It has come to my attention that some peeps are having trouble with minimalism. And that’s ok. It’s a different process for everyone. However, I feel like there’s one major issue several people seem to be dealing with.
Minimalism is supposed to be easy.
I think the culprit is you’re trying too hard.
You shouldn’t be trying at all. It should be effortless.
Related: An introduction to minimalism
When you drive by a billboard or see an ad on television, you want it, so you go buy it. Right? Just don’t do it. How hard is that? The issue with so many of you seems to be the fight against consumerism. You’ve conditioned yourself to want things you don’t need and then you go buy those things.
That shit takes effort. I’m getting tired just thinking about buying stuff.
I don’t think many of you realize just how much energy you’re wasting with consumption. It’s exhausting. To fight it, you’re getting yourself just as tired and I think it’s because you’re using the same mentality.
Related: Project 333 vs. WAPH
It’s going to be ok. Let’s take a quick look at the definition of the word minimum, shall we?
the least or smallest amount or quantity possible, attainable, or required.
“technical difficulties have been kept to a minimum”
synonyms: lowest level, lower limit, bottom level, rock bottom, nadir; More
smallest or lowest.
“this can be done with the minimum amount of effort”
synonyms: minimal, least, smallest, least possible, slightest, lowest, minutest
“the minimum amount of effort”
What I want the focus to be on is the first definition. “Smallest amount or quantity possible, attainable, or required.”
As you can see, there is no defined amount of what the minimum actually is. This is because everyone’s definition of what’s attained, possible, or required is different. As a single man who has never been married and has no children, what is minimal for me is going to be too extreme for a married couple with ten kids. Right?
Minimalism and clutter
This is a biggie. And I want to attack it. I’m sure if you’ve done any kind of research on minimalism, you’ve seen the massive amount of posts promoting decluttering and organization of your home.
That’s all fine and good, but it’s not necessarily minimalism. I know a lot of people who live a life of excess and have beautiful, clean, tidy homes.
If you want to declutter something, you need to declutter your mind. Your head and heart are where minimalism truly lives.
So what exactly am I talking about?
1. Stress –
It needs its own place in your head. It needs to be away from what makes you happy and what you care about it. I could say to get rid of it, but that’s silly. Everyone deals with stress. What’s important is to not let it take over your mind or your life.
2. Organize your thoughts –
You’re going to be way more productive and relaxed if you can compartmentalize your head space. People who have issues with this typically find meditation helps. Stress should have one part, to do list another, random thoughts in another, work in another. You get the idea?
Furthermore, you need to be able to access each individual part while being able to shut off the others. I like to think I’ve mastered this technique, but on occasion, I do find myself trying to mentally do too much at once. While I do not meditate, I do turn the lights off and lay down and do some breathing exercises while my head works out anything it needs to.
3. Less is more –
If you want to control stress and organize your thoughts, you need to stop focusing on things that do not matter. This will give you more control over your mind. It will make separating thoughts easier. Release yourself from obligations you don’t care about, pay off debt that constantly weighs on your mind, automate bills if you worry about forgetting about them, etc… If it doesn’t need to be in your head or you don’t want it there, then you need to get rid of it. This will provide you with some inner peace and allow you to think about things that you know…actually matter.
Don’t beat yourself up
This is another issue I’m seeing with folks trying to live a “less is more” lifestyle.
Seriously, why are you upset with yourself for going out with friends on occasion? For going to a movie? For buying a nice gift for your kid’s graduation?
While spoiling yourself or loved ones with material goods is not minimalism in its purest form, who gives a shit? I mean, really?
Do you think the minimalism police are going to come and take you to minimalism jail? Will your minimalist license be revoked?
Minimalism has taken hold in our society for one reason. It makes people’s lives worth living. It helps people to look within themselves and understand what makes them happy, what makes life actually worth living, and what people and things are worth keeping.
So don’t get upset with yourself because you spent money on something that isn’t “minimalist”.
You have a car that works, so don’t buy a new one. You have plates and silverware, so there’s no need to buy more. This shit is so basic. Maybe that’s the issue here. Maybe it’s too easy. Maybe people who have grown up in a consumerist society think anything this good has to be hard work.
Well, it doesn’t.
I love the popular blogger phrase, “It’s simple, but not easy”. And for the most part, it’s true. Not with minimalism.
It really comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish with this philosophy. If you don’t know or you’re just not into it, then you’re going to fail.
If this is something you know you want. Something you truly believe in and you’ve tried everything but you’re still struggling, feel free to comment or message me privately. I’m happy to help if I can.