‘You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.’ Greg McKeown – Author of Essentialism
Leading up to Christmas, I thought about it being a good time to refocus on why I started exploring Minimalism. My initial goal was to have an uncluttered home, however I have found greater benefits through having an uncluttered life and a lot less distractions. Having fewer distractions naturally gives me more time to focus on the areas of my life that I truly want to focus on.
Minimalism is not about owning nothing. It is about being purposeful about your possessions. What do you really need and love? And then, basically removing the excess.
The reason I am talking with you about minimalism is not to say that you need to own less stuff (though, trust me, it does actually make things easier). It is to suggest that minimalism frees up our lives and our time so that we can achieve more. What I am suggesting is to adopt a minimalist mindset.
When I started to minimalise, I cleared on average at least two full garbage bags of unnecessary clutter each week from my home over a three-month period. And you know what? So far, I haven’t missed any of it! Life is simpler and there is a lot less housework! Which naturally means, more time. More time for the things I want to do and love to do. The purposeful choices I started to make about what we have in our home, transferred into making much more purposeful choices about how and where I spend my money, time and energy.
Did you realise that you are potentially exposed to over 5,000 advertisements a day? Yes, 5,000! Between digital and social media, print (magazines/newspapers) and billboards or signs. That’s 5,000 times a day you consciously or unconsciously get a message to buy something. Do you want some really scary stats? Maybe not, but here they are anyway…..
In 2012, Australians spent: $8 billion (yes that is billion) on beauty, $9.5 billion on gadgets and $5.1 billion on fashion. Wow! For those of us living in Australia, you might have seen the series, The War on Waste on the ABC television network. I don’t know about you, but I found the series equally fascinating and horrifying in terms of how much unnecessary waste we all mindlessly create.
Affluenza is a term that you may have heard in recent times. It is used to describe the need to strive for ever-increasing material wealth. It describes that unfulfilling feeling we get when trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. In a world that these days seems to quantify success by a persons’ fame, wealth and status, it can be described as a socially transmitted condition with the symptoms being an almost uncontrollable quest to own and have more material objects. Just think about the queues outside the Apple stores every time a new iPhone is released. The reality is that the pleasure of a new purchase quickly fades following the rush of adrenaline from the acquisition. I mean, just how life-changing do you think the purchase of the latest iPhone really was for those early adopters? Much really? I doubt it. Whatever it was that you ‘just had to have’, the pleasure fades quickly, so how convenient is it that then each year there is a newer model of car or phone or TV that you can purchase and each season a new trend in fashion that you can fall in love with and just ‘have to have’? This short-term pleasure fades even more quickly when you have the realisation that this purchase does not link with, or even has moved you further away from, your goals.
Every single day we are offered innumerable opportunities and choices as to how to spend our money, our energy and our time. They key here is recognising that we do have a choice and do not have to buy, participate in or contribute to everything. With a minimalist mindset, you can learn to say ‘no’ to the things that do not align with your vision of success. Now, I am not suggesting you become so absorbed with your own goals that you say ‘no’ to everything else. What I am suggesting is that you become more aware of the activities and actions that are cluttering up your mind and try a bit of a spring clean. You will feel so much better for it.
‘Maybe the life you have always wanted is buried under everything you own!’. Joshua Becker – Author of The More of Less