How many times have you looked back at your semester, or even your year just to notice you’ve been living from pay-check to pay-check, you are sinking in debt and not even half of your plans of growth and success are getting anywhere closer to completed? Most importantly, you are not feeling happy. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of minimalism.
Minimalism has gained attention
We all have been in the position at least once in the last couple of years (if not just pilling up on the problem) and there is a central reason for that staff. The consumerism model of the capitalist society dictates that you will find happiness in your next purchase, your next acquisition. But that has long proven to be completely wrong. With that discussion in mind, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus present the Minimalism documentary (available on Netflix) where they detail how they found themselves lost in a growing pile of bills.
The documentary goes on to follow their seminars and latest promotion of the show itself, in an attempt to show the extent to which the problem reaches the masses and present the basic principles of what is in the core beliefs of this new modernist lifestyle.
Minimalism has gained attention in the last years as a solution for the loss of “meaning” in our lives. The modern urban resident lives under the assumption that his labor is a manner of generating income which will pay for his basic needs, and his staff. Stuff has gained such high esteem in our lives that many of us will find ourselves compromising their ability to buy food, pay for a roof over their heads – in exchange of owning stuff. Stuff that in most cases they don’t even fully use or need.
In the nutshell
Minimalism brings the idea of breaking this vicious unsustainable cycle. It breaks your understanding of needs and value – to rebuild it. Minimalism preaches on living with the smaller number of belongings possible, it is not a matter of going cheap, or hitting a mark – but it represents the same change for us all. Minimalism urges you to rethink why, how many, how much and when do you need the things you need. The basic idea is that if you possess less, you have less to worry about – from the bills they generate to the space they occupy. And its totally ok if your form of minimalism is different than your friend, next-door neighbor or even your spouse. The important thing is to rebuild the concept of what is the truly necessary things you buy, and what you shouldn’t need.
What’s in it for you?
By promoting these changes in your life, you basically embrace a new lifestyle – you become somewhat more aware. It is not uncommon to see minimalist holding hand with zero waster’s, vegetarian’s and mindfulness seekers. They all feed on the same principle of seeking a more balanced, self-fulfilling life. And research shows that it works!
A quick search on any platform and you will find numerous comments from normal people (like you and me) that have felt the benefits of adopting the lifestyle. However, if you feel like reading on the topic in one solid intrinsic material? “Goodbye things: the new Japanese minimalism”, might be your best choice. Here, Fumio Sasaki tells his story of depression, frustration and anxiety are completely shifted when he decided to embrace the lifestyle.
Among the most reported benefits
How to start…
After so many years creating an attachment with our belongings it is no wonder, we normally have a hard time letting go of them. For the most part, we will find reasons why we need those objects, or why we purchased them in the first place. So, don’t be afraid or reject the project altogether if you face difficulties at first. It is completely normal.
The most advised “first step” is not exactly to throw stuff away. Of course, the idea is to have fewer belongings but if you throw the ones you have now, to just replace them further on – it makes no sense. For starts, put them aside. Declutter, but keep the box in view. Separate belongings, clothes and personal objects that have no purpose nowadays, or that you feel are long overdue. Put them in a box and leave it within your site for a month. If, during that month, you didn’t feel the need to grab it back and use it again, get rid of it.
Be eco-friendly at this point and don’t just make it all into the garbage – donate what feels right, give another use to what is forgotten and put some meaning into this action too. Those winter jackets you haven’t used in a while could be the saving extra layer for someone else. But you need it out of your sight.
Keep this up until you find yourself with a “cleaner table, house and life”, notice slowly how the “giving away” process will become more meaningful, and soon you’ll find yourself questioning why haven’t you’ve done this before!
Fight back the judgment
When starting this out, most people face the dilemma that by doing this – they won’t have enough options for their daily lives. Like I said before, there is no rule to the process so if you feel you need (in fact) 10 pairs of shoes that will be used and make sense in your life – keep them. But when going through that process question yourself if it is in fact of the matter of needing them, or are you afraid of being judged?
In a society where are belongings dictate our worth, it is normal to feel the need to own expensive things to blend in. That high-end suit is an essential part of your closet if you want to belong among to the big players, and it is fine – it’s part of the culture. But are all of your days dictated on those standards? How often do you use those things – or do you have them just in case? Do you keep those clothes that don’t suit you anymore, that doesn’t represent your personality any longer – just in case?
One of the biggest cons or better “challenges” of the early adopters is to change that mindset where you judge someone by what they own. Becoming minimal is indeed about having fewer options and making a point out of it. You don’t need to reduce the quality of what you own, on the contrary – you should increase it. If you are not overspending in over shopping – then make what you shop for meaningful enough – buy the best. But at the end of the day, the work is more internal in this sense. You have to be capable to face the criticism, understand the judgment as a lack of vision, a limitation that your judger has – not you. You are not what you owe, you are the value you bring within – and you should fight for that.
Adopt the cause – bring your friends
Finally, what better than spreading the word about something good you’ve found out? When people start noticing the changes you’ve adopted it is natural to spark some curiosity and the planet would thank if you kept the movement growing.
With the new approach here, that brings the promise of being a cleaner eco-friendlier and environmentally conscious year, and with that, it is expected that more and more “minimalists” will be born today. If you feel like getting some friends in the
The game goes like this. Tag a friend (or if you are not very digital just invite them) and challenge them to give a growing number of things away a day. On the first day, you put aside one thing to give, the second day two things, the third day three things and so on. By the end of the week, you would have given away 28 things just there. Try to keep it up for a month, the one that gets the furthest wins.
It might be a lot of fun going over your things and removing all the “noise” from your mind, find a friend to go through the process with you to make it more fun and feel the joys of these little changes in your life.
Please leave us a comment about this post and your thoughts on it. Or if you have any question please ask, I will be more than happy to answer.
Sasaki, F. Goodbye Things: The New Japanese Minimalism” Ed. Northon Company, 2017.