Minimalism is a hype trend these days, falling in the same category with zero-waste, veganism as well as other alternative trend to the mainstream lifestyle.
The key concept in minimalism is maximum utility.
It’s clear that the world we live in today has never seen higher levels of toxicity both in the environment as well as inside our minds and bodies. The modern lifestyle is not sustainable on long term, given the ecology and sustainability global issues.
Could Minimalism Be the Answer?
Minimalism started way before our grandparents were even born. Iconic artists such as Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt or Tony Smith, reduced art to its basics, to the purity of form and the fundamentals of beauty.
On the other end of the planet, in Japan, minimalism was a trend way before the word was invented.
We’re talking Ikebana, Ro Ho En, or the Japanese garden arts, as well as Haiku, the shortest and most fixed form of poetry. Simplicity at its finest.
Minimalism was the way of life for centuries, way before capitalism was born, with its bittersweet offspring, consumerism.
Why Become a Minimalist
Human society has evolved in a way that endangers not only the planet, but it’s own species, the human kind. It’s not a human-friendly environment we live in.
Considering this, a minimalist lifestyle could be the answer for saving ourselves from our own deadly sins. And while it may look restricting, minimalism is exactly the opposite.
So here are only 3 reasons why becoming a minimalism can actually help save the planet and add substance to our lives.
1. Make The World a Healthier Place
Excess consumption has led to a serious waste crisis, but do we actually understand how bad it is?
- 25 trillion pieces of plastic waste are in the ocean, 269,000 tones floating while 4 billions plastic microfibers litter the deep sea, killing over 100,000 marine animals every year from plastic entanglement or ingestion.
- By 2050, global solid waste will increase by 70% if we continue on this path of consumption and waste.
- Most of the modern illnesses are due to the high levels of toxicity in the environment, air, water, ground, chemicals, radiations. We’re killing ourselves and the planet too.
There’s no other way to sustaining life on this planet, but to change our ways.
Minimalism says we should only the things that we need in the amounts that allow us to enjoy our lives and leave a “minimalist waste”.
This means, conscious instead of compulsory buying.
Ads, society pressure and our own insecurities are the main culprits causing us to buy without even thinking whether we actually need those things or not.
We buy to fill a void, that once filled, we think will make us happy. Just like any other addiction.
When we realize that it’s in our power to make the right consumer decisions, with compassion for ourselves and the planet, we will actively contribute to making this world a better, safer and healthier place for us all.
2. Experience More Freedom
The best definition for abundance (by far) that I’ve ever heard is:
”The ability to do what you need to do, when you need to do it”.Bashar
Where is the money in this statement? Nowhere. Abundance is doing and not having. In other words, the freedom to experience. And what better thing than freedom of choice, right?
Most people think that having more options will make them happy. In fact, when there’s less to choose from, we make better decisions. And faster.
- The “freedom of more choices” becomes the “unfreedom” as it can lead to indecisiveness, unhappiness and even refrain us from making a decision.
It’s called “overchoice”, and it was first introduced by author Alvin Toffler in his 1970s book Future Shock. I’m smelling a “50 years in the future” deja vu.
This is exactly what consumerism does.
Too many options taking up our free time from actually enjoying life.
Steve Jobs wore the exact same clothes every day so he could focus on the things that actually mattered for him. He is just one example of a successful entrepreneur who wore the same things every day, there are many more others.
When the things we own, own us instead, you’ve given up on our freedom of being for the imprisonment of having. Only you can set yourself free.
3. Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “more money more problems”. Was it a Biggy’s song? I can’t quite remember. Well, it’s the same with possessions.
Who would have said a few decades ago that having more stuff actually makes us more unhappy?
Sad but true.
- Americans own twice as many cars as they did 55 years ago and eat out twice as much and they are less happy.
- Life satisfaction is positively correlated with less material possessions.
- Extremely wealthy people suffer from higher rates of depression.
I’m not trying to convince anyone to be poor. Not having enough to make ends meets on a daily basis is a great stress factor. Wealth is also the consequence of the value you put out in the world.
Studies show that when our basic needs are met, having more will not add to our happiness and well-being.
Instead, if we continue on the path of compulsive consumerism we become the slaves of things, of transient trends and of what society wants us to be.
My conclusion to the crisis we’re in is simple.
What Modern Society Actually Craves for Is Meaning
Looking back at our parents’ and grandparents’ generations that have come from a place of lack, of not having enough, the materialistic times we’re living and this need for possessions make more sense.
It’s our generations’ coping mechanism to the “not having enough” trauma.
But society has evolved, and today most people around the world have enough to get by and more. So what’s the problem, still? What psychological void de we need to fill?
What most people actually want is the freedom to live their lives as they wish and enjoy the experiences that allow them to grow. We can easily be tempted to believe that this is achieved through having more.
But, there’s this true saying….
“If you don’t go within, you go without”Neale Donald Walsh
Actually, the only way we can fulfill this natural urge is by doing more of what we want in life and thus, by being more of who we actually are and want to be.
There’s still hope left in the world.
Follow your passion, your heart, despite of what society thinks, despite of what everyone thinks, dare to do what makes you vibrate of joy and excitement. This is what you can do to heal the world and your heart.
The freedom that we crave to be our true selves, and the insatiable search for meaning in our lives is not acquired through the things we buy.
Finding something to believe in, a creed that resonates with our being is what can satiate the soul’s hunger for self discovery, compassion and love from the inside out.
Spend a little less, live a little more. Buy a little less, love a little more.