Mar 5, 2013

Modified Minimalism

Modified Minimalism

I am a huge fan of minimalism.

Minimalistic decoration, minimalistic fashion, and most importantly, minimalism in terms of personal material possessions.

I find the feeling of being able to live out of a carry-on bag very liberating.  The fact is, we can get by on a lot less than we think.  That goes for a lot of things in life (external validation, junk food, porn, toilet paper, alcohol, etc.). Today, I’m going to be focusing on material possessions.

Physical clutter creates mental clutter.  Mentally, it is very draining to have a lot of things that you are keeping track of, even on an unconscious level.

Modifying The Minimalism Model

I’ve tried the extreme side of minimalism.  Within a 48 hour span, I once donated/gave away/Craiglist’ed about 95% of all of the things that I owned.  I was ruthless.

Guitar?  I haven’t played this in a week, who needs it.

CD’s and DVD’s?  I have an iPhone that covers both of those.

My first pair of baby shoes?  Won’t wear those ever again.

Predictably, after another 24 hours passed since the manic-like life purge, I felt some pangs of regret.  Much less than I expected, but still a few small ones.  I missed my guitar.  I regretted tossing one of my old journals.  There was one shirt that I wished I hadn’t donated.  But other than that, I was fine.  My room felt un-cluttered and so did my mind.

In the book The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt cites a study in which he found a correlation between suicide rates and the constraints in peoples lives.  It might seem counterintuitive, but those who had more bonds and obligations in their lives were far less likely to commit suicide than those who had too few attachments.

As it turns out, too much freedom and detachment isn’t very good for your emotional health.  Purge the unnecessary, but KEEP the things that bring you joy, fulfillment, and a sense of connection.

The Hidden Cost Of Stuff

So which things should you keep and which should you get rid of?  Here is a quick-use guide to help you with your decisions.

1. Does it have hidden costs attached to it?

Is it a magazine or service subscription that you don’t even use? Is it a dress shirt that costs $8 per dry clean? Does it need a dozen AA batteries to function for an hour or two?  If it’s draining your financial resources, toss it.

2. Have you used it in the last six months?

Be honest with yourself.  When was the last time you used it?  If you haven’t used it recently, there’s a very small chance you’ll be using it in the near future.  Get over your pack-rat tendencies, and say adios to your dusty old belongings.

3. If it were offered to you today, would you still accept it into your life?

This question can be applied to every area of your life (your job, your girlfriend, your social circle) and it bears repeating.  If I offered you your old video game system, or hole-filled shirt, would you still want it today?  Chances are, the thing that you’re on the fence about is already past it’s expiration date.

After reading these questions, you probably realize that you can get rid of about 70% of your clothes, books, and possessions that you have floating around.  And that is awesome.  The socially conditioned part of your brain wants to hold on to these to have a sense of belonging and identity, but I guarantee that you won’t miss any of what you throw away.

So look around your bedroom… your house… your life…

What things that you surround yourself with actually ADD to you as a person?  What brings you frequent happiness and fulfillment?  If the answer is ‘basically none of it’, then maybe it’s time to shake up the routine and do some spring-cleaning.

Blog

Related

See All
Why Entrepreneurs Need To Invest In Their Relationships
Mar 10, 2014
Jordan Gray
Why Entrepreneurs Need To Invest In Their Relationships
How many books have you read in the past year on business? Have that number in your mind? Alright, hold on to that. Now, how many books have you read on intimacy and relationships? If the number is more than a 2:1 ratio in favour of business books, you might want to seriously re-consider your...
Continue Reading
3 Ways That Men And Women Are Conditioned Differently
Apr 24, 2020
Jordan Gray
3 Ways That Men And Women Are Conditioned Differently
No one escapes childhood without passing through a gauntlet of messages about what is expected from them. And while no one gets through unscathed, the messages that men and women receive tend to differ in some fairly consistent ways. Today, I’m going to dig into three of the most common differences. Why?...
Continue Reading
The Intentional Life Ep.5: Boosting Testosterone With Ben Greenfield
Jun 20, 2016
Jordan Gray
The Intentional Life Ep.5: Boosting Testosterone With Ben Greenfield
Do you want to safely and naturally boost your testosterone, live longer, have better sex, and become superhuman? Well, you're in luck. Today's episode of The Intentional Life is truly something special... My guest today is Ben Greenfield. Ben is someone I've been following for a while now and...
Continue Reading
The Hardest And Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do
Apr 25, 2016
Jordan Gray
The Hardest And Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do
What is the hardest and most important thing you will ever do for yourself? I’m not going to leave you hanging. I’m going to give it to you right away, and then dig into why this is so important. The most important (and challenging) thing you could ever do for yourself is to... Take full responsibility...
Continue Reading
Your Life Is A Garden
Mar 5, 2016
Jordan Gray
Your Life Is A Garden
Your life is a garden. And it needs constant attention. Your garden needs water, sunlight, effort, and love in order to truly thrive. If you treat your soil well then nutritious foods and beautiful flowers will be able to spring forth, or... you can treat your soil badly and it’ll feel like nothing...
Continue Reading
How To Overhaul Your Entire Life In 5 Easy Steps
Jan 17, 2016
Jordan Gray
How To Overhaul Your Entire Life In 5 Easy Steps
I was lying on the sidewalk. Cold, January concrete supporting my head. Tears streaming down the sides of my face towards my ears. Over a dozen pairs of feet raced by me before someone acknowledged my strange placement. “Are you alright brother?”, an eventual stranger asked. “I think I might be having...
Continue Reading