What thought comes to your mind when you hear minimalism? Minimalism is intentionally living with only the “things” we really need. Here, “things” could take many forms. It could be excess stuff in your house, it could be unnecessary financial obligations, poor investments, it could be a digital one, it could be some useless thoughts and worries, it could be some unnecessary people around you, and so on. So the target is to keep what we need and throw away the unnecessary. And I repeat, THROW AWAY. Keeping stuff in the attic and closet does not mean the same. It has to go away. Only then we can say we have headed towards minimalism.
Buying “stuff” brings ephemeral happiness. How the $300 ceramic table lamp is going to be joyful after a year, it works the same way as a $20 cardboard lamp. So why the passion to possess? It’s my friend’s birthday, let’s go shopping, I am bored, let’s go shopping, I am feeling low, let’s go shopping, I feeling good, let’s get shopping, got the bonus, let’s go shopping, it’s Sunday, let’s go shopping. Why shopping is an activity of boredom? Every week we keep adding new stuff to our inventory and it becomes a habit. A bad one. When we throw away all the useless stuff, we get a sense of the most important things in our life. Life becomes more sorted. The mind clears itself. We get more time doing what we always wanted to do and we get more time to spend with our loved ones.
Minimalism isn’t something discovered or created today. The modern world created an environment that reinforces an unsorted lifestyle. The modern hysteria! The hysteria of fast life. The life that is not transparent. We get envious of every small little thing. We get affected by the ads. I see one commercial and now I want to buy the Peloton bike. The bike is not even a real bike; it costs $2245 for onetime delivery and $39 monthly for the content on the screen. I mean, do we really need a screen for a bike in the living room? If we really do, hey! I have an idea. Get a real bike for less than $150 and go outside. You will get a panoramic view of 360 degrees, and that for free. We just want to use it because celebrities and neighbors use it. There is no genuine explanation to “why?”.
I have another example. We see these stock traders run around like robots. They have a Bluetooth piece attached all the time. They work so hard as their philosophy is if they do 10–15 trades a day, maybe 3–4 will come out as profits. They don’t pick up your call on the first attempt to show they are very busy. Long-term investors are just the opposite. They invest most of their time studying companies and do fewer investments. They prefer long-term prospects rather than intraday trading. These investors are happy and always in profits. A short time market spike doesn’t affect their sleep. Now you must be confused, what the investment strategy has anything to do with minimalism. Minimalism is not just getting rid of unwanted physical stuff out of the house. It is a state of the mind. The mind that does not get affected by the rumors and advertisements and has clarity while taking decisions in any situation. It’s about being honest and being true to yourself in any scenario or towards any person. It’s about spreading happiness when you are happy and asking other’s help when you are sad and vulnerable.
Are you a digital minimalist?
Mobile phones are one of the greatest innovations of the modern era. But sometimes today’s smartphones can impede living. Constant notification from social media apps, useless emails from unnecessary subscribed sites, cluttered inboxes, notifications from time-consuming mobile games, and so on. How can we save ourselves from this nonsense and use the phone when we need to rather than when the phone needs you? We should only keep the apps that are most necessary, unsubscribe from unnecessary sites and digital magazines, all “once a month use” apps should be removed, all the distracting and inbuilt apps can be timely managed under the digital wellbeing feature. Mobile addiction is real folks! Every time we put the phone down, it’s a productive decision. Trust me.