I really like minimalism, but I think many people misunderstand it.
They see it as not having stuff, and this is an exhausting way of looking at the beneficial side of living minimally. I didn't learn this concept the easy way, by reading a self-help book.
I learned it by deploying to the other side of the world into the middle of a desert, hunting for WMDs that didn't exist. The important part to the story was I deployed with five fully loaded bags of gear.
Now, mind you, I'm in a place that routinely reaches temperatures somewhere in the neighborhood of 110°/43°C on a normal day. I'm lugging around the body weight of a full grown man in bags. It's cumbersome, and I'm a fucking noob and everyone can see it.
Life teaches you lessons pretty fast, though. Sometimes that lesson is reiterated to you repeatedly during your life. And, if you're both smart and lucky, you use all that experience you've gained over time to your benefit.
If you're interested, here are some insights I've had over the years while seeking to live a minimal life. Keep in mind, it's still a work in progress and will be until the day I die!
Also, there are no fast rules. Take what you can use here and throw the rest out. Find YOUR style.
Minimalism in philosophy and lifestyle.
There is no better rule in life, IMHO, than to "keep it simple." Over complicating things seems to bring about the very scenarios that the complication was supposed to deal with. Besides, once SHTF, plans get made on the fly.
In my day job, a huge focus of mine is on process improvement. How to make the gears of the machine run in a more fluid manner. Far too often I see people trying to add more complications into a process to make it work better. Typically, that is a counterproductive way of problem solving.
Using simple concepts to streamline your life, balance becomes easier to achieve.
- Stoicism is a philosophy of personal eudaemonic virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asserting that the practice of virtue is both necessary and sufficient to achieve eudaimonia—flourishing by means of living an ethical life. Emotions are good and they are healthy. However, always being in a heightened emotional state is a problem. I find stocisim helps me overcome that.
- Business should always be kept as simple as possible. The more layers you add there, the more pain points you'll have to overcome. Become defiantly independent and self-sufficient.
- Productivity increases with focus. Focusing on less means you focus on quality over quantity. A lot is not impressive. Good and useful is impressive.
- Habits that stop you from achieving your goals need to go. No matter how much you like them, no matter what they are, you need to modify them and establish new ones. First new habit goal? Make your bed every day.
- Exercise is important. You don't need to become a gym rat, but you do need to be consistent. I personally use the book Six Simple Exercises as my guideline.
- Diet is also important. Start cooking/preparing food at home. Eat appropriate portions. Focus on a balanced diet. Cut out sodas and garbage. You're allowed good coffee and tea. Clean up afterwards (building those good new habits!)
- Sleep should be cherished. Sometimes it's hard to come by. Learn to nap. Try to maintain a regular bed time. Do what you can to make sure it's restful by adopting health sleeping habits (developing more new habits, I see!)
- Self-Care. For fuck sake, get a therapist and do the homework they give you. Go to the dentist if you can. See the doctor for a checkup. Make daily hygiene a habit (a great habit, btw) and be consistent with it.
Minimalism in creating.
Being creative has been a huge part of my life. Great creators make their "thing" look effortless. This is not by adding more and more to the creation, but by simplifying the process of creation.
This allows the creator to open a unique door into their imagination to share it with others. The works impact them. They make a difference in their life.
While I don't consider myself a master creator, there are some things that I think I've got a pretty good handle on at this point. Let me share.
- Writing concisely is one of the keys to good writing for the average person. We're not all Stephen King, being able to imaginatively describe a crack in the pavement for three pages. No one wants to read your white paper you hid in an email. Keep it short, concise, and to the point.
- DIY Guerilla Publishing is key to success in putting your ideas into the world. Figuring out a way to offer a unique experience to your readers is a fantastic way of getting your name out there.
- Simple design is appealing and easy to digest. It stands out in the crowd. Many will say don't judge a book by its cover, and that is true. Readers, however, always judge a book by it's cover.
- Focus on three places to market yourself and build a community from there. Places like social media are not your community. They're an ad platform. Treat them as such.
Minimalism in material possessions.
This is the part that always seems to get people the most. They don't want to give up their phone or their gaming setup. That's completely unnecessary. Minimalism isn't about getting rid of stuff.
It's about getting rid of stuff you don't love.
This is the hard part of the process, to be honest. Paring down what you have to distill the things you really love in life. If you don't absolutely love the thing, you Marie Kondo the fuck out of it.
Be brutal, and you have to be honest. If it doesn't serve a truly practical, daily use, or it's just some knick-knack you have lying around, chuck it in the fuck it bucket.