How to be a minimalist? What are the rules of minimalism?
These kinds of questions are very popular recently when we see many influencers and KOLs promote this kind of lifestyle.
However, do we actually understand the right meaning of being a minimalist?
I don’t say that I’m an expert in this field, but after conducting a lot of research (as I am also inspired by many celebs about this lifestyle). I think that I can figure out the meaning of this lifestyle by this short sentence for myself (and you too if you read it and think it right for you).
Live LESS and Live SMARTER are totally different.
In recent year, the trend to be a minimalist are becoming more and more popular, especially in Gen Y and Z. As I and many of my friends also doing this trend, we totally love the positive and advantageous of this lifestyle bring to us.
It makes me feel more comfortable and satisfied with my life when I can control my input more carefully to bring a better outcome.
But yesterday, when I just browse websites to find something interesting for learning, I find the way how a very famous website defines what is minimalist means.
“A person who favors a moderate approach to the achievement of a set of goals or who holds minimal expectations for the success of a program” — Dictionary.com
Because this definition is too vague and doesn’t really reflect what is the real meaning of minimalist.
So, I decided to write this article to share with people a deeper and better understanding of what it really means for being a minimalist from the perspective of a person who is following minimalism.
Basically, the concept of being a minimalist is using “less”, which is true but not totally right. And the right point of view should be
Living smarter with less unimportant things.
No.1 rule to be a minimalist: Collects moments, not things
This is a big misunderstanding that many people have about minimalists. They think that the minimalist people are people “who are very stingy, who don’t consume things, focus on saving, and try to use less of everything”,…
These are some of the popular misunderstandings about minimalists that people usually have and I heard a lot of them in life.
But the reality is
NO! We don’t!
A person who has a minimalist life means that he/she will spend less money to focus on material things, the things that don’t really necessary for them.
Instead, they spend the time, money, and energy on the things that more important — it is to create valuable moments with people who they love.
As a simple example, I am also a minimalist person who believes that if I want to go jogging, I just need a good pair of shoes. And just only one. I don’t need to have two or three pairs of shoes at the same time just for one purpose.
So a minimalist is more focused on the function of things before deciding to do or buying it rather than trying to own as much as they can.
But what I really care about is the moments with my friends, my family, the people who I beloved with. It means I can spend more money to have a trip with them or having a fine-dining to create special moments for special occasions with my family members without concern about spending money.
Doing these mentioned activities normally cost me more than buying several pairs of shoes or a luxury bag. But in advance, it is valuable for me because it brings the special moments that I can remember and keep in my heart about the moments I spent with people who I love.
So being a minimalist doesn’t mean that I or you need to spend less money, or living a harder life. It all about the way how we use our resources.
It is more about changing the mindset about the way we approach things, instead of focusing on material things, minimalists will focus on improving the quality of life with less material things and add more life experiences while collecting the precious moments with the people they love.
The reality is that minimalist people want to spend more money, more resources on the moments. They want to spend the weekend meeting family members, having a picnic with friends, or just go for walk in the park with their lover. These things can be free, but some can cost more money for the trip compared to buying a luxury bag or material things.
But what really makes sense here is the memory that the minimalist people have with their beloved friends, family members.
So even we spend more money — not less as many people think, but we use it for creating more beautiful moments together, not for material things.
No.2 rule to be a minimalist: Be assertive with your choices
This is a special character that a real minimalist needs to own. It helps you to say NO to the temptation from things that don’t really add value to your life.
And one of the most important things is to learn “how to say NO with your friends.”
Because there are many decisions in our life be impacted by our friends, from the decision to buy new clothes, change the new phone, or adding more stuff in your life to make you feel busy and being luxurious.
For me, I remember before I become a minimalist, I love to spend time with my friends (that’s totally good, and I still recommend spending more time with people who you love to create more great moments together).
But we normally add time for shopping after having coffee catch-up together, and from the intention of just meeting for fun, I turned to spend a few hundred dollars to buy the pieces of stuff that I have no plan to buy before.
And this is when I am unconscious to add more material things to my life and waste a lot of money on things I don’t really need.
But when I become a minimalist, who are assertive with my choice and decide to just consume the things that really make my life be better. I say NO to all unnecessary shopping time with my friends.
I still join in the coffee time with them, hang out with them to create great moments together. But I will not go shopping or buy the things they recommend for me if I don’t really need it or I already have something similar at home.
By being assertive with your choice, you will be a smarter consumer who can control your spending in a conscious way.
No.3 rule to be a minimalist: You need to ease with your present time
Before being a minimalist, I always try to fill up my schedule from early morning until late at night. Because I believe that if you want to be a successful person, you need to work hard every single day without wasting your time.
But when I approach the right concept of minimalism, it teaches me that we can “make less to live more”.
So instead of trying to fill up my schedule all day, every single day, and feel disappointed about myself when I can’t complete all of them in a day. Now, in my schedule, I always put a couple of free hours without any plan as a way to ease my present and reduce the pressure for myself.
And in this free time, instead of thinking that I waste my time, I reframe my mindset to be spending this free time to recharge myself and reflex on what I did well and what I can improve.
As a result, it is awesome for me. It makes me be more focused on the things that really important for me instead of working on everything. And I also have more time for myself to improve my health and come up with new ideas for business and writing.
Let spending time for yourself, and focus on the really important things instead of everything. This is how you ease your present time as a real minimalist.
No.4 rule to be a minimalist: Pick your favorite first
At the beginning of my journey to become a minimalist, I faced very big trouble is
I don’t know what I should remove in my life to become a minimalist.
Because basically, the concept of minimalist somehow is about the way how you reduce the things in your life to live a simple but fulfilling life.
But from a list of hundred things that you have already so familiar with and present in your life for a long time, and now, you need to try to choose what to reduce is not an easy game.
It took me a month to choose the things that I can remove from my “necessary list” but then at the end I still feel my choice is not the right one, and still so confused if I choose to remove these things are good or not.
Luckily, when I shared my concern with one of my friends who is also a minimalist for nearly 10 years, he gave me great advice that opened my mind completely.
He said, “Instead of trying to remove things from your list, while you don’t try to choose the most important and favorite things firstly to add in your list?”.
Yes, That’s right!
Why I didn’t think about it before??? I mean.
When I change to approach in this way, just in 30 minutes, I already can figure out what are the most important things for me that I absolutely need in my life.
Then, I can reduce nearly 60% of the things I used to have in my previous list that I believed I must have in my life.
So actually, being a minimalist actually comes from your mindset, the way you approach the things and problems in your life rather than from anything else.
When you have the right mindset about living a better life with fewer unnecessary and material things. This is the time when you start to be a real minimalist.
Living smarter with less unimportant and material things is what a real minimalist does!
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