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“You can never get enough of what you don’t really want” – Dr. Rick Hanson, Neuropsychologist, on Minimalism
Humanity is on a downward spiral, and the planet is spinning out of control. The climate is changing for the worse, the oceans are dying out, multiple species of plants and animals are becoming extinct, faster than ever. And, the one species almost single-handedly responsible is still in a mad race to possess more! Our life decisions are being driven by a drivel of media and advertisements, that are setting unattainable standards of what our lives should look like. We are chasing more land, more power, more success, more money, and more things. And, yet, we are unable to ‘buy’ our way to happiness. It is time that we get introduced to the philosophy of Minimalism, to give us and the planet a fighting chance to reclaim sanity
What is Minimalism?
In pop culture, Minimalism gets a bad rap. It is presumed that the philosophy precludes ‘sacrifice’. In reality, though, Minimalism is not a prescriptive set of rules. It is only a state of mind. It is the intentional promotion of things that add value to your life and removal of those that don’t. Instead of thinking of minimalism as a discrete philosophy, try to think of it as being on a continuum with materialism. If the life of a hermit is on the left of this spectrum, the life of an obsessive consumer is the other extreme. Minimalism is the thought that we should try to shift our lives to the left of this scale, being mindful of value addition to life, to enable minimum impact on resources.
For example, if you have 10 pairs of shoes, but you functionally wear only 3 pairs, a minimalistic approach would be to donate or sell the other 7 pairs. On the other hand, if it is a collection that gives you joy, and increases your value, feel free to cherish it. Minimalism is not against consumption, only that it cherishes quality over quantity.
How can Minimalism benefit us?
Even before we get to the altruistic benefits of Minimalism, let us discuss how the philosophy improves the lives of those who practice it.
Look around any average urban household right now. Take a close look at your own! You will realize that there are a ton of ‘things’ that you own, that are completely useless to you. Multiple devices, superfluous kitchen, and personal equipment, old DVDs, toys, clothes, knick-knacks – that might have meant something to you at some point in your life, but are just clutter now. Minimalism promotes de-cluttering, opening up physical and emotional space in your life. By letting ‘things’ go, we allow ourselves to drop the baggage literally and move on.
This one is a no-brainer. In the current world of fast-moving possessions, it is easy to spend more than we earn. It results in an emotionally debilitating cycle of debt. We are buying houses and cars that we don’t really own, for the next couple of decades sometimes. We are purchasing things on debt, before actually earning the money to afford it. A minimalist lifestyle frees you from the trap of needing more money, therefore empowering you to make more decisions that you ‘value’, rather than a decision driven by the society.
Freedom to be
In a life where you own less, need less, and have lesser debt, you are under no obligation to follow the herd. You can choose to be your best self. You can give up a job that is taking away from you, rather than adding value. You can refocus the additional energy on issues, passions, and inspirations, that actually matter to you. A wise person might tell you that, that is a secret gateway to happiness.
Ways You Can Start Being a Minimalist Now
Minimalism is not a cult! You can choose how much of a minimalistic lifestyle you are interested in. Some people even decide to ease their way into the lifestyle, starting with small steps. In almost all cases, people find joy, and contentment in the philosophy, choosing to commit more to it. In my research, I found these incredible ways you can start being a minimalist now:
Courtney Carver, a successful Corporate employee in the States, was diagnosed with MS in 2006. That was the point when she decided to pare down her life. She kept committing to a minimalistic lifestyle, paying off debts, cutting down excess expenditure, and de-cluttering. In 2010, she started a minimalist fashion challenge, Project 333, that has since, become a landmark in sustainable fashion. Courtney decided she would use only 33 items (including clothes, accessories, jewelry, outer and inner wear) for 3 months. She started blogging about it in bemorewithless.com, and became a sensation. What was the most surprising thing was that no one noticed that she had limited her wardrobe. This is one simple challenge through which you can start exploring the world of minimalism.
Look around your house for anything that you have in multiples – device, books, accessories, equipment. Get rid of it! Do you own a toaster you haven’t opened since your wedding? Gift it. Do you have two copies of the same book lying around in a cupboard? Donate it. Do you have multiple phones (just a back-up, in case yours dies out)? Sell it.
One of the best ways to cherish a minimal life is to travel light. Try packing for half the days of your trip. Repeat, or wash used clothes, and you will be surprised at how simple your travel becomes.
By consciously living on less quantity, you would be reducing the load of fast manufacturing in the world. This might be our only chance to fight against the irreversible degradation of the planet. Make the right choice!
What is your opinion on minimalism? Are there other ways you think we can live minimally? Comment below or write to us at email@example.com
Sources and Resources:
- Quick Ride Review: Bangalore’s Citizen fight back the Traffic Menace - January 31, 2019
- The Top 5 Books from my 2018 pile - January 10, 2019
- My Daughter’s Feminist Training, Out of Syllabus - October 11, 2018
- The Durga Mythology Fails Women in India - October 9, 2018
- The Review of Stree: An Almost There Horredy! - September 6, 2018
- Yeh Meri Family Review: Making Indian TV Great Again - September 4, 2018
- 5 Tips to make your day at Galle Fort, Sri Lanka Phenomenal! - August 28, 2018
- Rediscovering Faith in the Last Kingdom of Kandy - August 21, 2018
- All you need to know about Assam’s Immigration Issue - August 2, 2018
- The Curious Case of My Missing Grandmothers - July 20, 2018