Minimalism is about living a life of meaning and purpose by choosing not to indulge in a high-consumption lifestyle. Instead of constantly increasing our desires for material objects and absent-mindedly pursuing the latest trends, priority is given to the things that we actually require in our lives and the activities that serve as a greater purpose.
Nowadays, if you look around, it is clear to see the effects of our high-consumption lifestyle on society. Advertisements are everywhere enticing us to buy the latest this or that as soon as possible because “the sale ends tonight”. We constantly share pictures of our fabulous beach holidays, our expensive, new shoes or that pricey evening meal just to prove that we have the means to access a more luxurious way of life. Or consider how we tend to discard a well-functioning gadget because the latest model has just been released.
What this attitude has resulted in is an uncontrollable hunger for individuals to accumulate stuff in order to keep up with what society believes we all ought to have. For example, by the time we are 40 we are generally expected to be in a well-paid job and a home-owner with at least one car that was bought new, and this expectation is sadly forced onto us from a very young age.
Not only is a high-consumption lifestyle stressful – numerous ideals that we cannot possibly attain – you are in competition with those around and are always striving to give the impression of being better and wealthier than the next person. Rather than finding peace, value and joy within, we are forced to look to the external world to find connection, purpose and to identify the essence of who we are.
Minimalism, on the other hand, directs our focus not on the things we can buy but the experiences we can have, the connections we can make with others and the goals we can achieve. It encourages us to shift our thinking towards meaning, productivity and efficiency, and in turn this engenders a sort of domino effect on other aspects of our life.
As a starting point you could consider getting rid of things in your room or house that you do not use anymore by either selling them or donating to a charity store. The motive here is to make you aware of how many material objects you aimlessly collect over time and, in fact, do not use. In doing this clear-out, you’ll begin to realise that you can thrive on a lot less than what you already possess.
In my case, a few times a year I like to have a clear out of my room; I donate the clothes or shoes I no longer wear, the products that I don’t use and anything that I tend to passively collect such as unimportant scraps of paper, letters and mail. This is vital to me because having a clear living-space gives me a clear mind. Consequently I can feel focused, find peace and be relaxed in my own space, and ultimately make better decisions in the long run.
Minimalism is a lifestyle choice that I encourage you to explore. There a number of benefits and I have only touched on a few. To begin with I recommend the Tedx Talk below from the guys at www.theminimalists.com. Hope you enjoy !