I’ve been on my minimalism journey for about a year and a half, but the change that has come from it has already been very impactful to say the least. In a way, decluttering my home and life to focus on the essential has become more of a philosophy than an activity. It has become a way of living and thinking, a filter with which to view the world.
When I started out by playing minsgame with my wife Amy, I really had no sense of where decluttering our home and life was going to take us. In the last year, things have changed more than I could have possibly imagined.
After reducing Amazon purchases to only the essentials, I was able to meet my goal of traveling twelve times in 2015. I was able to visit friends and family in their home cities that I haven’t seen in quite a while. One of those trips was to Siguatepeque, Honduras where I volunteered my photography and video work alongside my friend Joshua to help launch his new nonprofit The Hope Effect. It is a trip that has given me a renewed sense of purpose and helped me further understand the true meaning of having enough.
In my video last week I discussed the idea of vision versus goals or plans. Essentially, vision is what one ideal day might look like to you — not a vacation day, but a productive, meaningful, relaxed, purposeful day. That isn’t to say that ‘checking out’ every once in awhile is a problem, but simply that an ideal day would be a productive one. Full of creating, giving, and fulfilling a meaningful purpose to you while earning a living doing what you do best.
The question that remains is, how do you find that vision? What is the path to vision? Are you already heading towards one? More importantly, is it truly your vision, or is it a product of the environment we live in? Perhaps the vision we’ve set for ourselves is simply the expectation created by a culture that runs on consumption and debt-ridden economic growth.
So, how does minimalism help us figure all this out? Well, life is full of distractions and minimalism as a philosophy helps remove many of those distractions. In fact, it helps us figure out what parts of our lives are distractions in the first place.
By slowly and intentionally removing the excess from our lives, the meaningful parts are illuminated. Opportunities emerge from beneath the credit card payments and overstuffed closets and garages. When we’re less busy organizing our belongings and running from one commitment to the next, our brains begin to wander.
It is in moments of nothingness that we reflect upon the meaningful parts of our lives. You know, those blissful moments between Facebook notifications.
Secondly, in order to start establishing that vision for our lives, we have to actually believe that a vision different from our current existence is possible. I recently finished reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg which overwhelmingly suggests that our ability to overcome bad habits relies heavily on actually believing that change is possible. With less clutter, minimalism helps uncover the foundation of momentum and good in our lives. All of a sudden, within the space that is created, the kind of change you want for you and your family becomes seemingly — possible.
Lastly, minimalism helps light the path to vision by eliminating the majority of consumerism from our lives. When we learn to accept that we’ve had enough, we can truly focus on where we want to go instead. When we buy a new car that has payments every month for five years, that purchase is providing us a framework for the next five years of our lives. In a way, we’re saying that it is our vision to own that car fully in five years, once it has lost over half of its value. We don’t have to question it as the path is set out for us already.
If you don’t define your vision, there are thousands of companies that would be happy to define it for you.
Minimalism, focusing on the essential, forces us to create our own structure for achieving vision in our lives, as opposed to having a convenient 60-month payment plan provided for us instead. It creates the flexibility and freedom in our lives to make that decision for ourselves. To really dig in and ask ourselves, “Hey, what’s important to me — really?”
It’s an odd thing that what has brought the most drive, energy, and passion into my life was realizing that I already had everything I needed. I may be working harder than I ever have before, but it sure feels different now. Once the clutter comes off the floor, a meaningful vision comes out of the woodwork.
Once we’re not chasing the latest and greatest, once we know that we are enough and we truly have enough, it becomes much easier to focus on the things that bring us fulfillment, value, and meaningful progress. This is how minimalism lights the path to vision.
Sounds pretty good, right? If you’d like some information on getting started with minimalism and decluttering, check out my post 10 tips to kickstart decluttering. You’ll find helpful guidance there — and for more updates in the future, subscribe to Break the Twitch posts.
Image from Minimography.com