A Case For Minimalism (That Isn't What You Think)

The idea behind minimalism is not just to fight the junk values of materialism or to save the environment (although those are worthy causes). It’s not just about having cool Instagram-worthy photograph of an empty white room with white Ikea furniture (and maybe a white Herschel backpack) either.

Minimalism is a practice in generating clarity about what really matters. Instead of treating life as a grab bag, or merely reacting to the myriad of options, devout minimalists consciously choose what they want out of life.

This includes what they buy, where they live, who their friends are, and what they choose to do with their time.

As with any kind of ‘life philosophy’, Minimalism gets a bad rap sometimes. There are a few evangelists out there trying to push this value system onto all of us, trying to profit off of an ideology that inherently should not be profited from.

But just because there are some screwballs out there, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t glean the lessons we can from this practice.

So many of us walk around in the world wanting a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s hard to pick a restaurant to dine at this evening, let alone a career path to commit to. We are perpetual dabblers that show our love and affection for others by buying more things.

Anxiety and depression are skyrocketing because we are replacing purpose, passion, and connection with food, masturbation, television, and social media.

We do so much, yet feel so little.

Minimalism is about realizing that even the things that we call “free” (race t-shirts, doodads, rides, favors) aren’t free. It costs space to hold these things in our minds and our hearts.

It’s about realizing that having a full calendar is not the same thing as having a full heart. And that finishing 1% of one hundred projects is a lot less fulfilling than finishing 100% of one project.

Minimalism isn’t about doing more with less, it’s about doing the right things in the first place. It’s about making a few critical decisions that knock out the need for the rest.

Whether we like it or not, there are trade-offs in this world. We only have so much time here, so much money to spend, so much attention to give.

The ideal minimalist accepts this reality, not begrudgingly. They accept it fully and completely, whole-heartedly. Because they realize, at a very deep level, that this is what makes life so rich, so fulfilling.

And plus, as John Maxwell says:

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” 

Kate Ward