What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word minimalism?
Maybe it is the picture of a clean room without many objects? Or Marie Kondo and her tidy advice came to mind.
However, minimalism can take very different forms. It depends on the circumstances and personality of the minimalist.
So I'll start this guide with my definition of minimalism. I'll also explain the benefits of incorporating minimalism into your life. And of course, you'll also get the best tips and tricks I've learned from my years in this rewarding lifestyle.
What is minimalism
Depending on who you ask, you might get very different answers to this question.
Sometimes minimalism is defined as having very few things. This can even become a contest among proponents of minimalist lifestyles. Depending on your goals, cutting down the number of your own things significantly can be a rewarding or frustrating experience.
My personal definition of minimalism is different. So so:
Minimalists know what is important to them. They consciously reduce their possessions and avoid distractions in order to focus on what is important to them.
Everyone has different goals in their life. Minimalism can look different depending on what you want to achieve. However, reducing the number of possessions you own is not everything. You can also minimize unnecessary actions in your daily life.
For example, let's say you want to become a martial artist. You practice the same movements over and over again. And over time, your movements will become more efficient. A great martial artist minimizes unnecessary movement in his actions. If you remove the unnecessary, you will achieve mastery.
I also consider this a form of minimalism.
Minimalism is not a goal for me. This will allow you to achieve your goal with a minimum of distractions.
If you get distracted a lot, your life will get out of hand. Or as Tyler Durden would say:
"The things you own own you in the end. "
Why be a minimalist?
Minimalism has several advantages. Some of these may not apply to you. And others apply to you, but are less important to other minimalists.
I noticed the following changes after leading a fairly minimalist lifestyle for years:
- I don't have to look far when I've lost something.
- Cleaning my apartment has become a lot less time consuming.
- I worry less and become a happier person overall. Do you know that 80% of all human thoughts are negative?
- Instead of buying products, I pay for experiences. Less things don't mean less satisfaction. I just appreciate the rest of the things that I own more.
So I don't regret living this lifestyle. But to be honest, I'm not saving a lot of money. I only spend it on interesting life experiences instead of products.
I think people are drawn to minimalism because:
- Her life got out of hand because of her belongings
- They are rich and have realized that having many things does not make them happier. Often times, you need to make changes to see what is wrong with your life.
- Some have just gradually got rid of their possessions.
- They parted with their belongings to start a new life. This can happen after they're fired or because they want to break out of depression.
- A natural disaster destroyed their belongings. For example, it could be a hurricane or the great earthquake in eastern Japan.
But whatever the reason, you want to know how to apply minimalism to your life.
About Marie Kondo
Why do you think Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has become such a big hit? I think there are several reasons:
- We live in a time of information overload. Minimalism is almost a necessity to achieve anything in the age of social media. A person living today can probably get more information in a day than a person who lived 500 years ago in a year. Unfortunately, our brains are still running on old hardware.
- Technological development makes it possible to do many things while owning fewer products.
- The book was published after a major natural disaster struck Japan. There's even a comic book titled "There's Nothing in My House" by Mai Yururi. After the earthquake, it became a huge success in Japan.
Don't get me wrong: She is also a very passionate person and has put a lot of work into achieving this level of success. But I think your timing played a part in it too.
What should you throw away?
If you are unsure whether or not you want to part with a certain item, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I only have this to impress someone?
- How often do I use this in my daily life? Did I use this once a year?
- Do I feel good using this item?
Just like me, you'll find that you hardly use many of the things you own. I don't know how many things I have discarded so far, but so far I have no regrets that I have discarded any of them. Just be brutally honest with yourself when asking yourself the above questions.
Recall the following quote from Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon:
"Don't think feeling”
A minimalist's motto could be: "Don't think. Discard."
When in doubt, trust your intuition.
I once owned a lot of books. But I almost never read any of them again. They just collected dust. Why didn't I just sell it or give it to someone else? Because I thought that if I had a lot of books I felt like a smart person. It takes honesty and willpower to sell them, but at some point I made it. My bank account thanked me.
More extreme minimalists rip the pages they like from a book. I've never done this, but if you don't mind it's an option too. But be careful. This shouldn't be an excuse for collecting a ridiculous number of pages. Be honest to yourself.
Fewer books increase the impact of information.
Do you have a uniform
This tip may seem a bit extreme, so it's not for everyone.
Do you know why Steve Jobs always wore the same clothes? Lots of famous people do it. Not always to the same extent as Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, often wears a gray shirt. And Einstein often wore the same jacket.
They do this because they don't want to waste their energy deciding what to wear each morning. You may think this is ridiculous, but when you are very busy you need all the energy that you can get.
However, if that's what you want to do, use a timeless style. You don't want to wear the latest trend as it is going to be out of style soon. When in doubt, black and white are always timeless.
Don't worry about losing your individuality. Experience builds our unique qualities – not clothes. And that's great because you can't lose your experience.
Don't compare yourself
Do you know how to get unhappy right away?
Just be on a social media platform like Instagram or Facebook and constantly compare yourself to everyone else. This can be a source of enormous calamity. Because someone always has a better life than you.
The same goes for advertising. Most of the ads tell you this message, "You are not as good as you are."
Why do you think women are bombarded with pictures of perfect looking models? Because if they didn't bombard women with this news, they would buy less of their products.
I know what you might be thinking, “But I never clicked on ads. I don't buy anything from them! "Why do you think companies pay billions for ads every year? Because they work. Few people buy products immediately after seeing an ad. Unless their apple fans
Ads work unconsciously. They create desire. If you're exposed to fewer ads, you may find that you're spending less money just because of that.
By the way: experiences are more difficult to compare than possessions. How much is a yoga class worth when compared to a martial arts class? Comparison of experience rarely makes sense. This is another great reason to focus more on them.
Why you should be bored
We are bombarded with information every day. But do you know how most inventions were invented?
Because people were bored. They dreamed of a better life. Certain areas in our brain are only active while we are dreaming or when our thoughts are wandering. We can use these moments for self-reflection. And self-reflection leads to self-improvement.
That's why I think everyone should plan some time for me. Your me-time is not only useful for your own self-improvement. Your relationships with other people will also benefit from this. Happiness is contagious.
Do you know what happy couples do differently from unhappy couples?
They spent more time together. They talk to each other five hours more a week than unhappy couples. As you go through your daily life, try to observe a few couples. Do you talk and listen to each other when you are in a cafeteria? Or is one of them playing around with their smartphone?
Sometimes I even notice that both of them are just staring at their smartphones. Give honest attention to the people in your life – you will both benefit.
Do you know what the essence of a Japanese tea ceremony is?
Part of it is making the tea and paying all your attention to it.
But it is also for the person who drinks the tea and the person who serves it to think about each other. All you can do is have your tea and talk about the thoughts that are on your mind. When you have a space with few distractions, focus on the person sitting in front of you. It is good that there are no televisions in the tea ceremony rooms.
Be more productive
I've always seen myself as a lazy person. You know why? Because I failed to clean my room. Nowadays this is no longer the case. Has my personality changed?
No, I just don't have to clean a lot of things. I don't have to move a lot of objects to clean my desk or floor.
If you want to be more productive, you need a habit, not a determination. Even Aristotle knew this:
"We are what we do repeatedly. So excellence is not an act, but a habit. ”
For example, imagine your desk is always messy. Maybe you don't even have to imagine and are sitting in front of a messy desk. A messy desk is like a silent to-do list. When you work at this desk, all text and images are captured through your peripheral vision as you work.
If possible, remove unnecessary visual disturbances. This alone can make you more productive.
That's why my writing app looks like this:
Minimalist writing app Typora
No annoying menus and the text is always in the center of the screen, which reduces unnecessary eye movements.