The Not So Minimalist Takeaways

We’ve got it all covered. We are enough. The only way to go is up and forward.

Minimalism has spread like a good plague, Leo Baubata smiles from the film Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. And it’s amazing to share how much the message is transforming people. I’m grateful for the tons of value that seeped into my life since then.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Minimalism opens the gates to freedom. It’s not only about curating our stuff, it’s getting disentangled from how we’re told we’re supposed to live.
  • The most important things aren’t stuff.
  • Discontent replaced with stuff cannot make the gnawing go away. Neither our pacifiers will.
  • Minimalism is a tool we can use in all areas of our lives. When we pause and ruminate on what’s truly important, we can become a better version of ourselves, doing only the things that bring us joy and growth.
  • Life is too short to be collecting things instead of experiences.
  • Spending less is the best way to have more.
  • The way to convince people is to not convince them. If we change, others may see the benefits and follow along. And even if they don’t, it’s okay. We are allowed to thread our own pace.
  • Digital minimalism is a sound choice. Curating our digital experience gives us the space to maximize communication and learning and take the rest of our time living in the real world. I’m not saying social media is pure evil but it’s worth the try to consume only what adds value to our lives.
  • Life is so much brighter and saner with intentional muscle — with mindfulness.
  • It doesn’t have to be Paris or Greece. We can be at any place and feel happy. Happiness resides in us.
  • Minimalism is simple but not always easy. But it helps when we constantly ask why we’re doing it.
  • Know our whys and we change our lives. Digging intimately to why we’re sticking to a habit, for instance, is often the key to make it worth doing over and over.
  • Minimalism made a lot of people ‘more’. It was a domino effect. You figure out for yourself what’s important to you, you experiment, and you’ll be surprised by how you’re better off with a simple, meaningful life.

 

In Terms of What I Have

Why has it become easier to think about what you don’t have rather than what’s already there?

Raging advertisements and social media are constantly reminding us that we are insufficient in ourselves. We are bugged to consume more to be puzzles that transcend completion – we add pieces we don’t even need.

Unfortunately, the emptiness we feel will only get wider with the excess. It won’t make us happy. It won’t make us complete.

Instead, we fill the void by asking ourselves intimately: Is this important?

Can I really afford it?  Does its cost equate to its value I can derive from it? Is this worth in exchange of my precious time?  We are only as good as how we make use of our possessions.

Bringing these questions incessantly as often as we permit creates a muscle we’ll benefit from every time we are stimulated to consume. We become mindful and that becomes our daily ally.

However challenging it is, maybe it could start to feel satiating if we think of what we already have, and what we can build from it.

When I think in terms of what I have – relationships, time, space, health, values and capacity to improve – I am aware that I can look forward to better things. Because I value the cards I am given, I can build, not resent; I can grow, not envy. I don’t have to look elsewhere because happiness is here. I can live my life on my own pace, on my own metrics. 

Our willingness to make sense of what we’re given, and our every chance to cultivate it is up to us.

Sure, it’s inevitable to look at others and see what we lack and be miserable instead.

But how about being courageously grateful for what we don’t have? And start from it.