Minimalism is the ability to live a meaningful and fulfilling life by reducing materialistic possessions in the pursuit of happiness. Living with less is something so far removed from the reality we live in today, especially taking into account the struggles of the 21st century where we are spoiled with options. As much as people choose to complain about the lack of options, the reality is we live in a free market economy where the sky is the limit at least until we innovate beyond the skyline. However, the idea of leading a minimalistic life has become more appealing as many find this lifestyle to be freeing and far more fulfilling in the long run.
In most cases our success in life is measured by the amount of things we own or the type of clothes we wear and as the years go by it has become evident that our self worth is attached to materialistic possessions. We fill the void in our life through things that don’t serve any functional purpose in the hopes to impress people we don’t even care for. In the modern era it is very easy to feel worthless due to the constant comparisons that happen on a daily basis through the power of social media. Nothing is ever enough when we constantly innovate and try to one up each other in every single aspect of life.
Money is only valuable when there is something to purchase with it and that is the reality behind our existence. We work to earn and we make our life our job in the hopes to earn more as that has become the benchmark of happiness. Of course wealth is invisible to others without purchases that can be flaunted around. This flat out goes against the practices of minimalism as those who choose such a life don’t believe in materialistic happiness. For many the idea of wealth only has meaning due to the purchases we make and it is sad to realize that we achieve fulfillment by living up to the standards set by the social culture.
Social Media Consumption
Luxury has never been more tempting than during the era of technological advancement. The high life is merely a few taps away on social media and obscene levels of glitz and glamour dangles before our eyes as we scroll through our phones. It is no wonder that more people thirst for this extravagant lifestyle and frown upon a minimalistic lifestyle even if that means giving up every aspect of life that truly matters. Looking at how rich or famous people live has become the poster image of happiness and success. Many strive to achieve that lifestyle as it seems desirable from the other side of the screen.
Money is obviously something extremely important and it is something that everyone should strive to attain but the issue is when the lines are blurred as to how far should an individual go in order to attain wealth and how much is enough? After hitting a milestone, we go for the next one and this cycle continues forever as we willingly choose to achieve more in the hopes to be able to live a more over the top lifestyle and compete with others in higher social circles. No car is fast enough and no house is big enough when there is always something better out in the world and maybe that something will bring happiness.
This sporadic hunt for happiness is what causes many to spiral into a pit of depression as we tend to lie to ourselves by setting an end goal but the reality is there is no end to it at all. Social media has made it clear that there is always going to be someone that is living a happier and more fulfilled lifestyle so it is time to imitate their possessions in the hopes to emulate that same level of happiness. For some, social acceptance may be the key to happiness and the way to achieve that is by keeping up to date and staying trendy by owning the latest things to be relatable with everyone else.
This need to live up to these social standards has engulfed society and has led people into this robotic lifestyle and has set us all on a wild goose chase. We are chasing the idea of fulfillment that has been set by others rather than taking a step back and truly evaluating the term for ourselves. The grind for wealth should be based around necessity rather than wanting to live in excess. Less is always more and so long as possessions hold a function, that is all that matters. Having a minimalistic approach will not effect ones happiness. There shouldn’t be added value due to the existence of the object in the hands of so called wealthier or happier people.
Simple = Better
Taking a forward approach has its appeal but some prefer to keep it classical or minimal and remain in simpler times. Those who choose to live a simpler life are often those who have the ability to have it all. Many people who are financially secure tend to lose the need for materialistic possessions as often times these needs are fueled by the exclusivity that surrounds them. Many people want what they can’t have and that is why many high end brands seem so appealing when in reality those desires are nonexistent for those who can afford it all.
Many things start to become mundane and other things are seen to be more valuable. Items that are classified beyond materialistic value hold more meaning and those values are tied to simpler times. Overcomplicating things have always been our forte as a species, we innovate beyond necessity and end up surrounded by useless creations that only deteriorate in value over time. Most things are only appealing to us due to the hype that surrounds it and the value that can be attained from the cool factor rather than the actual functionality of the object. Being minimal or thoughtful during purchases has always been a struggle in society.
Keeping up with trends can get stressful over time and sometimes completely being out of touch can have its own charm. Sitting back and choosing not to progress alongside innovations can often times lead to a happier lifestyle as gone are the pressures of staying up to date and using the latest phone. People who choose the simple life are unfortunately criticized for being complacent and lazy due them not having the passion to try and attain more in life. Unfortunately, that may not be the case for all as some people have settled at a certain point as more ‘things’ may mean less happiness in the long run.
Leading a minimalistic life that is void of quantity helps improve the overall quality of life by further accentuating mundane possessions. The things that surround us tend to be more meaningful as it plays a more prominent role in our day to day life. Owning less helps declutter the mind as less thought is put into purchasing things rather we are able to focus more on living without the dilemma of wanting more. Settling may not be such a bad thing after all as the pursuit for more may be a dream for many but the reality may end up being a mindless hell.
To achieve a state of minimalism one has to let go of the things that have already been accumulated over the years and the first step is always the hardest part of the journey. All the things may hold sentimental value due to the longevity of those items in a household but items that have minimal use will never truly hold value so it is important to identify the things that are being used and the things that just exist due to the memory of having been used at some point in time. Things that are kept because they may potentially be used are often times just items that we made up excuses for.
The act of letting go will not result in the feeling of emptiness rather it will spark a sense of liberation. This will enable the thought that we as humans are capable of being happy without the things that surround us and those purchases were merely a placebo effect that had no long lasting impact on our lives. Minimalists thrive on valuing their lives based on the experiences they gain rather than the purchases they make. Being minimal and not living in excess has always been the key to our survival as a species however the act of overdoing it has cost us a lot as a civilization.
The thirst to attain more has led to environmental disaster, waste and worse of all a monotonous lifestyle void of meaning beyond materialism. Minimalism is just a fancy term that depicts survival within our means. In a world of excess and comfort this term may be seen as foreign but the reality is that we are no longer surviving the same way we did it centuries ago, now its all about surviving in an ever growing marketspace. Letting go of this lifestyle is extremely scary as society has been built on a mentality that opposes minimalism but this bold choice may lead to a prosperous lifestyle outside of the public eye.
The ability to detach from materialistic possessions is merely the first step of minimalism as the individual must maintain a strong will to prevent from falling back on old habits. Resisting mindless purchases which may be a guilty pleasure for some isn’t necessarily the path to a minimalistic lifestyle as that mindset has to carry forward into other aspects of life. There has to be a mindful approach towards anything that is being done by reducing any form of amplified reaction, spending or lifestyle. All this is done to increase the overall quality of life by reducing falsified pursuits of a manufactured lifestyle.
A Minimalistic Future
The bustling lifestyle may be appealing to some but more people stray away from this overcomplicated version of living and are compelled to lead a more minimalistic lifestyle. A minimal lifestyle promises less problems and more happiness so how can anyone refuse it, yet people still do. Some seek self worth in an extravagant lifestyle and some view it as a life goal or a reason to live in general. An accumulation of wealth for the sake of materialism may be the purpose of life to some as it is a life choice that millions have chosen. A minimalistic future is scary as people will have to physically acknowledge life without the comfort of pointless objects that hold no value.
The pursuit of wanting less and living a more sustainable lifestyle holds a new world of benefits not only from a financial standpoint but also an environmental standpoint but this change will take time. More people have to warm up to the idea of minimalism in order for it to go mainstream as a change in lifestyle often times requires a paradigm shift where the media portrays a more appealing narrative for millennials. Minimalism contradicts social media too much at this point so it still isn’t seen as a potential life choice for many.
A minimalistic future is inevitable as there will come a point where we reach a bottle neck and there will be too much demand yet too little resources to meet such demands. We will have to walk away from living a life in excess at some point but until that day minimalism will remain a niche concept. In a free market it is hard to set a cap and walk away from such a bustling economy. We shall continue to thrive in this economy and live by the precedents that have been set by the modern world. A minimalistic future is still plausible if the narrative regarding this lifestyle slowly shifts to cater for the masses.
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