Minimalist living is the act of consciously eliminating or limiting the non-essentials in your life to make room for the important things you love and enjoy. That can include stuff, relationships, and activities.
Please allow me to state the obvious. Minimalist Living can be thought of as a first-world solution looking for a problem. On the other hand, some people have a problem satisfying their needs because of limited resources due to circumstances in and out of their control. But that is not what I am referring to today.
We will be utilizing the Minimalist Living idea to possibly open your mind and rethink how you go about your life satisfying your needs.
The first step is to find out what your true needs are and decide how you currently satisfy them and start from there. This can be life-changing as this could be one of the rare times you disconnect from a life on autopilot and look at better addressing your true needs.
This will lead you to rethink better ways to identify and satisfy your needs. Spending time working deliberately will flip a switch in your subconscious as you begin to transform. Really! You will begin to transform.
You will begin feeling a burden lifted as you realize you can actually be content with the bare essentials. The stress will drain from your shoulders as you succumb to now obvious realization.
The thought of uncluttered physical spaces and calendars dance in your mind, you begin to look forward to the enjoyable process of filling that space with stuff and activities you actually enjoy.
When you begin focusing on doing the things you actually enjoy rather than succumbing to social pressures and norms you realize many of the things you once believed were necessities are not.
Spending your precious time doing things you love rather than squandering that time working to acquire unnecessary stuff has a way of empowering you to enjoy what you already own even more.
Is There A Better Way
Culturally many people believe the more convenient things are the better, convenience is king. We make excuses to acquire unnecessary stuff because we believe it makes life more convenient.
Then we begin to fool ourselves that these unnecessary things are necessary when they usually are not. They mostly just want to be powered by the constant barrage of consumerist media. It’s OK to want things just beware not to fool yourself into believing you need them.
Many of us believe we need that cup of coffee in the morning. I know! I know! LOL. Trust needs you really don’t need it. You can survive without it. A few days without it you will not even miss it but you don’t have to give it up. Enjoy life!
It’s Ok to crave coffee in the morning, as I do. It’s even OK to buy it every day. It can easily become a problem to fool yourself into believing you need it. When you believe you need something you can fall victim to clever advertising and marketing or persuasion.
In this tainted state, you can be convinced paying $10 for a cup of coffee instead of sub $1 you should be paying is worth it. This in itself is not a tragedy but it can be if it happens multiple times a day. in many different instances.
That behavior can result in thousands of dollars being wasted over time with no corresponding benefit. Just think of the money and time being spent on so-called societal norms that do not add value to your life or do little or nothing to satisfy your needs. Here are a few of mine.
- They just become a force of habit. Pay money to eat at a certain time without even being hungry.
- You spend money when you go to certain places because you believe you are supposed to.
- Joined that program because so and so is a member.
- You stand in line for the new iPhone just because . . . why?
But does any of that satisfy your needs? Possibly but only you can answer that question.
Rethinking Your Needs
In many places in the world (Like The United States) once you wake up you are bombarded with messaging stressing you need to buy stuff and why we are missing out if you do not buy. It has become an increasing constant presence almost everywhere you look.
The powers that be would advertise on the back of your eyelids if they could. LOL.
This insidious process is a deadly two edge sword, leading with advertisements that hammer mass consumption into our brains on one edge and finishing with financial products that allow us to buy stuff with little more than a mouse click or a wave of the hand at check out on the other edge.
That one, two combinations is slowly stealing our happiness while promising us convenience and instant gratification. Are we often celibate the convenience as a win instead of asking if we should be purchasing stuff we do not really need in the first place?
The healthy division between wants and needs has blurred to almost non-existence. We have begun to believe we need our wants. It’s so easy to purchase our wants and worry about the impact later. What can be wrong with that? instant gratification! Right?
You may believe this is normal, everyone is doing it and they seem OK. Actually deep down inside you look at the people you know and get the feeling they are not OK. You ask yourself “How could they be OK?”. I’m not.
If you are acknowledging you may not be OK with this destructive consumerism cycle, try rethinking ways to satisfy your needs. They may not be an actual need and not deserving of all of this attention. Begin by asking yourself if some of these things below are wants or needs. Be brutally honest.
- All those cable channels.
- Daily expensive coffee.
- High car payments.
- Frequently eating lunch and dinner out.
- Lots of clothes.
- Big house.
- Storage units.
- Regular shopping sprees.
And so on. . . You get the picture. Are these wants or needs? Can some be eliminated or curtail? Are there other things that can be done in their place to better satisfy your needs? Those are just a few that plague me. What are those that plague you? Please tell me about them in the comments below.
Satisfy your needs, Not Your Wants
Well, let’s explore ways to better satisfy your needs. We all need water, food, shelter, and clothing but our ancestors seem to be happy with not much more than that. God bless them because we have it so much better today. Right? LOL.
With that said most of the things we consider necessities are just conveniences and want we pay a premium for in more ways than one.
The sobering fact is true necessities never change and are constant through all walks of life. Anyone living on a tight budget can attest to that. I often hear people speaking fondly of times when they did not have much and lived on a tight budget. They were often happier.
Life is more pleasant the more simple it is. Give it a try. Spend some time living to just satisfy your needs. When you shop for things try shopping for the most simple.
Create simple meal plans. Essentially eat the same meals every day and the stress of figuring out what to eat every day is eliminated.
If you decide you actually need a car shop for the most basic and simple. It will satisfy your needs, cost less to maintain, and cost less to purchase.
Limit how much clothing you purchase. Purchase the more simple but higher quality. Most of us do not need to be the most fashionable to satisfy our needs. Less stress and pressure will result.
Create a simple wardrobe with interchangeable pieces. Figuring out what to wear and getting dressed in the morning becomes a breeze.
Avoid feeling pressured to buy the latest and greatest $1000 cell phone. The best phone to own is the one you already have. Walk by the long lines at the Apple Store and keep the phone that is currently satisfying your needs.
Save that money to create a few great memories with good friends and family. You will be reliving those memories long after that latest and greatest iPhone is tossed in a landfill.
Much Minimalist uses a similar simple test to decide if they will purchase an item or not. Never impulse buy and put off purchasing anything over $100 for at least a week. (select a dollar amount that is comfortable for you).
Depending on the cost of the item try waiting 30 days. If you still believe you would like to purchase the item you should do so to satisfy your needs.
If you can not wait to acquire an item, product or service ask yourself why. Your answer will immediately make it very clear as to whether it is a want or need.
Don’t get it twisted. Wanting things is just fine. Wanting things fuels dreams and can add quality to your life. The number one point I would like for you to leave with is to be brutally honest when acknowledging the difference between your wants and needs.
Please leave some of your results in the comments below as you rethink ways to satisfy your needs.