Note: This is a guest post from Eric Ungs of Unless You Care Project.
“Being a minimalist means that you value yourself more than material things.” —Brian Gardner
We often think of minimalism as shedding away our external possessions and living with only the essentials. Certainly, this is very much part of it.
But I am learning the journey is not just external, it is also internal. To experience true abundance from minimalism, it must start within.
Just as some people accumulate things to create a false identity or pursue a mythical state of happiness, eliminating yourself of possessions without coming from a place of inward truth is short-sighted. They are disconnected.
Living an abundant life derives from traveling a journey of intentional self growth. It’s functioning through your true self to live a simple life. It’s getting good at being simple. Self simplicity becomes the clarity in which you find meaning. It’s the removal of the unnecessary. It’s the discovery of what you value most.
Self simplicity is the intersection of self-care and minimalism.
As you begin to focus on your inner self, minimalism becomes the by-product. (tweet that)
Here are 5 simple ways to live an abundant life through self simplicity.
1. Simplify your wardrobe.
Two years ago, I adopted a minimal wardrobe. A solid colored t-shirt, jeans and a pair of Vans sums up my daily wardrobe year round. It’s the attire that I feel most like myself in. Because of this minimalist approach, I am able to eliminate unnecessary energy that gets put into what I wear. It spares me a few more minutes in the morning to sit at the table with my family for breakfast before we all head out the door. It results in one less source of stress and anxiety within my day.
2. Eliminate digital distractions.
As our mobile device is the bridge that connects us to the world, it’s also the very thing that pulls us from living in the moment. For the past couple years, I’ve removed all notifications on my phone. It no longer is a constant distraction that pulls me from the present moment.
One Saturday evening while my wife and son were gone, I had a sudden impulse to remove the TV from our main floor family room—the room where we spend most of our time. Since then, our family has become much closer and our focus is no longer fragmented. We play more, we have spontaneous dance parties, we listen to music and sing together, we grab our own books and read, and we have quiet time together.
I even began noticing glances at my watch would allow different levels of anxiety to creep in. My ego would spew off all the things I should be doing instead of what I was doing at that moment. So I no longer wear a watch. It’s eliminated a feeding source for my ego. And the anxiety that would creep in from wearing a watch has since subsided.
3. Focus on your art, not your job.
Most people dislike getting up in the morning because of the job they have. The unfortunate reality is we spend a third of our lives in the workplace. So why do we drudge through it working for the weekend?
Changing your mindset in how you approach your job opens up life’s abundance. It no longer becomes a balancing act of work and life, but becomes life itself.
Remove yourself from the cog-like behaviors and pour your unique abilities into all that you do. It makes getting up in the morning a lot easier. This shift in mindset has transformed how I work.
Previously, my daily goal was working towards a promotion, a more prestigious title, and a larger paycheck. That’s it. Since practicing self-care, office politics has become less attractive, the race up the corporate ladder no longer serves a purpose, and the prestigious titles are now just words.
Focus on the difference you can make by the work only you can do. New meaning will immediately arise.
4. Learn to say no to things.
I used to feel like I had to say yes to everything thinking that’s what the path to success looked like. Often times these commitments and obligations I agreed to caused unnecessary stress and friction within my relationships: family, friends, colleagues.
The ability to say no provides space in my life to focus on the things I value most. It’s not about being involved with everything, but rather involving myself with the right things.
5. Embrace the mundane.
It wasn’t until I committed to traveling a journey of intentional self growth that I discovered where life is really lived—in the mundane. Life is lived in those in-between moments we often hurry past. It’s in the car rides to daycare, standing in the grocery line with your son, reading to your kids before bed time, or clearing off the dinner table as a family.
It’s all the things that are part of our days that we tend to gloss over. But these are the simple memories that last a lifetime. These are the experiences that write our story and shape our lives. It’s those simple things that matter and become the things we appreciate most.
I didn’t set out to become a minimalist. It was born through self-care and committing to travel a journey of intentional self growth.
But through self simplicity, abundance was found.