It is one of modern life’s ironies that the busier we are in the hopes of realizing our hopes and dreams, the more we stagnate. Moreover, much of being busy involves, and is aimed at, consuming and owning as much as we can. This is exactly where learning about minimalism, and adopting a minimalist lifestyle, can change your life for the better. To many people it will come as a great relief to know that to become more of who you are does not involve consuming and owning more, but that it significantly involves doing less while focusing on what is important and with those who matter. Read here what living the minimalist lifestyle entails, and how it might just be what you need to help unearth your hidden talents and potentials.
The first, and perhaps most fundamental, change in the direction of adopting a minimalist lifestyle is for you to work on changing your mindset. You need to undergo a paradigm shift in your thinking, actions, and perceptions of life in general, and on your own, in particular. In essence, you stop looking for fulfillment and meaning in material possessions, and how much you can accumulate. Instead, your primary focus is on life itself, and on creating increasingly more qualitative, positive experiences; in short, quality assumes greater focus and meaning than quantity. But, what does this mean in every day practice, you might ask?
A minimalist lifestyle encourages you to let go of the excesses modern culture so readily offers up for consumption; the newest gadgets, fashionable clothes, the latest luxury brand items, more of this, and a bigger that. In the process of going with the flow of the excessive consumerist lifestyle and mentality most people seem to automatically adopt, you hardly take notice of its negative effects on your life; you inevitably end up collecting more clutter, get deeper into debt, grow a longer to-do list, create more distractions, and also too much noise.
The obsession with material goods and the supposed happiness these bring, leaves many people unfulfilled because in the process they forget about creating and expressing what is internally meaningful to them. You neglect your essence, since it is something immaterial, and it cannot be found, or enhanced, on the material plane. What a minimalist mindset asks of you is to pause, and think about, whether obtaining this new service and that product is really helping you to cultivate your essence, your meaning, and will it add to a deeper, more enriching experience of life. Think about it: how many pairs of shoes do you need, how big a house, or how many TVs are necessary in order for you to live a meaningful, creative, energetic life?
When you adopt a minimalist mindset and lifestyle, you quickly learn to distinguish between what is important, and what isn’t. It refines and sharpens your focus, and clears away inconsequential distractions. According to Leo Babauta, minimalism;
Is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning.
The more your attention and actions are determined by doing and taking care of what is meaningful, rather than what is convenient, pleasurable, or makes you look good, the more you start appreciating and valuing the little things in life, and the importance of living in the present moment. Moreover, you are less concerned about trying to do 101 different things in the space of a day, but focus on paying attention to one or two things because they are important for today.
Eschewing what is not essential does not mean you now have to stop buying nice things. What it does mean, however, is that you don’t purchase in excess of what you need, and that you focus on the quality of a service or product; the higher the quality, the longer it is likely to last, and the greater its value.
Decluttering and Simplicity
When you stop to consume blindly, and let go of the desire to own everything you see, you will naturally end up collecting less. In addition, your eyes begin to open to how many unnecessary things you’ve amassed over the years, including the fact that much of what you own you no longer use. When you think about it, the need to hold on to things you actually don’t need and use is more psychological, and does not actually serve any practical purpose other than an emotional one. Getting rid of what you don’t need any longer will not only lead to living a less cluttered life, but also help to overcome the psychological imperative to hold on to what is no longer necessary or important. Throwing out what is not needed will help to make your life simpler.
The realization that you now have more time on your hands, because you are less concerned with collecting and consuming goods can be quite liberating in itself. Combined with your growing knowledge of what is important, you will naturally look to your relationships with loved ones, and get more encouragement to spend more quality time with the people who matter most in your life. And that’s what minimalism is about: doing what is important, with those who are important. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle will, according to Mirella, teach you to become;
More fascinated by creating a life that is centered around meaning and fulfillment.
Getting out of your old mindset and habits will, of course, be challenging as you begin your journey on the path of living a minimalist lifestyle. It’s not a once-off happening, but requires daily, conscious work to adopt a new paradigm for living.
Lynn Fang says that choosing the minimalist lifestyle in essence involves;
A journey in search of the essentials of living a happy and meaningful life.
Fortunately, when you begin to undertake this journey, the positive results will soon begin to manifest in your life. Those who have made the minimalist lifestyle their own speak of living a life that is less stressful and full of joy, ease, and creativity, because they have deliberately opted to make room for these by looking on the inside, rather than the outside, for meaning and fulfillment.