Minimalist Living Manifesto
Stuff ties us down. It weighs on the mind. It gives us back pain when we carry it around. It gets stolen, broken, or obsolete, then pollutes the world as it breaks down in a landfill.
Omnipresent Advertising tells us that stuff will make us happy, and we want to believe that purchasing can solve our problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. But beyond food, clothing and shelter, stuff is not the answer to the most pressing issues in our lives. Worse yet, in a very complicated world, it isn’t just physical clutter that raises our anxiety level. There are too many choices: where to eat, what job to take, where to live, what to read, and so on.
We feel moments of clear thought when we’ve stripped away the peripheral things that weigh us down. We live in a small dorm room, go on vacation with a single backpack, or spend a weekend at a retreat in the woods. Our minds feel clearer, and our bodies healthier. We resolve to keep that feeling back when we return to our everyday hectic world, but it slips away in mere days.
Minimalist living starts with believing that everything we bring into our lives has a cost to our soul. Every choice we allow ourselves to ponder extracts its pound of flesh. Every dollar spent costs the time it took to earn that dollar. Whatever we do or accumulate has a high bar to make up for these problems.
We write about minimizing:
STUFF: We pretty much always overestimate how happy a new purchase will make us, and vastly underestimate what a drag it will be to maintain, store, and discard. Advertising successfully manipulates us to make sure the anticipation/reality gap is as large as possible.
TIME: We can waste most of our lives procrastinating and dealing with useless crap. Stop. Focus on the critical, and stay organized and on track. Spend more time with family and friends. Or just with yourself in quiet solitude.
MONEY: Minimal is not poor. Spending hours managing coupons is not minimalist. A cheap computer will cost you hours of troubleshooting. Save up your money and spend on the things that you have wanted for a long time. Minimalist living is about not giving in to impulse purchases. You have very little or no debt. You pay cash-no credit cards. You Buy quality. But buy less, and spend wisely.
HEALTH: Taking care of yourself means a minimum of doctor visits later. Without your health, you don’t have anything. Don’t be fooled by magic cures – being healthy is hard work, but often requires more knowledge and willpower than stuff. If it comes in a can, box or container it probably is garbage. Garbage in, garbage out. Veggies, fruit, lean protein. Walk. Then walk some more. Repeat.
STRESS: Stress that causes growth and excitement is good – without stress, life is boring. Make sure you’re stressing about the things that matter, and clear the mind of all the mental clutter.
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