Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Minimalism Cheat Sheet: Let's Not Overcomplicate Things


The minimalist lifestyle has really boomed over the past years.

With Time naming Zenhabits the best blog of the year, and countless search results under the term "minimalist blog", the minimalist lifestyle has really gotten a hold of the general internet-centric public.

Minimalism's appeal is direct and straightforward. Wanting less and appreciating more makes your life more abundant. You have less needs and desires to fulfill, and you have more freedom because you do not invest your time and resources into too many endeavors. You have more space to be happy.

Minimalism's success is mainly due to mindfulness- being conscious of why you are doing what you are doing.Without mindfulness, minimalism is just a bible you consult without truly knowing why and without truly reaping the benefits.

There are so many minimalism blogs and so many subscribers. Really, though. Do you need to constantly read up on something so simple as being mindful? Do you constantly need to read an article about how to integrate minimalism into your workflow? How to organize your sock drawer in accordance to the balance of zen?

Regardless of the situation, exercising mindfulness is extremely easy. Once you learn how to do it, you just do it. The only thing that makes you better at doing it is doing it more, not reading blogpost after blogpost on the subject.

Stop. What: are you doing/about to do/did you just do? Okay.
Why did you do it?

Gratification, validation, approval? Because you can? Because you had to? Because you were high, drunk, feeling fresh off a marathon of ego-stroking?

Why are you going to eat that? Did the magazines tell you it would make you skinny? You don't want to shatter your mother's illusions about her culinary skills? You actually like it because you just do?

Why are you going on that vacation? Why did you buy those jeans? Why are you not sleeping? Why are you sleeping so much? Why did you take that picture of yourself? Why did you spend five minutes taking a picture of your Inn and Out Burgers, for God's sake?

It all boils down to honestly evaluating how you spend and invest your time and energy.

Are the benefits enticing enough for you to act? If not, carry on with your inner peace and what not. 
If you've got a good momentum, stop for the opportunities that can bring your momentum to a higher level towards a carefully chosen goal. If not, just pass on the opportunity and carry on. 


Remember, minimalism is a catch-all term. I could throw away all of the stuff I don't find essential, but if I still possess the inner need to consume more, that means I need to re-evaluate my values and understand why they aren't up to par with my reality. No amount of organizing or de-cluttering or reading is going to magically  take you through the process of understand without you being there. Mindfulness is being there, and being there fully.

There is here. 

Carry on. And ditch the overly used lifestyle label.