I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism lately. This is one of 2017 trends. The first time I read about it was from a post of James Altucher telling how minimalism helped him. If you didn’t notice yet, minimalism is everywhere. Nowadays, you don’t have to own anything. Technology helps us to be minimalist. When there are companies like Uber and Airbnb, you don’t need to buy a car or a house. But why would you become a minimalist?
What is minimalism?
Minimalism doesn’t mean being cheap. In fact, it has nothing to do with money. Minimalism means that you buy everything you need and not everything you want. You don’t let your emotions control you.
We’re living in an era where ads and corporations push us to always to buy more. Buy things we don’t need. They create a need through ads but not only. You also need things because your neighbors or your friend bought it. Why would he have one and not you? He isn’t better than you. Is he?
You then gather things all your life, but it doesn’t add any value to you. It’s the opposite. You think like it’s going to bring you happiness and fulfill you but it’s not. Once you’ve bought something, you’re looking for the next thing. If you buy the iPhone 7, as soon as it is between your hands, you’re already saving for the next generation of the iPhone.
Life is simple.
People complicate things that are simple. You always find an excuse to buy gadgets that are supposed to make your life easier. Only to throw them in a drawer after using them once. Do you really need a yolk separator? Don’t make things more complex than they are.
You feel like you’re wasting your time every day by choosing what to wear and what you’re going to eat? Simplify everything. Try to dress with less and eat similar meals.
If you buy everything you see, you may trick your brain into thinking that buying more make you smarter and more important. You are fooling yourself. You change your mindset and become superficial, you spend less time investing in yourself. Once you’re focussing on material and not value, you’ve developed a bad habit, and it’s difficult to get back to normal.
Whereas minimalism lets you focus on what is important. First, you don’t have your emotions that push you to buy everything you see. You control yourself and can, therefore, decide how to spend your energy on productive work. If you’re tired of clutter, getting rid of excess stuff will help you organize your life. You also have less useless gadgets lying around that may distract you. As a result, you stop thinking about buying new things. You focus on what matter. You get work done and you enjoy the present moment.
Have less, do more.
Minimalism gives you freedom.
Since you’re not spending time thinking what will be your next purchase, you can enjoy life and experience more. There’s no time like now to be you. Also, you don’t have a lot of things to which you’re attached. Once you decide to be a minimalist, you try not to give any emotional value to materials. If you start to be emotionally attached to things, you’re more inclined to keep them.
Minimalism helps you travel lighter. You don’t need to carry 2 large luggage anymore. Because you have less material, you know where they are, you’re then less likely to lose anything.
Don’t overdo it.
You might think that minimalism is not for you. You don’t want to get rid of all your clothes, gadgets and other things you have collected until now. The truth is that there are different levels of minimalism. Some people throw everything and live in a tiny mobile home. You don’t have to. In fact, few people can live an “extreme minimalist life”. I can’t and you’re probably like me.
You can reduce the purchase of useless things but it doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself with a gift even if it doesn’t add value, it makes you happy. You don’t have to eat the same meal every day for the rest of your life. Do it gradually.
I once was at one extreme. I’ve been a “maximalist”. Buying thousands dollars worth of clothes and electronics and as soon as I received my order, I ordered something else. I wasn’t fulfilled. I was creating needs that I didn’t have. I needed to buy every kind of jeans, every color of t-shirt and the most expensive brands. I was hungry of buying always more. I thought it would change my life, make it easier and better. Finally, I started to understand that I didn’t need 10 pairs of shoes. Buying more wasn’t helping me. It was destructing me. I was focused on getting more stuff instead of doing something about my situation.
Now, I’ve changed the way I think. Whenever I’m excited about something I want to buy, I ask myself, do I really need it? Does it help me reach my goal? If it doesn’t add any value, I don’t buy it. I only buy things I can’t live without. However, I’m not an “extreme minimalist”, sometimes I allow myself to buy something just so I can enjoy it or even eat fancy meals. It doesn’t happen that often but I like to treat myself once in a while. Today, I feel better and happier with less. Because my mind is clear, I’m more efficient and focused on what I want to achieve. I try to get rid of anything that can slow me down.