A New Philosophy of Living: The Principles of Minimalism and Simplicity

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Minimalism 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 the philosophy of minimalism:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Live in the Moment.

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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.

4. 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.

5. Purpose.

 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.

6. Individualism.

 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 and having 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?

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income