Minimalism aka Voluntary Simplicity is an interesting phenomenon. It means we consciously and diligently focus on the critical elements of our life – these would vary from individual to individual. However the broad areas could be family, work, team, social interactions, and one’s passion and knowledge enhancement. What is of paramount importance is to ELIMINATE the unnecessary clutter surrounding us. This brings in clarity of purpose in the beginning of the day and a sense of achievement when the day ends. It’s a focused attempt to live more intentional and targeted life, thereby pushing its quality notches higher.
How does the paradox of having less while doing more work? Simply by “making do with less”. It means saying “No” to superfluous stuff in your life and granting that extra space to the critical elements which hold more importance.
Minimalism doesn’t mean there is anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. All of us do require a certain degree of consumerism to maintain the quality of life. However the complexity occurs when people assign more value to things than to people. Our happiness should not be linked to the number of things we own. Thus, minimalism is a technique of prioritizing which enables us to zero in on the most important aspects of life.
As rightly said by Mr. Ken Blanchard- “It is my observation that too many of us are spending money we haven’t earned to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.”
Minimalism is not a recently introduced concept; it has actually been around for centuries- various saints and gurus such as Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ have propagated minimalism and its benefits. The spiritual value of living a simple life can be found in most religions, their teachings as well as the Sramana traditions of Iron Age India.
In 1936, a writer named Richard Gregg published an essay titled “The Value of Voluntary Simplicity,” thus coining the term for the first time. Over time the concept evolved into a movement, though it has remained a fringe lifestyle.
So how can Minimalism help us? It makes us more appreciative of people in our lives; value experiences more, and gives us freedom to pursue our passion. It can also help us be more proactive to situations instead of reactive.
In the professional scenario, minimalism helps achieve a higher emotional quotient by increasing self awareness. Balancing EQ and IQ facilitates in dealing with professional and personal relationships.
However, simple living isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a high level of self awareness and mindfulness of what truly matters to us. Being an absorbing concept, like all good things, minimalism should also be done in moderation. Since it’s a subjective concept, it looks different to different people therefore it is a decision of discretion.
“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”- Socrates