“Less is more”: three words that define a whole philosophy and style called minimalism. Read a couple short stories written by Raymond Carver, or enjoy viewing architecture designed by Mies van der Rohe, and you’ll see how a few words or a few ornaments can completely redirect your literary and architectural horizons.
The term “minimalist” often colloquially refers to anything that is spare or stripped to its essentials. This concept is valid not only for the arts, but also for lifestyles. Even if you think life with less must be easy, the truth is that living a minimalist lifestyle has significant challenges. Simply put, there are too many “things” out there, and we always want what we don’t have.
Minimalism and the “less is more” lifestyle have an enemy, though, and a formidable one. It is called maximalism, and its motto is “more is more.” This is the perfect slogan for the Western capitalist world, one we’ve all fantasized about leaving.
You may think that to stay productive you need to have a lot of things… But think again. Take a look at this guy: he redesigned his life, got rid of his extraneous stuff, traveled to another continent with only 100 things, and keeps working and learning without baggage. Could you be still productive with only 100 things? Are you sure? Organize, choose wisely, and remove the stuff you don’t need. Stop consuming, letting things to dominate your life. Be productive and a minimalist (there are many benefits living in a “less is more” way). Start now.
Visualize The Plan
“If you want to be happy, be.”
You are thinking about a change. Looking around your house, you see shelves overloaded with books you have never read, and furniture you should have never bought. Everything you own has an invisible tie, one that makes you a bit less free. You are realizing that sometimes in the past you felt sad and went to buy some new things to heal you for a couple of hours. You thought you owned them, but now you know better. At some point, things started to own you. The average American household carries almost $16,000 in credit card balances, and many people live in enormous homes packed to the brim with stuff they hardly use. Do you want to be caught in that vicious cycle of working hard for money to buy things you don’t really need?
Visualize the potential freedom. A backpack (or a house a bit more empty and healthy) with the things you actually need for living a life you truly want. Maybe the 100 things challenge can help you with that. Or maybe the Project 333, where “simple is the new black”. Happy and productive at the same time? Just visualize your plan and get ready for the change.
Recognize Who You Are And Choose
“Life is barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.”
One of the keys for being productive is to choose your niche of work wisely. You already know who you are, so just follow the path. Focus on the things you like and do best, and choose your belongings according to that. It’s not about limiting your horizons, but about keeping your eyes on the things are really important to you.
Watch the following video about the 100 things challenge, where you will learn more about how to live a fulfilled and happy life with less than 100 personal items for a year.
Remove Things And Run With It
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.”
It’s all about the change. Start small, and evaluate one room at a time. An easy rule for clothing: Have you worn it in the past year? If not, give it away. Apply that rule to every closet in the house, and you’ll quickly find your bag filling to the brim. Donate used items to local charities like Goodwill or Salvation Army, and help a family in need.
For some people this process is hard, but for others it’s refreshing. It’s a kind of art, where you will get better the more you practice.
The key to success in the minimizing mission is to realize you will get new things along the way. The future always comes loaded, so why not to leave behind some things you already used?
When your shelves are emptier, you are a bit more free. Your overall happiness increases because you are proud of living with only the necessities. It’s time to prove that your productivity levels can be higher than ever. You know freedom is awesome. Now let’s go back to work.