These days it is all about better, stronger, faster etc. The global populous can't seem to get enough of what they have. We live in an era of instant gratification. Push button dopamine triggers. It is all quite fast, euphoric and sometimes even exotic. Never has there been a time when the famously quoted statement of "We are living in a material world and I am a material girl" has been truer.
On the flip side if people were concious enough, they'd realise they do not need 3 different ipads, 2 different cars or 4 different mobile phones. Not only that but by reducing this unnecessary waste there are benefits to be had aplenty.
I stumbled into this mindset about a decade ago by chance. I had a typical capitalist-tuned mindset. I wanted to upgrade my phone, my computer, buy new clothes more than needed. I love video games and platforms like Steam make it so easy to manage and play one's favourite titles. I used to buy more games then I could play in a year. I have a good collection now but obviously I have a games library to last me a life time.
At some point in time, I became metaware (I know I just made that word up). I started questioning why I was getting the latest machine or phone every year. It didn't really provide anything for me, and I never really "needed" the upgrade in the first place. The only motivation for the purchase was to have the latest and greatest. I contemplated this for a couple of weeks and I reached the conclusion that it was all a distraction. In most cases the action of the initial purchase, after analysing I figured was primarily due to hype. And in almost all cases nothing ever lived up to its hype. So, I decided to get off the train.
At that time, I do not believe there was anything such as a minimalist. Even if there was, I wasn't aware of it or perhaps it was a new concept. I decided to get rid of excess in my life. Basically reduce stuff in my life so that everything has a unique purpose. For example, in case of shoes, I restricted myself to a pair of dress shoes for all sorts of formal wear, and a pair of casual shoes for everything else. Sold of my duplicate gadgets such as phones computers, components. Dumped excess books on gumtree and ebay. Decision process was deliberately naive, in that, if there is something that I have kept in case I might use it or need it later or if it is something that I do not use, just get rid of it, either by selling it off or charity.
Within a month's time I had gotten rid of old clothes, unused tools and ignored gadgets. I was travelling light and obviously had to recalibrate for my weight. At first I wasn't sure, however with time.I was beginning to fall in love.I was more aware and observant. The flashiness of any particular phone model had gone away and all phones were reduced to the following definition: A portable device that lets me do X. Heck, an even more obscene generalisation was: Y that lets me do X. I could apply this generalisation to everything in my life. Since then I have never looked back and have thoroughly enjoyed my life. I have developed a resilience to advertising and I'd go so far as to say that I am the anti-christ of marketing. Trust me, you'd not want me in your focus groups.
As I said, I believe there are undeniable merits. But to list a few, that I personally notice are:
- I am constantly optimising my life.
- I am learning to do more with less, hence consuming/using items to their fullest potential or learning to do so.
- I waste less.
- I lose less things (not that I lost much before either), because there are few things to lose anyway.
- Life is much simpler now.
- Because I have fewer things to worry about I am less distracted and more focused.
Self analysis has also led me to establish the following:
If you're rate of comfortable consumption is less than your rate of acquisition, then you should conclude that you have excess in your life that you need to get rid of.
I'll leave the reader with that as a final thought. I'd urge you to give Minimalism a shot. You never know, you might like it.
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