7 min read…
I discovered The Minimalists by chance while browsing something at work a few months ago. While I had already been inclined towards decluttering, it was comforting to see it has got a name.
Do you think your house is a mess? Are you overwhelmed by your job, your relationships, distractions, responsibilities, or even your mobile notifications? Are you looking to declutter your physical & mental space but don’t know where to start? Then, minimalism might be a good place to start.
In the simplest form, minimalism is owning less stuff. It is about creating more than you consume, only living with the things you really need, the items that support your purpose, and removing the distraction of excess possessions so you can focus on the things that matter most.
Now, minimalism is often misunderstood as recommending you to throw away everything, live with less than 100 things, or not owning a car or a TV. No, that is not what it is all about.
Instead, minimalists focus on achieving fulfillment in life by stripping away unnecessary things in your life and focus on what is important. Minimalism is a lifestyle, not a choice. There’s no “one solution fits all” formula. The level of specificity is up to you.
In this book, “Essential Essays“, Joshua Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus together called The Minimalists, bring us 29 essays organized into seven themes including happiness, living in the moment, growth, passion, and change.
The book is only 135 pages long and I’d highly recommend you read it. Here are a few takeaways and I hope it would encourage you enough to pick up a copy.
1. Learn to live in the moment. We have been tuned into planning our future so much that we forgot how to enjoy life. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan, rather enjoy your planning process too. To rephrase the quote from Kung Fu Panda – This moment is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.
2. Do one thing at a time. Personally, this has been life-changing advice. I used to multitask and be proud of it too. Growing up, I realize it is more important to clear your plate and live life, one moment at a time. When you do something, give it your everything. Avoid distractions.
3. Let go of sentimental items. Why do we hold onto something? It is because it reminds us of something or someone. If you’ve ever lost someone, you could connect to this. But remember, the emotional cost is much higher.
You can always hold on to memories. We are more than our possessions. Take a giant leap or a baby step, it is up to you. Make a decision now. What will you do today to part ways with sentimental items that weigh you down?
4. Jealousy is a wasted emotion. Seriously, get rid of this. Jealousy is like a TV, you can choose to turn it off. No two people live the same life. Stop comparing.
5. Deal with overwhelm. If ever I had to pick one takeaway from this book, it is this. In today’s world, we are all overwhelmed. We are overwhelmed by our job, by the emails in our inbox, by hitting the gym in the evening, by our smartphone and its constant notifications, by phone calls, and by social media.
The reason we get overwhelmed is because there’s so much going on in our lives. It is a warning that’s trying to say “hey, you’re doing too many things at once. Take it easy.” I have personal experience.
6. Pain can be useful, but suffering is a choice. A person so close to me went through this recently and it was excruciating and sometimes frustrating to see them suffer. We all feel pain, it’s natural. It’s an indicator that we need to change, but there’s absolutely nothing useful about suffering.
Let it go. Learn from the pain and move on with your life.
7. It is O.K to wait. Stop running a race. Slow down, you don’t need to hurry. Stop comparing yourself with others. Why the rush? Enjoy the journey.
One of the biggest questions is, “I really want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, but my spouse/children/friends/family isn’t on board with me. What should I do?”
How do you become a minimalist even though your friends or family might not be ready to take the plunge? The answer is: START WITH YOURSELF.
Okay, I’m convinced. I want to de-clutter and experience minimalism. Where do I start? The authors suggest 3 options:
- Extreme: Be prepared to live with a bag or two of clothes. There’s nothing wrong with it, especially if you love to travel. But, it’s not for most people.
- Moderate: Do a packing party. The idea is to pack everything you own, and in the course of next week, only unpack things when there’s a need. Discard everything else thereafter. This works well for you if you’re single or a couple with no kids.
- Conservative: Start with one room, and take baby steps towards your goal.
MINIMALISM. The word itself is of less importance. Sometimes it scares people away. So, if you feel its too austere of a word to say, call it Essentialism, or whatever name you want to give it. But, the idea is to live a more meaningful life by focusing on what is important and eliminating what’s not.
This YouTube video explains minimalism quite brilliantly. Joshua Becker & Leo Babauta have been an inspiration to millions of people around the world. In fact, Essential Zen Habits by Leo is the next book on my list.
We hope you liked this blog. What is the ONE takeaway for you from Essential Essays?
– Kavi & Ninja
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