Triumph of the Invisible over the Visible

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The most valuable things in life can not be seen with the naked eye: love, friendship, hope, integrity, trust, compassion. These are the things that bring substance, fulfillment, and lasting joy to our lives.

And things like music, scents, silence, and memories add richness to our lives everyday.

But too often, we spend our time and energy chasing things that are visible – beautiful homes, fast cars, larger paychecks, or more fashionable clothing. We dream of a future that includes those things. We plot and plan to acquire them. We go to great lengths to care for them and we become jealous when others have more of them. Yet, those things have never fully satisfied our soul or brought us the fulfillment that they promised.

Instead,

  • Their appeal always dims.
  • Their value always decreases.
  • Their appearance always fades.
  • And their satisfaction diminishes every day.

It is time to shift our focus. It is time to allow the invisible to triumph over the visible in our eyes, minds, and hearts. To embrace the invisible over the visible,

  1. Decide to pursue the invisible. Most changes in life are preceded by a simple decision. Decide today to assign more value to the invisible things of life.
  2. Offer the invisble room in your heart and mind. Our actions are almost always determined by our heart’s desires and our mind’s thoughts. Give room in your heart for the invisible. Find time each day to intentionally think about such things – especially at the beginning of each day.
  3. Bring the invisible into better focus. Unfortunately, the old cliche is often true, “Out of sight, out of mind.” So turn it around and use it to your advantage. What comes into your mind when you think about joy, hope, relationships, or significance? Post that photo or quote somewhere that you can see it to remind you of its value. This will help keep the invisible visible in your mind.
  4. Be wise to culture’s influence. Most of the Western world is built on humanity’s desire to acquire more and more things. It makes economies grow, governments flourish, and brings appeasement to the masses. Therefore, it is encouraged at every turn. Become wise to their desires and learn to recognize their false promises.
  5. Pursue it at all costs. If the most valuable things in life are invisible, pursue them above everything else. Even if no one else is.

The best things in life really are free… and invisible.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    That is a great way to put things in perspective. It is usually the intangibles that become indispensable as we move, learn, and grow. When I lie awake at night, I rarely think about my car (which I no longer have), my 1,200sf loft (which i traded in), or the clothes hanging in my closet.

    More often than not, as in always, I think of my family, my friends, the things I love, the things I want to achieve, and the things that can’t be measured, marked, or catalogued.

    Those are the things I choose to focus one, and am becoming the better person for it.
    It’s great to see so many people recognizing the power of the invisible, and you capture it well here, as usual

  2. says

    Joshua,

    I like your new minimalist theme and look for the site and congratulations on your new ebook out!

    I like this post’s message about invisible as we often focus on wrong things in our life and start to focus on what matters the most, which is family, friends and personal improvement for me. Thanks for sharing.

  3. says

    Hey Joshua, good message that bears repeating. From school and work, I’m familiar with marketing (non-profit) and we all see literally 1,000′s of messages a day with the intention of raising awareness about something or getting us to act in desired manner. Unfortunately, the majority of those messages are all about the visible stuff. This discrepancy between message promoting the visible vs invisible wouldn’t matter so much if it didn’t happen EVERYDAY. I think it’s important that we get messages like you are talking about out into more common day life to make change on a wide-scale.

    But like you said, it’s important to pursue the invisible even if nobody else is. I think the good thing is that for 99% of the people reading your blog and similar ones, we are aware that the invisible is what’s really important. The much harder part is taking action and following the path after the initial state of awareness.

  4. says

    The interesting part is, once you realize how little value “stuff” adds to your life, it becomes almost painful to have around. I grew up thinking that I would always have a car payment, and now, a week after paying off a 5 year car loan in 2 years, my husband and I have agreed that we will never take another car loan.

    Since we have sold and given away most everything that cluttered our home, we can’t imagine filling it back up. In fact, it makes us want to give away more. We are constantly surprised by the rewards of our new and improved stuff-less life. We pick up the mail without dreading the bills that used to arrive all the time. We have the time and space to kinder to be kinder to each other and to really appreciate all of the invisibles.

    • Shannon says

      I feel the exact way you do, Courtney… about “stuff” becoming painful to have around. My husband and I live a simple, green life with limited “stuff.” Our struggle is the playroom. With two kids under two, we’ve acquired so many toys (almost all have been gifts). We finally had to tell everyone to STOP buying toys for the children. We’ve purged a bunch, but there’s still so many. And it literally hurts to clean up all those toys and realize how many there are! We are definitely taking a different approach from now on. Very well said. Perhaps I’ll purge a few more toys today… :)

  5. says

    To a degree, yes. Many of the most precious things are free.

    But some important things in life require money too – health care, for example. And a warm home may sound indulgent, but we do need one.

    And I can’t imagine my life without the ability to create through pictures and writing. Not expensive, but it does require a little money. I could write in the dirt, but it wouldn’t last the next rain storm. ;)

  6. says

    Amazing how an adjustment in thinking begins to have impact. I am seeking more meaning from the invisible stuff, and growing frustrated with my ongoing battle to remove clutter…

    But this is progress! Actively seeking fulfillment from relationships and experiences is never anything I sought before. And it is glorious!

  7. Laura Smith says

    “Simplicity Parenting” by Kym John Payne is an incredible book; life changing! Dramatically paring down our children’s toys and then choosing to only keep a small handful out in the open has been a great decision. The bigger move was with the books; a similar process. Reverence for a few special things is now possible and greater intimacy with stories is so healthy for them during this stage of child development. We’ve increased the rhythms for our day and week, simplified the activities and are encouraged to keep media to an extreme minimum.

    I highly recommend the book – Enjoy!

  8. says

    This article is exactly what I needed to hear today! As I currently look for new employment, I sometimes think of the income as a means for things, mainly meaning bills. After reading this article I am also viewing new employment as a means to easily enjoy the invisible qualities of life. That truly is more valuable than anything else. As my minimalist journey continues I will remind myself of this. Thanks so much!

  9. says

    I carry on listening to the reports lecture about receiving free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i acquire some?

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  1. Being a Minimalist | August 9, 2010

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