It started as an art and design movement in the 1960s and turned into a philosophy of life in the next decades. More and more people are choosing to live that way because they are fed up with the consuming and materialistic side of today’s society and living.
There is too much of everything. People have hundreds of useless belongings, too many tasks to do in so little time, too much on their mind. There are too many ads on the Internet, we are being taught so much, but acquire so little.
People live either in the past, or in the future. Someone else takes decisions on our behalf and we have lost control of our lives.
We don’t know what we really want and haven’t defined our role in all this. We do so many things, but have no idea why. Our days go by too quickly, or too slow, but we rarely experience them.
It’s getting harder and harder to stay true to yourself and be an individual. Few believe that happiness, peace and contentment are actually achievable.
But we are starting to wake up and realize that things shouldn’t be that way. Lately I’ve heard of many businessmen and millionaires who gave up all they have and started living frugally, many workaholics who quit their jobs and started traveling around the world, and many other similar stories.
To most people, these individuals seem crazy, but they themselves say that they’ve finally found peace, happiness, balance and joy in their life. And if they – people who have been on the top or have been leading some kind of lifestyle we are aiming at – say so, then it must be true. And we can all learn from that by not making the same mistakes they did.
What we should do? Embrace minimalism.
Here are the main views of that philosophy:
Less is More.
This is one of the most important laws of the universe but few put that into effect. It refers to almost every aspect of our lives.
Try to imagine your home with less stuff, to have less chaos in your mind, less stress and tasks.
It’s not only better to live with less, but this in itself will give us more. The less we use and consume, the more space and freedom we have. The less we speak, the more we listen. The less details something has, the more beautiful and simple it is. The less we watch TV and stay on the computer, the more time we have for ourselves and our families.
Eliminate the Unessential.
We have to think through all we are, everything we have and want. We need to decide which is important and which is only standing in our way. Identify what is keeping you from reaching your goals and has a negative influence on you. Such activities, habits, thoughts or people are only impeding you from being yourself, improving, succeeding and becoming peaceful and contented.
It may be hard to eliminate the things you’re used to, but there is no other way to move on with your life and to simplify it. Instead, focus on what’s essential and important for you and the people you love.
Also get rid of all the negativity in your life, the worries, fear and doubt. It is a long way to go and that is why so few people have achieved it, but it is possible.
Live in the Moment.
Minimalism is also connected with the idea of a conscious living. I’ll write more on that soon so now I only want to explain it in a nutshell (or at least to share how I see it).
We don’t live consciously anymore because we are not mentally in the present – our mind is busy worrying about tomorrow or regretting what we have or haven’t done in the past years.
What we have is ‘now’, this very moment. We should love it, appreciate it and spend it in the best way possible.
Instead, we have so much going on that we can’t relax or even stop for a second.
We also live too fast and don’t find any time for contemplating.
These are the things minimalism denies. Living consciously and happily requires contentment, focus, awareness, right decisions, enjoying the present, and doing everything more slowly and consciously.
Organize your time.
Simplicity also means a new way of managing your time. You will have to eliminate all the unproductive activities that are only wasting your time and energy if you want to start living better.
Analyze everything you do and you will see that many of your daily habits are meaningless and don’t help you in any way. Furthermore, they prevent you from growing, developing and improving yourself.
So think about what watching TV has to do with inner realization and silence. Think about how organizing your time the wrong way has led to the many tasks you have to do daily. And all this brings stress to you and your family, destroys the balance in your life and deteriorates your health.
Another thing you can’t go without, is purpose. You need to have a direction, to discover your passion and pursue it, to define your goals, dreams and desires.
Most of the things we aim at, are useless. Most of the things we want are unnecessary. So decide which your priorities are and follow your heart.
Be who you are, and remain that way. Grow as an individual, take your own decisions, follow your path, choose for yourself and don’t try to answer other people’s expectations.
These are the most important aspects of the minimalist way of living. It is so simple, and yet consists of so much.
By doing less, eliminating most of the things we have, want and think, and making some small but permanent changes, we can soon start living the life we are meant to.
I’ll continue gathering information about minimalism and simplicity as a way of living and am happy to see that more and more people are writing books about it, starting blogs and actually leading that lifestyle.
I’m yet to begin implementing all this and making it a part of my day. I have so much more to learn but already feel excited, because there is a new emotion arising in me – a feeling of awareness and being awake. It’s amazing.
How do you feel about minimalism and simplicity?
Image by Kalyan Kanuri @Flickr