Materialism and relentless consumerism are destroying the soul of humans around the world. Here’s why becoming a minimalist is the answer to improving your life and overall happiness.
I stepped out of Hong Kong’s frenetic airport on my first trip and was greeted cautiously by my new German boss.
“Adam?”, he said. “I’m S, nice to meet you. Jesus, is that your suitcase? It’s f*cking heavy!”
I was confused. Was it not reasonable to have a suitcase weighing 34KG considering I was moving my life to another country?
Then I got to the apartment where I was staying downtown and opened it to discover countless cereals, confectionary and other snacks my mum had crammed in.
Yes, I was 22 years old and she packed my suitcase for my first major trip abroad with wheat because she was scared I’d feel homesick without it.
The owner of the school I taught at proceeded to tell everyone about this the Monday I went for my first day at work. He thought I was a bit of a diva. He was right.
Get Rid of Your Stuff
I used to have a lot of stuff – too much stuff.
You know what it did for my life? Nothing. It made me stressed and drained my creativity.
I used to be very materialistic. My prized possession was a Vivienne Westwood, diamond-encrusted belt I used to tuck each t-shirt into my jeans to show off.
Like everyone, I’ve accumulated a lot of crap into my life over the years just by being a rampant consumerist like the majority of the population.
I collected clothes, electronics, and other physical objects to showcase my worth. I was never really into cars though, luckily.
You know how much my suitcase weighs today when I take to the road? 9KG, electronics included.
And if I ventured to say, my possessions at home probably don’t total up to more than 20KG either.
I’d recommend most people do the same if you’re intent on travelling or becoming location independent. Even if you’re not, getting rid of vapid, meaningless possessions is one of the best ways to improve your life quality.
Here’s why becoming a minimalist is a major factor in opening the door to happiness and being content.
Minimalism Enhances Your Wellbeing
Having less clutter in your life is the fastest way to enhance your mental wellbeing and de-stress.
Having less physical objects lying around the house at first may seem daunting- especially if you’ve invested money in them – but it’s also draining as they take energy to maintain if you don’t use them.
Ask yourself if you really need an object, and if you don’t, get rid of it. I’m dead serious.
Removing as much useless stuff out of your life will allow you to think in a more organised manner and relax your brain. It’s the perfect antidote to the constant maintenance and upkeep your apartment or house otherwise requires.
It Frees Up Creativity
The less stuff you have, the more mental energy you can channel into being creative.
Think about it. With fewer distractions, just think of how much extra brain power you could leverage for meaningful activities that enhance your career?
Learning languages, reading, travelling, writing, music, art, etc. are all much easier skills to practice and enjoy when you aren’t constantly sweeping dust of shit you don’t use anymore.
It Improves Your Relationships
Most people towards the end of their lives regret not spending more time with their loved ones and wish they would have invested more time and energy into their relationships. Do you really want to fall into that category?
When shit hits the fan it’s your family and friends who are going to be by your side dragging you out of the mess you’ve created, not that 52-inch widescreen in your living room.
De-clutter to spend more time with those who deserve rather than giving it to menial activities that drain your soul and don’t improve your life in any tangible way.
Spend Your Money On Experiences & Memories Instead
This is the big one.
With all that extra money you save up from abstaining from belligerent consumerism, you have the opportunity to actually save it or spend it on something meaningful.
Money is there to be spent, of course, and what better way to do so than on life experiences that last forever?
Countless studies have demonstrated that people who are happiest invest their money in creating memories with friends and loved ones with things such as travel, social activities and other interactive experiences.
They’ve already laid a blueprint out for you. Why not follow their lead?
That skydive you always wanted to do? Go ahead and throw yourself out of the plane. Drop all of your old CD collection you never listen to out of it with you.
It won’t be missed, but the memory will if you don’t create it.
Now Do This:
Ready to become a minimalist? First, do this.
Anything that can be made digital, organise it and buy a hard-drive and save it to it. You can immediately put a tonne of an online storage device such as Cloud or Dropbox as well.
Then spend some time going through all your paperwork one day on a weekend and make sure it’s all digitally available such as billing, banking, etc.
On the second day, organise a car-boot sale with everything you don’t use anymore. Just get rid of it, or put it on eBay and aim to sell it within a week.
Cash in on the stuff you never use anymore and commit to staying flexible going forward. Trust me, you’ll feel liberated.
Anything you still may need in the future or is sentimental, of course, keep. But you have to take a very strong approach to this task and not do it half-hearted. Be merciless with your old crap!
Now start enjoying your minimalistic lifestyle and focusing on the things that truly matter and give you real happiness: relationships, creativity, social activities, and travel.