What is minimalism? You might have an idea, but we are also going to tell you what is not. And why you should start to think about it. There’re no radical beliefs and no intention to make you feel guilty. But maybe you will understand the real meaning of happiness.
Minimalism is another way of buying. Minimalism is not a movement that believes there’s something wrong with consumption. The problem is compulsory consumption, meaning buying stuff because that’s what you supposed to do.
Minimalism chooses a more straightforward route. Minimalism is not a radical lifestyle. The minimalists just believe quality over quantity.
It is as simple as asking the question for every object and product you purchase justifying to yourself (not to anyone else!), “does that add value to my life?”
The minimalist philosophy believes that the less stuff, clutter, stress, debt, discontent, and distractions, the more time, meaning, relationships, growth, contribution, and contentment.
When Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields, authors of the book “Minimalist – everything that remains,” they realised there was something wrong in their lives, asked themselves a simple question: “Is happiness around the corner when we live for stuff?”
Why do we choose consumption?
Since the six-figure income, a year has become an aspirational norm across the western society; we have decided to have bigger spaces, filling it with loads of stuff.
Advertising, of course, does a big job here. As well as social media, movies, tv shows, blogs… Any public space is an illusion of how our life would look like: the perfect life.
Brands are trying to tie the message if their products to the idea that suggests that your needs will be satisfied, that you will look beautiful in this product.
But then you put it one and… “Naaah! Too fat! But here’s another one you can buy”
Or like shampoo advertising, once you use it “people around will love you again”; or the cars: “Now I am a competent person.”
So the way to solve our problems is through consumption.
More material, more status?
Things that people need such as a home, study, or insurance are very costly. But electronics, fashion, and technology… All these materials coming from China, India and other underdeveloped countries; they are cheaper, and often are sold online, which all means “more stuff opportunity.” As well there’s a point of consolation of “I am very poor, and have all this stuff.”
What material does is to position us in a social status. The more stuff, the more status.
Mark Miller, PhD. Professor of Media, Culture NYU at The True Cost documentary
“The more the people are focused on those materialistic values, the more that they say that money, image, status, and possessions are important to them, the less happy they are. The more depressed and anxious they are”.
5,000 advertising messages we receive every single day from the moment we are born, which it’s all about “you should accumulate more things.” The children are a big target in the stuff industry. The advertising for children has existed for a long time, but what has changed is the amount of advertising. So to make it clear, in 1983 companies spent $100 million in marketing addressed to children. In 2006 companies spent $17 billion.
Most of the under 1-year-old children own a tablet or a digital device, so the companies have decided to go directly to the kids (instead of to the mothers). And the content is junk food, junk toys… With no positive or social benefit from it!
Buying creates addiction, and we are encouraged to maintain it. We spend money faster than we earn it.
Minimalism is a wake-up call for consumers to rethink why we buy and what for, to realise that the more we buy, the more miserable we are. That there’s an underlying of discontent, and the amount of stuff we accumulate is a reflection of this.
For example, when Apple launches the iPhone8, those who had the iPhone 7 and were incredibly happy with it, turns out to becomes a source of unsatisfaction.
Another example of this is that the average people use around only a 40% of their space. “We are living our life depending on the space we have got rather than creating our space to fit in our lives. Most of the families end-up with three dining tables just to fill in space” quote architect Minimalist?
Affordability, simplicity, sustainability is an option
But, instead, we decide to make a living based on loans, which means living on worries.
When something goes wrong, do we think of the stuff we have or don’t?
We think at the time we wish we had spent with the people we love.
Minimalism is somehow living a life with purpose and connecting more with people.
What helps to reduce consumption?
Meditation is a way of connecting with the present moment in a way that values it as good enough. Meditation is a technique of finding well-being in the current moment because you can be happy and satisfied just by being aware, of the sensation of breathing. Meditation has many benefits such as helping to focus and to calm.
Minimalism is not hippie poetry, is about showing the people that there’s a different way for us to live. Living genuinely without manipulation.
“Imagine a life of less. Imagine an intentional life. It’s not an easy life, but it is a simple one. Stuff is not the answer. Love people and use the things because the opposite never works.” Joshua Fields
Watch the Minimalism documentary here!
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