Are you about more? Or are you about what’s important?
With the state of the world, it’s a damn good time (to pass the time - Quarantine 2020) to understand what is important to you and what adds value to your life.
Minimalism is about important things.
It’s both a practice and a mindset focused on understanding yourself and finding beauty in the things around you. Minimalism, Essentialism or Intentionalism are different isms for the practice of acting consciously.
Conscious action is simple to understand but can be difficult to maintain. It’s acting intentionally and knowing why things are being done instead of just getting them done. The first step is to take stock of everything. Take the time (we’ve got it!) to internalize how your time is spent and how you use things. Let go of things that bring no value, no joy or serve no purpose.
Becoming okay with letting go of things that don’t bring joy is a significant shift in how we traditionally think.
Consider an overflowing closet. There are clothes everywhere, boxes of stuff that has been forgotten jammed into every open space. More stuff stacked on top of that. You need one item of clothing that you know you look great in. That item is in this closet somewhere.
You now have to rummage through all of this stuff to find the one thing you want and use.
Now imagine you had spent time sorting the closet. You’ve been through all the clothes and donated (times are tough) anything you didn’t love. You only kept clothes that you look great in. You have sorted the storage boxes and stuff stacked on top. You now know everything that is in this space. You know where it is and what it is for. There’s also some space left over now. Space that you didn’t realise you had, but now has room for new things - maybe a pair of shoes?
You now grab anything and look great, plus have a new pair of shoes to go with it.
This closet is you. Getting rid of ‘stuff’ in your life makes room for the other ‘stuff’ you want to spend time on.
Minimalism and consciousness both compliment each other. Their relationship leads you to become more mindful and more present. We all have the same amount of time, (our time in a day can also be that closet) it is important to do less before you do more. Less stuff, less clutter and fewer distractions lead to more, more time, more joy and more meaning. Focus on things that bring you joy. Live an intentional life.
As you might expect, the practice of minimalism doesn’t have much to it. But it is a practice. A continual journey that doesn’t have a destination.
Focus on the present - right now is both the youngest you will ever be again and the oldest you have ever been. Our past defines who we are. But taking a step back and asking why we hold onto these moments or these things from our past is part of being mindful. Often we don’t have a reason for keeping that thing from childhood, past relationship or thing we’ve always wanted to try. Chances are, we could let it go and come back to the present.
Be present - being mindful is actually about thinking less. Remember conscious actions? Give yourself fully to whatever you are doing at the time. In a meeting don’t check emails, Slack, Teams, Whatsapp, Instagram etc. Be present and listen to what is being said. Spend time with family and friends and keep your focus on them, don’t glance up over your Instagram feed to say;
To the story, you barely heard but sounded like it required affirmation. Give them your full attention and engage.
Embrace the process - all of this ‘shedding’ of the non-essential is to find out what is.
What are you happiest doing?
Find ways to spend time doing that. This is the easiest way to find fulfilment in life. If you love painting, and painting brings you joy it doesn’t matter if you paint the next Mona Lisa. You enjoy the process.
The place to start is a streamlined version of “Marie Kondo your life.” Ask yourself if your things add value to your life. If not, you have to be ok with letting it go. Don’t let it be an escape, but you can keep things that you like (Smart home tech i). You don’t need to justify keeping something to anyone other than yourself, so if you’re happy why the hell not?
Written by Jerald Skuta for Hustle Anywhere