“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” – Socrates
Minimalism is to focus on the essentials in life and not on consumption. Getting rid of needless baggage (objects, negative human relationships and thoughts, putative obligations), to make room and time for what is truly important (happiness, passions, realizing dreams, people, philosophizing and time for yourself). Minimalism is not a rigid way of living. Do not let yourself become wedged in an ideology. Because then one would not feel free anymore. Some have a car or a modest house. It is figuring out what works best for YOU but being more mindful of what you own and do.
For me, it is living without obsession for material (possessions, living in excess) and saving resources. It is about finding contentment. A tidy, simple life.
One can save money as a minimalist. In fact, many minimalists do. It is often easier to have savings, because if one is spending less on needless possessions, a huge home and a couple of huge vehicles, you have more money. Having savings gives you peace of mind.
Minimalism is not about counting belongings. It is also not about sacrifice. It is making a conscious decision about how you want to live. It is an attitude towards life.
How I figured out what is truly important to me in life
Travelling alone helped me a lot to figure out what is truly important to me in life. That is where I was confronted with myself, with situations I had never been in before, with decisions I never had to make before. I tried a lot of new things and I still enjoy trying new things. I learnt a lot while leaving my comfort zone. I do not say that you have to travel alone, but it is one way.
What makes ME happy instead of consumption?
Spending time with my family and friends, cooking a meal with fresh ingredients from the garden, helping people, an inspiring conversation over a glass of wine, getting and giving a massage, being in nature, exercising, learning new things, painting, reading and writing.
All of these cost very little 😉
Being a maximalist as well
I live a minimalist life but not at cost of my quality of life. I maximise my quality of life. I use the money I earn for things that are important to me. I use my time in ways that will contribute to my overall happiness.
I am not frugal when buying food. Quality is important to me. I try to buy organic, healthy food. I like to go out for dinner every now and then, but I prefer to cook. It is better and I know what I am eating. I do fly. But only if I am travelling far or if I do not have much time. If possible, I take the train or bus. I have a smartphone and a Facebook account (to keep in touch with friends).
- What is truly important to you? What are your values?
- What makes you happy?
- What would you do with your life if you did not have to swap your time for money? What are your passions?
- How does your consumer behaviour affect the environment?
- What if you found out you were going to die tomorrow? What would you do?
Anecdote: Diogenes of Sinope has a reputation of sleeping in a large ceramic jar and possessing nothing more than a cloak, a stick, and a bread bag. Once he Diogenes was relaxing in the morning sunlight, Alexander the Great, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favour he might do for him. Diogenes replied, “Yes, stand out of my sunlight”.