“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” – Pythagoras
Because of the nature of this website and our personal story, I have the opportunity to read scores of e-mails from people who have decided to choose minimalism as a lifestyle. Usually, I tell them the same thing, “Good for you. Enjoy the journey. You’ll never regret following through with your decision.”
And make no mistake about it, minimalism is a decision. It is a choice to live counter-cultural. We have been told since birth to consume and collect. Deciding to become a minimalist rejects those messages and intentionally chooses less instead.
While life is full of decisions, some of them are bigger than others. Some of life’s decisions can be made without much forethought. But other decisions should be made only after all of the consequences have been considered. Becoming minimalist is one of those decisions – it is not a decision to be entered into lightly. While on the surface, minimalism seems like just throwing away a bunch of clutter. It is, in fact, a journey that will ultimately end in your heart, mind, and soul.
Because of that, it would be wise to think through the impact that minimalism will have on your life before choosing it. Consider how this one decision will affect your entire world:
It will rock your emotions. As you begin to purge your possessions, you will begin to wrestle with the “why’s” of your belongings. “Why do I have a basement full of stuff I never use?” “Why have I held on to old t-shirts or jerseys from high school?” “Why have I never thrown away these mementos from a past romance?” or “Why exactly is it so difficult for me to part with these items?” The truth of the matter is that you have known all along the location of your garbage can, recycling bin, or local goodwill. You have kept all that stuff for a reason… and discovering that reason is going to be an emotional process.
It will rock your values. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things you most value and the removal of anything that distracts you from it. In order to remove nonessential items from your life, you will need to identify the essentials. You will be forced to identify and prioritize your essential values… maybe even write them down. As a result, you may come to the difficult realization that you have spent much of your life pursuing things that aren’t really all that valuable.
It will rock your view of society. Our world invents, produces, promotes, and purchases material possessions at an alarming rate. Our world loves stuff. It’s how they find security, impress their neighbors, and prove their worth. Becoming minimalist not only changes your view of possessions, it changes your view of society, culture, and its messages. And while your mindset has changed, society has not. So be prepared, culture begins to look much different when you are on the outside looking in.
It will rock your lifestyle. There are countless practical benefits of minimalism. You will have more time, more freedom, more money, and less stress. Subsequently, your lifestyle will begin to change. You may choose to get out of debt, work less, travel more, or start blogging (at least, that’s what I did). No matter what you decide to do, minimalism is going to change your lifestyle.
It will rock your relationships. Once you have made the decision to become minimalist, you will find minimalism to be a topic of conversation that surfaces regularly. People will be intrigued with your new lifestyle and they will ask you about your progress. You will enjoy speaking about the positive impact that the decision has made on your life. And they will soon desire the freedom that you are enjoying.
It will rock areas of your life that you never dreamt possible. The principles of minimalism will eventually creep into other areas of your life. You will soon begin removing nonessential items elsewhere in your life. Eventually, you will simplify your time commitments, your goals, your screen time, and maybe even your diet. A simplified lifestyle naturally flows out of a minimalist lifestyle.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that should not be entered into lightly. But don’t get me wrong, minimalism is a lifestyle that should be entered.
Just consider how this one decision will affect your entire life:
- You will recognize emotions that are keeping you from living life.
- You will live life for things that are valuable and lasting.
- You will recognize the false truths championed by society.
- You will experience a lifestyle you never thought possible.
- You will inspire and encourage others to live in freedom.
- You will ultimately simplify almost every area of your life.
On the surface, minimalism seems like just throwing away a bunch of clutter. But it is, in fact, a journey that will end in your heart, mind, and soul. And that’s why you’ll never regret it.