What is Minimalism?
In my own words I will convey what Minimalism is. Minimalism is a trend, as well as a philosophy of life in opposition to the galloping consumerism of the present. It’s basic assumptions that can be characterized according to “avoiding unnecessary things.” rule. Minimalists decide to focus on quality, not quantity. So what is unnecessary? This is a question that each of us must ask ourselves alone, but as usual, I offer a few directions:
- Before you buy something, ask yourself if this item will bring new value to my life. Will the next album, cassette, book or piece of clothing cause any difference in the quality of my life?
- Think about what is really important to you. For example many people find their family to be really important. If so, why not spend more time with family, rather than engage in another professional project? Bet on the quality of these contacts. Think about what is necessary and what actually brings more happiness into your life.
- Do not place a thousand targets at once. Do not start a hundred habits. The real changes are made step by step. Focus on fewer things, but do them well. Do them because they bring you satisfaction and contribute something to your life.
- Think about how many things you have been using in the last month. If you are not using them on a daily basis, there is a good chance that these things are dispensable. Imagine if a war broke out right now in the present day and you only had one large suitcase that you could bring with you. What would you take along with you? Hopefully this gives you a new perspective on the most important things in your life, things which in some way are linked or give you a chance to survive.
- Instead of buying another useless item or making trips to the mall, give the other person a moment of your time and full attention. Take a walk or a joint expedition. Discover something new. Watch your habits, filling the emptiness of life with objects.
We are living in a time with information overload. The amount of information that needs to be assimilated by our brain, not only in the course of learning, but also through the use of all kinds of media such as television, computers, radio and phones is too numerous! It creates an unprecedented situation. Never in the history of the human brain has it been stimulated with so many stimuli. Where is this all going? Firstly, we need to focus harder on the task being performed. Having a mobile phone or PC so readily available distracts us and makes us break away from our daily routine. It’s getting harder for us to focus our attention on one activity. This not only disrupts the functioning of our work, but also the functionality within our relationships with others. The minimalist life brings great relief and peace of mind to anyone who has tried it. Those who approach a minimalist lifestyle have less stress and tension. The feeling of being “overwhelmed” dissipates because we are not overloading ourselves with unnecessary things in life. Man enjoys the more relaxed lifestyle with deeper meaningful relationships. This is not an overnight change of course. A minimalist lifestyle is something that develops gradually. If you get the idea that all you have to do is drop everything and live in a cabin in the mountains in most cases it is only an expression of frustration and powerlessness with no real plan to change your life for the better and it is absurd. You have to make small changes to work your way towards a simpler life. Another big plus of minimalism is how it helps us save money. We save more so we can spend it on things that really matter to us, like trips to create some great memories with friends and family or education.
My way to minimalism
I started my own adventure with minimalism that was inspired by an article I found on zenpencils: https://zenhabits.net/the-minimalist-principle-omit-needless-things/.
It is a shame, but I have to admit that for a long time I had a problem with buying too much stuff. I am a person who has rather too many ideas than too little & spending money on frills comes to me lightly. Therefore, over the years I accumulated hundreds of unread books that rot on the shelves, many musical instruments that I do not play at all or just use them occasionally. I bought a whole bunch of other junk too which began to overwhelm me to the point that I preferred to spend time outside of my room than in the middle of it. For a long time I felt it was time to do something about it and minimalism turned out to be an antidote. I’ve included a list of steps that I’ve taken to applicate minimalist rules:
- I got rid of my wallet. Instead of wearing a thick wallet stuffed with banknotes I carry a small bag for credit cards and other documents. If I need money I withdraw cash from an ATM. This solution has its pros and cons. My new wallet edition takes less space and in it are only the necessary things. I threw all the special gift cards away and other things that I have collected over the years so I never spend money on anything unnecessary. It also looks much more aesthetically pleasing than the bulging fat wallet pocket. There are two cons: first, small coins are kept in your pocket at least until they land in a jar. Some could interfere. Second, instant payments with credit cards make it extremely easy to lose control of your finances. Hence this method is imperfect and requires a lot of money spending awareness on my part.
- I made a list of 108 things that are absolutely necessary to me. I turned off my collection thinking mode (such as books and CDs / DVDs). I also started to gradually sell off all the excess stuff like old phones, unused equipment and unused musical instruments. A part of me didn’t want to say goodbye to all those things, it wasn’t easy, but after all was said and done I felt relieved that my life had more space and joy that someone could actually use the things I got rid of. I used ebay to do so, it is a simple way to get rid of unnecessary things. I’m planning to try to reduce the number of belongings I have to the 108 that I deemed necessary. Also with time I am considering selling my book collection and only limiting it to a couple of the most important, essential titles.
- I got rid of old and unwanted clothes. I gave them to the Red Cross. There are containers to do so in every city in Poland (that’s where I live). I would recommend to do so if we have things that are not very expensive and we know they won’t sell. Another solution is to sell them to a second-hand clothes shop. Likewise, I let go of many old books. Some were sold to an antique shop and those that weren’t accepted I gave to the municipal library so that others could use them.
- I limited the number of projects in which I was involved in at one time. This caused the greatest sense of overwhelming feelings for me. I’m still trying to develop it in key areas of my life and do not neglect the duties I have. I am still pursuing my passions, but I set small achievable goals each week for myself. For example, instead of trying to write an ebook, create webinars, blog and run my own youtube channel at once, I decided that I would first work on the habit of creating blog posts once a week. Simplifying the hectic modern life is not easy, but it starts with establishing our priorities and setting realistic targets for the time we have available each day. The outcome is that what I decide to do I do in the best way possible rather than think about how to keep up with the next hundred things to do.
- I avoid overloading stimuli. For years, I did not watch television. The most important things I learned from friends or I would hear on the radio. I try to limit the flow of information to the books that I’m currently reading and listening to music. As for books, I try to read one book at a time, ut this is a habit which I still have a lot of work to do because my mind still automatically wants to jump over to different topics. I do not spend hours in front of a computer playing video games or watching TV series. This does not mean that I don’t do it at all! I devote a little time to relax in this way every few days. I try not to let it dominate my free time. Instead, I exercise, I try to write, create, go to a new place, to practice my musical skills or attend a scheduled meeting with somebody. This brings even more happiness to my life and is more fulfilling than another episode or season of a television series.
What does minimalism have to do with recovery?
Recovering from addiction or compulsion & changing your life is a huge task. One of the biggest tasks you can face during your life. In order to succeed you may have to let go of certain things and set it as your first priority. For sure you will need to work hard on it. That’s why you need every resource possible, not only money to get the right help, but also space in your mind to deal with emotional turmoil of recovery. Minimalism while recovering is not only good, it’s necessary!
I am not suggesting here that everyone must adapt to these rules. If you feel overloaded, as I did, it can be a great way out of your problems. If you want to learn more about how to start a minimalist life, I can help you out: meetme.so/adriansztobryn