where you gave up…and this was kind of near to my heart because I love the minimalistic idea and I love the idea of getting away from all this junk that we have that distracts us from the most important things in our lives, the relationships and just experiencing life in a better way. So, if I get this right you took a year and the day one, you got rid of everything in your life that was material. All material possessions out, literally everything.

Literally, the last pair of underwear, you put it in a storage unit and every day for a year you could take one item out. So, if you wanted to brush your teeth you could get the toothbrush or the toothpaste, you just couldn’t get both and you had to decide if you wanted underwear or if you wanted a blanket to sleep under the first day. I mean stuff like that, right? The real thing. You went all in.

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes. That was the rules.

Chris Williams:

To make that even more fun, your apartment was not next to the storage unit. There was a little of crossing town and crossing the street going on for the first couple of days that were a little bit embarrassing.

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes. I made up this rule that I’d take everything into a storage unit and I can bring back one item back today and I would do that for a year and I would not be allowed to buy anything. Then during the year, I kind of, okay I have to buy food so that was excluded. That was the rules. The initial kind of project that I had in mind, it was not like a really clear concept with rules and I would make a film. It was more like I was figuring out what do I need in life and what do I want to do with my life and I was maybe in the happiest place at the time.

I remembered that there was a storage unit like its 1 kilometer from my home. I really didn’t think about it, but it just made perfect sense that I would just get rid of my things to, I don’t know, be born again or reboot my life. I don’t really remember what I was thinking at the moment, but it made perfect sense. So, I started packing my things into these boxes and transporting them to the storage. At the time, I had this idea that because I’m a beginning filmmaker and I was like, hey this would actually make quite a nice movie as well. How it became a film was because it was a perfect excuse to explain it to all the people. If you’re taking your stuff into storage and you’re starting off naked in your apartment, running around in the middle of the winter, people would think you are crazy. So, when I explained it to my mom or anybody I would say, “We are making this documentary”. Everybody was like, “Oh, I understand”. It was a good excuse to do something radical because you are filming it.

Chris Williams:

That’s so fun. So, anybody that’s out there, it will be on isharehope.com on the Show Notes page for Petri. Petri, say your full name in your accent because it’s fantastic.

Petri Luukkainen:

Petri Luukkainen.

Chris Williams:

Love it. If you look up Petri on I Share Hope, Petri, you’ll find a link to the video, the preview for sure and then where you can find the full documentary as well because it’s awesome. I like died laughing the first time and then after about 30 seconds when I got done laughing, I was like, oh my goodness this is brilliant. This guy is really doing it, so well done. Well done.

So, what projects are you working on now?

Petri Luukkainen:

At the time, the film is going around the world, so I’ve actually been going around the world, travelling and talking about the film. I am still reflecting on the same kind of topics and I’m still living my everyday life, so that kind of project is still going on even though it’s not being filmed. I’m also now working on another film. It’s a little bit like a music film, but I think it’s more about my generation in Europe or something. It’s hard to explain, but it’s called The Never Ending Dream, the film.

Chris Williams:

That’s great.

Petri Luukkainen:

I’m working on a new film. I think I actually have to write a book about my experiences during the year or something because I’ve actually noticed… Now, talking to you as well, somehow our belongings and the things we own, at the time, they interest a lot of people. So, I think maybe I should write a book. I don’t know, I’m not a writer. I’m a filmmaker, but I would hate to do a sequel. I don’t want to do like “My Stuff 2”. I think for a while I’ve had enough of filming myself.

Chris Williams:

You should do Your Stuff 2 and it should be just a satire and you could be living like a billionaire with a huge house and a basketball court inside and all that stuff, like you totally went the wrong way. Man, that’s fantastic. Well, let me ask you these questions. We’re interviewing 1000 people around the world who are telling stories about their own life and this is your time, so there’s nothing scripted here, you and I haven’t talked about this before now and I think you’ve been given the list of questions there. The questions are very simple. I’ll ask the five questions about hope and you can just answer them any way you like.

Question 1: What is your definition of hope or your favorite quote about hope? How do you think about hope?

Petri Luukkainen:

What just comes into my mind, I think hope is some kind of driver for me or maybe to all human beings. I mean you have to have hope in order to live, I think. I mean if hope is taken away from you…At least, I’m fortunate enough to live in Finland and, you know, quite easygoing life. I’m in a position where I can do self-experiments with stuff or with whatever and I feel secure in my life so that I’m able to do those kinds of things. But how I feel about hope is that I’m allowed to hope for something in my life or hoping or – I’m a little bit thinking that the word “hope” is similar with the word “dream”, so I think hopes or dreams are some kind of fuel for humans that keeps you going.

Another thing that comes from hope is – I was talking to one person also about climate change and because some people deny that there is global warming or some people don’t care or somebody’s trying to work so that we would have or our kids or grandkids would have a place to live. Some people are saying that it’s past 2 degrees and the whole world is fucked. It’s gone. It’s just like we already put too much carbon out there and then one person said that having no hope in climate change that means that you do not have any morale. That you should have hope, that there is hope for mankind.

Just a moment. [speaks in another language] My fiancée came home.

Chris Williams:

She’s welcome to join the conversation. I hate to keep her out.

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes, but I also think hope as – it’s quite big to say like hope for mankind. When I think about climate change, I get quite anxious or I’m trying to limit my carbon footprint or I’m thinking how could I change the world with the things that I do. For that, you need to think that there is hope. That’s just how I see hope I guess.

Chris Williams:

Great way to see it. Great definition. I think that makes a lot of sense. Hope really is tied to the morale or the way we feel like we have a chance to make it better, get better or whatever. Climate change is a great example and there’s a lot of things always in our personal lives that we need that hope or that positive outlook or to think at least to believe that we can make some difference here.

Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you? In your life, who’s back there that’s really given you hope?

Petri Luukkainen:

I think it’s probably my mom. I don’t really have specific memories or ideas that I think about my upbringing, but I think I’m the kind of guy who have – I dare to dream or I’m quite hopeful in a way. I think that must have something to do with my mom and the way that I was raised and maybe in some sense, the society that I live in. I don’t actually think so much about…The most hope I get out of actually is from art, from music or movies or something. Whenever I feel that something touches me deep inside, I go to concerts or I go to the movies and I see something that’s brilliant or touches me, moves me, afterwards I feel like the whole world is open. You can do whatever, you feel good about yourself and tomorrow is going to be great. You’re not stressed out, you don’t think “can I do this”?

I think in general, I get most hope from movies and music. Those are the probably the art forms that speak to me.

Chris Williams:

That’s great. Your mom, music and movies. Love it. You got three M’s going there. That’s really good. I think that’s a great story about your mom too. I think there’s got to be some connection to that. They have such an impact on our lives, they really do.

Question 3: When was a time in your life when things are dark and you really needed hope?

I mean right now, you look like, man this guy’s got a documentary going, he’s out speaking all over the place, he’s traveling around telling his story, but… I mean, has it been hard? What was it like when it was hard and how did you pull through?

Petri Luukkainen:

Before speaking of my documentaries or speaking about my life, I think it was 2010 or something before I did the experiment. I was lonely and if I now reflect back on the beginning, so I did a human experiment about my stuff. I was a guy who was thinking that his biggest problem in life is that he has too much of things. He owns too much possessions and he is so sad about it, that he has so many things that he has to decide what does he really need? That sounds a little bit sad to say it out loud now, but I’ve been reflecting on that.

Of course now it’s easy for me to say because I came through the project, that I hopefully have learned something out of it. Yes, I made a movie about it, so actually during the year and the experiment, it was not public. I did the project and I did the filming and then afterwards it was released, so this was more like a diary. It was not like a blog that was online. Everything wasn’t okay when I ended the project. I think at the time, I think for my personality probably I thought that there is hope. As I mentioned before, hope is a kind of a driver or it’s some kind of fuel for the soul. I probably haven’t been to a place where there wasn’t hope, but I think when I was in a lonely spot in my life and I was trying to fulfill my needs with things that weren’t proper like consuming or diving into just hobbies. I was just missing love and understanding and the basic stuff.

I think that’s the dark point or period for me. It was that somehow I wasn’t able to be honest to myself, so I was probably just consuming because I was missing love or I was probably doing too much work because I was lonely. I think I was missing some kind of honesty or self-reflection in my life. Somewhere, I’m not totally sure where it came – I had some kind of awakening – it’s a stupid word. But, what I did or how I came out, maybe I had some kind of hope or longing for something and then I decided that I will take some time and I will figure my life out or I will do something. What I did, I decided to put my stuff in the storage. I think in a way – it’s stupid way to say it, I think the way out was giving time to myself. Just sit down, shut up and think about yourself and do something. I don’t work like that – that I would just sit and think and have some kind of philosophy about my life and just think. I think I need to do something, so I think it’s quite easy to – I don’t know – cut your hair or put your stuff into storage or move to another town or something. I think these kinds of clear changes, they help you out.

Chris Williams:

I think it’s interesting you mentioned your relationships and loneliness a lot in that section of life. A lack of relationships I guess, that you’re alone and then that’s a big deal. I think relationships are so important and we take it for granted and so many of us leave relationships that are great maybe just needed a little work. Not that you did that, I’m just saying that there’s a lot of people who leave relationships and don’t realize how important those relationships are going to be if they could work through something because when we get lonely we get kind of desperate.

I also think it’s interesting that you mentioned the action. I’m that way too. I want to do something. My wife is different. She’s more of a philosophical thinker and she needs to think things through for a long time before she thinks “oh, that’s the right change to make” and she probably makes wiser changes because of it. I’m kind of the same way – cut my hair, change my lifestyle drastically or do something. I got to shake it up. That helps clear my head.

Petri Luukkainen:

When you mentioned relationships, I’ve actually been thinking quite a lot about it because I have friends but probably I was just missing a partner or something… So, I was missing a girlfriend, but I have also been thinking that during the experiment, the year that I did it I was single, I was lonely and I met my girlfriend during the year and I, of course, altered my life quite a bit and I was wondering because what would have happened if I would have not met my girlfriend? It would have been just so that I would have been just miserable and single? It can’t be like that. We just have to have a partner because it just doesn’t work always like that. I’ve been thinking – but I had my friends, so how was I so lonely? I think it boils down, in a way, saying that you got to love yourself. I think that’s the way. If you love yourself or accept yourself, then it’s much more easy to relate to other things in life. When you go into a relationship with a girlfriend or you get married, then it’s just so much easier to love yourself because there’s someone else loving you all the time. It makes it easier.

When I think about the loneliness and stuff, I think that has something to do with… Now when I’m talking about love or I’m thinking about love, I think it goes both ways. It’s just not like you’re loving somebody and somebody’s loving you. I think it’s kind of a round that you have to love yourself. I think that’s where it starts.

Chris Williams:

I think you’re right. I really do. You’re right. You got to fix you before you can fix somebody else or fix you before you can bring somebody else into your world because you could just mess them up too, you know?

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Good. Good reflections. Thank you.

Question 4: How are you sharing hope today? What are you doing in your daily life to share hope with somebody else?

Petri Luukkainen:

I am a filmmaker and somewhat doing public work. I think through my films or through other videos that I do, I think that’s a great way so I can express myself. Making films and videos, that’s a public thing, so there I can influence a lot of people. If I’m not trying to say anything, I have to know that people are getting influenced by the work you do. I think creativity.

A couple of days ago, I went to have lunch with my friend in Helsinki where I live and the girl at the counter, when I was paying my lunch, she was like “Hey, aren’t you the guy from the documentary that you put all your stuff away?” I’m not like a super celebrity, but sometimes people my age, you know… The film was a phenomena, so people recognize me sometimes and she was younger than me and she was like “You’re from the film…I loved your film about…” and then she said “I’m also thinking that I probably might go to that school, but I didn’t get into that school” and started talking about herself. I tried billion times, but I never got into film school. I’m more self-learned. When I was younger, I probably just wasn’t – you could not take me to film school. I probably wasn’t good enough at the time, so I had to more or less had to learn myself or to work with my friends. When she was talking at the counter, I really felt that I had to say “Yeah, you know, you didn’t get into the film school, don’t worry. I tried million times, I didn’t get into film school either and you’ve seen my film” so it’s great. It doesn’t matter that you have to get into film school to be able to make films.

I think these are the kind of small sharing or ways to share hope or share your story. You sit in a bus and somebody is telling a story and you just comment on the story or you laugh or you clap. You just do something slightly out of the ordinary. I think those are the kind of little sparks that give energy and keeps things going.

Chris Williams:

I think you’re absolutely right. Good examples. It’s just human on human. It’s just being a real person. That’s really cool. I think it’s fun that you’re getting recognized out there too especially from your documentary because that film’s got a great start. So, she’s like “I think you’re the right guy, but I don’t know. I mean, you got all your clothes on so I can’t really tell if you’re the same guy or not”…

Question 5: Some simple steps for people like me and our listeners who may be trying to learn how to be more hopeful and change their life to be a little more hopeful or that they’re trying to just engage their community and share hope? What are those A, B, C steps, kind of those 1, 2, 3s of where do we start sharing hope? What do I do next?

Petri Luukkainen:

As a person who is going through a radical lifestyle change and experiment and everything, I think it might seem that when they hear about my project or see the trailer, there is all these rules and blah, blah, blah and there’s a film. It might seem that I had some kind of big idea like lightning struck and everything was clear and I’m super talented and I decided to do something. It was not like that. It was more a way of starting to share hope or something.

You don’t have some kind of idea or method or something that would be just like “Okay, this is what I’m going to do”. I think really rarely it comes like that. For me, it happens so that I had the idea to just pack the things to storage and during the packing I had the idea of filming and then I had the how I should proceed, then I had the rules and it developed during and now it’s been developing through many years. I think the key point was that I’ve decided to change my life, so I made a decision to start doing something. At the time, it wasn’t so clear so I think if you want to start a blog or if you want to save the world, it doesn’t matter how big or small the thing that you’re going for. I think the important thing is to start doing it and commit yourself. Even though you had only some kind of direction or some kind of vague idea, I think it’s important just to start and say to yourself, you know, “okay I’m doing this” and then see how it goes and let the journey teach you.

If you want to make a film or if you want to make a record or write a book or something – I mean maybe writing a book would be easy. You may be having some kind of an idea and then you just have to start writing. Many times when I think about my life or something else or climate change or whatever, it always seems so this – and then it seems so hard. Am I really up for this? It’s the kind of first thing – decide the direction or the goal you want to go towards and just commit to it. It’s the easiest step because who knows what’s going to happen on the journey or who knows what you’re going to learn in three months or one year or five years? You’re going to be a totally different kind of person and you’re going to know a lot more than you know now. Many things are just a matter of starting. It’s not a matter of knowing what to do really.

Chris Williams:

That’s good advice. That really is. It really is. Just to start something, start moving and keep taking a step. That’s all you did. It’s a great point because you really do – you know how it is. You look at somebody who’s already down the road a few years or already has their project out like you do and I mean there may be other new and aspiring filmmakers listening or watching our interview later and they think, well yes, but I mean look at it, it’s beautiful. You’ve already done it and now you’re getting recognition. Like you said, it was kind of a journal, it wasn’t your big plan and you just started. There are so many other things in life like that too. Just start.

Petri Luukkainen:

When it comes to my film, of course, I’ve been practicing with the films and with the tools and with my ideas for 15 years. Now, when I’m talking about just the project that I did with the human experiment, I think that was 2010 and now it’s like five years back. Now I’m thinking, okay, now the pieces are falling. Now that I’m talking to you at the moment, it feels somehow that I know what I’m talking about. You should just trust yourself that you have it in you. If you know a clear way where to go, just start.

Chris Williams:

Love it. Good advice. All right man, enjoy the rest of your day. Thanks so much for your time. It’s been really fun.

Petri Luukkainen:

Thank you. I sent you a link for the film, so if you have time you can check it.

Chris Williams:

Yes I’ll do that and tell me this, how can we find you on social media? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, where are you at? Websites?

Petri Luukkainen:

I’m in Twitter and Facebook with my own name. There ain’t many Petri Luukkainen.

Chris Williams:

Yes. I’m going to spell that for the listeners in case you are not able to hit the website. [Spells Petri’s name] So, that’s your handle for all social media that you have, right?

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Fantastic. Okay, well we’ll put all those on the show notes page or on the interview page for isharehope.com under Petri’s name and also put his website links on there and place where you can find documentaries and where he’s going to be speaking or whatever. We’ll get all that stuff in there. Man, I can’t wait to see what you do next. The naked bank robber documentary, coming in 2016?

Petri Luukkainen:

[Laughter]

Chris Williams:

All right man, good talking to you. Thank you.

Petri Luukkainen:

Keep up the good work. Ciao. Bye.

Chris Williams:

Bye.

You’ve just listened to I Share Hope. If you’re ready to make a change, head to our website at isharehope.com and claim your free copy of the Top Ten Actions of Hope from World Leaders to use hope in your own life. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.

Chris Williams:

So, you’re doing the documentary and I mean, you’re literally running out your front door and your hand is the only thing you got for clothes and you’re a kilometer away from the storage unit? I mean did you bump into anybody on the way? Did you stay in back alleys the whole time?

Petri Luukkainen:

It actually was my friend’s idea. There was actually a guy bring the newspapers and there were a couple of people walking down from a bar, so there were people. There was actually the police at one crossing, but it’s not in the film. They crossed the street there, but normally if you see something like that, you know, you see some guy, it was like -30 degrees in the winter, it was freezing cold, snow everywhere and then you see a guy running naked. You’re like, what is happening? But then, there was the cameraman “Ah, they’re filming something. Everything is probably okay”.

Chris Williams:

Everything’s fine. Yes. They got a camera. You got to do the documentary to be there man, you could totally just do one that was off of all the crazy things you can do with permission while you have a camera.

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes. Rob a bank…

Chris Williams:

Yes. Exactly. Rob a bank naked?

Petri Luukkainen:

That’s how the film is going to be funded. First, we rob the bank.

Chris Williams:

Here’s the video of the seven banks we robbed in front of the police with our camera and it worked out great.

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes, that is true.

Chris Williams:

So, music, your mom and movies gave you a lot of hope. Favorite band and song, pick one. Not just that gave you hope, but if you need to pop something in your earbuds that’s going to make you feel better and you’re going to rock out to, what’s it going to be?

Petri Luukkainen:

It’s the band called Woods.

Chris Williams:

W-O-O-D-S?

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes and Size Meets the Sound.

Chris Williams:

Size Meets the Sound by Woods.

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes. I did one documentary about or as part of doing this, about one athlete like a top tennis player and before a match or before a game or something, he had a couple of specific songs that he was listening to just before the match.

Chris Williams:

Yes, kind of getting his head in the game?

Petri Luukkainen:

Getting in the mood, yes and I was thinking, man, that’s a great thing. I should do the same thing. At the time, I bumped into this song and it became my anthem. If I would feel slightly depressed or if I would have an interview that I would be a little bit anxious of or just, you know….

[Music plays]

Chris Williams:

Is that the one?

Petri Luukkainen:

Yes.

Chris Williams:

Nice.

Petri Luukkainen:

It has a great – how the tempo picks up a bit and it’s trendy, folky rock-ish music, but for me, it’s my anthem.

Chris Williams:

Awesome. That’s great man. I’m listening to it.

Petri Luukkainen:

I have different kinds of anthems for example for writing, I have different items. It’s like a mantra so every time I hear this specific song…because if I have heard the song 1000 times all over again, it’s like you know the song by heart, so you don’t actually have to listen to it. It doesn’t disrupt you, you just get into the mood right away.

Chris Williams:

That’s a good idea. Athletes do that very effectively. It’s a great idea.

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