When I think back to my own childhood, I recall a lifestyle that was much simpler, we were satisfied with very little, there was no obsession with having more and the materialistic world we are living in today was not present at that time. The desire to earn more no matter with what means, to own the latest in technology, fashion and other possessions was not prevalent. The thinking that money will bring us happiness and that the more money and possessions we have the happier we will be, was also not rampant.
Apart from these, we were not aware that we were misusing the natural resources of the world, creating a lot of wastage and not caring for the wild life and environment. Were we all overdue for the shocking experience we are going through these days ? Not knowing what tomorrow will bring us and our families. Is it time to rethink and modify our lifestyle ?
From ancient times, writers and Greek philosophers have preached simple living. The real concept behind this thinking is ‘Minimalism’ which tries to teach us to lead a more purposeful and simple life. We should learn to appreciate and value the things that we already have and be really grateful for their presence. If we can learn to thoroughly value and treasure what we have, that will help us to reduce our desire to own more possessions. Minimalism is a word that carries a lot of weight these days. Ironically, it refers to a lifestyle that is all about living with less. We are being forced to be careful these days, with the current scenario of shutdowns, curfews etc.
We do not know what lies ahead but maybe it’s time to teach ourselves about minimalism as it may help us to :
- BE FREE FROM THE PASSION TO OWN – Present day culture moved us in the direction of increasing possessions. The thinking that happiness lies in ‘keeping up with the neighbours and family members’ and ‘more is better’ is wrong. By accepting minimalism we will gain freedom from the passion to possess. We will look for happiness and satisfaction in the other things in life, like our family, friends, the simple pleasures of enjoying a sunrise in the morning sky and the birds flying in the blue sky. We will appreciate what we already have and be grateful for those things.
- BE FREE FROM DAILY HUSTLE AND BUSTLE – We always seem to have a dozen things to do. Working long hours, striving for a better job or increments, paying bills, commuting to work, being involved in the children’s activities, socializing etc. Even with multitasking we never seem to get things done. Social media, phone calls and other similar activities also take their toll on us. The end result being that we do not find quality time to spend with our family. Sticking to essentials will help us to gain more freedom and find time for the more important things in our life.
- BE FREE BY OWNING LESS – By living a minimalist life we make a decision to possess only those things which we need. With this intention in mind we can save on our expenses, our time and even increase our productivity by having time and also money for more important things. The key criteria used here is having clarity of thought, sense of purpose and with it, the intention of focusing on things that we value most while removing all distractions.
This reinforces improvements in all other areas of our life.
- IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY AT WORK – Organizing ones work area and using only those apps and tools which are really required, improves time management, develops our skills in using those and helps to improve our overall productivity.
- BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT – Having one app or tool to use saves time as you do not have to think and explore different options when we have any work to do. We simply select what we need and start to work on it.
- REDUCED COSTS – Everything has a cost, with less on our work table we definitely save on licensing and other costs. The money we save can be put to other better uses.
- INCREASED FOCUS – IF we try to do everything we end up doing nothing and developing a long to-do list which keeps growing. We are distracted from what is important and this has an impact on our overall performance. By reducing our commitments we can increase focus on what’s important.
- LESS DECISION MAKING – Leading a simple life means fewer decisions to make on what to buy, wear, eat etc. When we reduce the number of decisions to make we can focus on the more important ones and make better and more calculated choices with less stress and more energy.
Where does all this lead us :
It can help us reduce our expenses, be free from financial pressures, reduce the clutter from our lives and be happier and less stressed. With it we will also have the time to develop better relationships and spend quality time with our parents, spouse and children.
An indirect consequence of this is also, contributing to the preservation of our environment by stopping unnecessary wastage. We learn to slow down, not chase after the wrong things, to evaluate what we actually need, buy and consume less but also enjoy more.
As said by Socrates – “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”