Becoming a minimalist has been about adopting new routines. And as a result, the more routined I become the more free I feel.
I used to be trapped by emergencies and other people’s demands. I used to be lost in my day not knowing what to do next.
Creating new, minimalist routines hasn’t resulted in a rigid, boring, sparse life as I thought it might.
I’ve discovered the less time I devote to decision making on the small things like what time to get up, when to clean the bathroom sink, or when to go grocery shopping the more time I can devote to my art, writing, marriage, friendships, and health. In short, having a minimalist approach to all areas of life is making my life more abundant.
Over the next month I’m going to be sharing the results from my 30 days project with you. And hopefully, you’ll be able to walk along side and learn some new tactics that will help you have the same freedom I’ve discovered. But before I kick off this new series, I want to address what I think the # 1 myth surrounding minimalism. There are many misconceptions about what minimalism is and isn’t. You can read more about those here and here.
However, after reading and talking to friends I’ve come to the conclusion that people resist minimalism because they believe this way of life is for a certain class of people and that it doesn’t fit their identity.
The #1 Myth About Minimalism
Minimalism is trendy. All the cool kids are doing it. I typically resist trends. But I am drawn to this phenomenon.
I wasn’t at first. I too believed that minimalism was a trend for wealthy folks who already owned too much and wouldn’t be hurting if they decided to get rid of half the things taking up space.
And while talking to my best friend recently, she mentioned that this trend is perceived by many as “too expensive” for the average person to adopt.
Minimalism may seem bourgeoisie to some because in time it results in quality over quantity, but in reality I believe it’s the way for anyone to become rich. Record screeching.
Yes, I believe that becoming a minimalist creates an abundant life. You get to develop an abundance of:
- gratitude, contentment for what you have
- time, for the things that matter most
- love, quality relationships because you know what’s really important
- peace of mind, because you’re focused
- self-reliance, because you become incredibly resourceful
- in many cases, money, because you’re no longer wanting things that don’t matter
- most of all rich in freedom, because you’ve let go of pursuing the world’s standards
The less you need from this world, the less the world’s worries burden you. And the truth is, anyone, anywhere, with any budget can do this.
You Need Less Than You Think
You need less food than you think, less clothing than you think, less home than you think, less money, and fewer possessions than you think.
Let me illustrate this by telling a story.
About a year ago I decided to quit a part-time job because, frankly, it was costing me a fortune in gas to get there. While I was looking for another job, I had to find a way to cut as many costs as I could. My husband, who was supporting us 100% at the time, agreed to commit to spending no more than $50 a week on all of our food.
That’s $1.19 per person, per meal.
Adapting to a smaller grocery budget forced me into new routines. I had to learn when to shop, where to shop, what foods go the farthest, and when to cook.
Not only did we learn how far a little can go, we also realized how much we were nickel-and-diming our resources away in other areas. During this period of about four months, I didn’t buy a single article of clothing and forever broke my addiction to shopping. We didn’t eat out and stopped making random purchases.
We made it work. It wasn’t easy, I’ll admit, but it taught me that I need less than I think and that I can be happy and content regardless of how much money I make.
Yes, you can live on less and have more freedom. What expenses can you cut back on or cut out completely?
Minimalism Can Be For Everyone
Anyone can become a minimalist.
Anyone can eat well, spend less, and live on less. I believe that so wholeheartedly that I’d be willing to stake my life on that claim. I’m not saying that these things can be achieved easily, on one’s own without help, or without a indomitable tenacity. I’m simply saying that the counterintuitive nature of minimalism is good for the human condition: less = more.
What is essential to all of this is a vision for your life. You have to know what your core values are and how those values help create the person you want to become.
- If you want to be generous you have to see how much you already have and learn to let go.
- If you want to have adventure and freedom, you have to learn to say ruthlessly ‘no‘ to things that might seem important.
- If you want to be healthy in any season of life, you have to feed your body and take care of your physical needs now.
- And if you want to create lasting work in the world, you have to be shrewd with your time.
Minimalism can be for everyone. However, not everyone is ready for minimalism.
The Goal Of Minimalism Is Not Perfection
The goal of minimalism is not to achieve perfection, though some minimalists might be lying to themselves about this.
The goal of a simplified life is to overcome perfectionism and procrastination. It’s ultimately about achieving personal mastery. That is, mastering our human nature to complicate and self-sabotage; to drift.
The goal of my work is to help see that your life is precious, your time is precious and there is a work of art inside you that must be fulfilled. This work of art is the woman or man that you are, the kind of person who is unshakable, unstoppable, unavoidable, happy, strong, and giving.
You may not like all that I have to say, but I want you to confront it head on with an open mind. You may not agree with my worldview. But I want you try it anyway. You have to do the work if you want results. You have to flip the switch if you want to see the light. You can’t keep sitting in the dark expecting to find your way. Do something about it.
Stop thinking your way through problems and start making changes.
Give something big away. Stop holding onto to things that weigh you down and hold you back. If nothing were to change in your life right now, where would you be in a year, five years, a decade? How does that make you feel?
Yeah, a scary thought. It was for me too. Now what are you going to do about it? Tell me in the comments below.