What Stops People From Living A More Minimalist Lifestyle?
I’m a big fan of the simple life – having no clutter, peace of mind, focusing on something greater than the pursuit of material consumption – it’s one of the best ways to live. It is so freeing.
You don’t have to deny yourself all of what life has to offer. Hell I like to splurge on ice cream sometimes. Well a lot of the time but that’s a different issue.
There are some people out there who say they want to live the simple life.
But just can’t seem to figure out what it really is and how to get to a more minimalist lifestyle.
They try but come up short and it’s usually mostly because of one or all of the following three reasons.
Reason #1: They Don’t Have a Great Reference Group.
Normally when you hear the term reference group, you automatically think of the people you habitually associate with, which is true, but your reference group can expand further beyond that.
It can also include everything you habitually hear on the radio, watch on the TV, read in the magazines, in short the media. Technology has “improved” to the point where we are saturated in it without even realizing it.
It has become our second “shadow” reference group.
Celebrities do not live in the real world. They get almost everything for free. They are not living paycheck to paycheck.
The more things regular people buy, the more hidden ownership costs start to arise – insurance, repair, maintenance, etc.
And that further puts them in a bind to come up with the money to pay for all these things to the point where that becomes their entire focus – trying to pay for everything they’ve accumulated.
And to add salt into the wound, if your actual social group enjoys the pursuit of material consumption, it will keep you going on the treadmill. It will make it ten times harder to get off because you don’t want to “fall behind” your peers. You want to keep it up.
Cut the media from your life and start limiting the time you spend with people who only like the pursuit of material consumption.
There will be no pressure to follow and you’ll experience a breath of fresh air to pursue a simpler way of living.
You may need to examine who you actually hang out with. If your core values are no loner aligned with those of your social group it may be time to reevaluate things.
Harsh I know but it is for your own good.
Reason #2: No Triggering Event.
It’s easy for people to continually do the things they’re doing unless something BIG happens.
Change happens in either one of two ways.
One is a war of attrition. Constant hammering, repetition, just a good old pounding everyday. You just get tired eventually of slogging away and finally realize that maybe a more minimalist way of living may actually be better(yes it is!)
The second way is the triggering event.
Something big, something emotional, something shocking, something painful, something that will just throw the whole kitchen sink at a person to stun them to the point where their whole way of thinking is shaken.
That’s the triggering event most people need to literally “restart” their way of thinking and in the precious time after the triggering event, to “embed” a new program. Reboot the hard drive.
We’re seeing how the economy is acting like a triggering event for a lot of people.
People have been hit hard – job layoffs, investments taking a beating, sources of credit drying up – it has shaken their way of thinking and forced them to take a serious look at how they spend their money.
Many people are actually enjoying cutting back. They are realizing the benefits that they experience as a result – more leisure time, less stress, peace of mind, more time with family and friends, indulgences in simple pleasures, etc.
Without a triggering event to “derail” the train of thought most people have when it comes to money and work and consumerism, it will be very hard to change toward living a simple life.
Reason #3: A Lack of a Goal Outside of Material Consumption,
When you’re striving for something more than material consumption, all of that stuff – accumulation of material goods, keeping up with Joneses, etc. – you have a greater clarity of what is truly important.
You’ll shake your head and wonder why you even wanted a life of wanting stuff in the first place.
That’s the problem with people who live a life of material consumption.
That’s all there is.
And it’s a road that gets old really quick.
We can only indulge ourselves so much before it gets old. Wanting more stuff is the only thing that gets us “turned on” so to speak.
It’s when we turn our attention to others that we really start getting fulfilled.
And when you find something more to do with your life than to consume, something you’re passionate about, something that’s meaningful to you, that makes a difference to people around you, you’ll find your whole life will start to revolve around that.
For me it is meaningful travel. Seeing as much of this amazing planet as possible. I want to spend time in places and help out with different things. So this is something I am striving towards.
What is it for you?
What are you passionate about?
Why is it that you want to live a more simple life? A more minimalist lifestyle perhaps?
Share your thoughts in the comments. I love hearing from you!
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Thanks and have an awesome day!