Using Minimalism as a Tool for Genuine Happiness
The Source of Our Discontent
“The true problem of our nation is deeper than energy shortages or inflation or the recession. In a nation that was proud of hard work and close-knit communities and families, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.
“Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that only things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. Piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. This is a truth and a warning.”
These are the powerful words of President Jimmy Carter. This was the American Dream – equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.
We have taken our American Dream and somehow twisted it into who owns the biggest house, has the best stuff, the most successful job, and the best image. And we’ve been told we need these things by society.
A Value-Added Lifestyle
Minimalism is a very value-based ideal. It’s all about doing the most amount of good with the most amount of value with exactly what you need. Having that balance and having enough is what you’re looking for.
I found a story of a guy named AJ Leon. He was climbing the corporate ladder and realized he was completely and utterly trapped after being offered a promotion. His dreams of living a life of purpose, meaning, adventure and living a life that’s deliberate and intentional was gone. He decided this life was his and he left.
There’s more to a minimalist lifestyle than how many possessions you own, as you can see with AJ. Minimalist values can be found in:
- Your work routine
- Your health
- The excess space in your home
- The amount of time spent on your phone and the extra apps and content on it that consumes your time
A study found that people maybe used 40% of the space in their homes. A lot of people don’t use the space they have – dining rooms, porches, game rooms, etc. Instead of all this excess space, why don’t we live in homes that are inviting for social activities and help in cultivating relationships?
We’re living our lives based around the space we’ve got rather than creating our space to fit our lives.
And then we have technology, one of the most overwhelming elements we’ve put into our lives. Advertising has infiltrated culture and has portrayed more apps and more devices and having the best and newest thing as normal.
It’s why lottery winners are miserable and why homeowners have three-car garages. We are wired to become dissatisfied with what we currently have – it’s an addiction. We maintain the addiction through technology and information.
Overwhelmed? Turn off your phone and enjoy the world and the people around you. Be present.
The Value in Your Possessions
Less stuff, clutter, stress, debt, discontent and fewer distractions.
More time, meaningful relationships, growth, contribution and contentment.
If the minimalist lifestyle is for you, then every possession you have should serve a purpose and bring you joy. If it’s for you, create a template that works for you and fits your life. Don’t have excess stuff and justify to yourself if it adds value to your life.
Everyone is looking for more meaning in their lives. Don’t follow the illusion of what your life should look like through social media and the web. Give your life meaning in a way that fits your style.
I strongly urge you to watch this documentary called Minimalism on Netflix! Find that balance in your life where you can do the most amount of good with the most amount of value with exactly what you need. Here’s a short introduction.