What does it mean to be a minimalist? Truthfully, there's no one accepted definition of the word. Whether you think it's people who own less than fifty things, don't have a cell phone or live in a one-room apartment, all of them are valid.
Some of you may be embracing a minimalist lifestyle right now and not even know because you never thought to define what being a minimalist means to you.
Despite there being no single overarching definition, there are defined benefits that come from being a minimalist. One of those benefits is that it allows you to chase your dreams a little further and accomplish much of what once seemed impossible.
I remember the first time I considered myself a minimalist; I moved up to Silicon Valley for a new job with a car full of stuff. I had eight pairs of shoes, 20 shirts, a basketball and numerous other things I would never end up using.
I never fully unpacked, and by the time I left my job six months later, most of everything I originally brought was still in my car.
While employed, I alternated between 20 different articles of clothing including socks and shoes, had a strict diet, a laptop, cell phone and basic toiletries. That was it, and for me, that was my minimalism.
Every time I drove my car with a trunk and backseat full of never-used things, I realized I didn't need a lot to be happy. I guess it took moving to another city to figure that out, but it was one of the best lessons I ever learned.
I discovered that by owning less, I lived a richer life, one which gave me more freedom to accomplish things I always wanted to do.
To better understand the effects of being a minimalist, imagine a scenario in which everything you own is taken away to never come back. What do you have left? You.
The reason this thought frightens so many people is that our personal insecurities lead us to buy things we can add to our self-definitions, whether or not we actually use them.
For instance, a jerk who owns an expensive car, house and clothes uses these things to compensate for his lack of personality.
If you remove his possessions, the jerk would be forced to address his unkind personality because he's no longer compensating for it in other ways. And, this is what we do all of the time.
We purchase things we don't need to compensate for what we think we are missing — and it's self-destructive.
By becoming a minimalist, you regain what all of us should hold incredibly dear: time and a better understanding of ourselves.
As a result, being a minimalist allows us to pursue our passions, focus on our health, grow as individuals, discover the purpose in our lives and experience freedom. It doesn't get any better.
When I tell people all they need in order to have an amazing life is good music, friends, health and confidence, they agree with me.
But, when I tell them they don't need to own certain things because it wastes their time and acts as a roadblock for pursuing their passions, they can't stand it.
Though both of those suggestions have many parallels, it's hard for many people to understand. We have become so attached to what we own that most of us are hoarders and don't even realize it. We know what we need to live a beautiful life, but we just need to take the actions to do so.
Part one begins with discovering yourself by removing the things you're using to overcompensate for what you're missing. When I began to face my identity by removing unnecessary things I owned, I realized many areas I wanted to improve.
Then, I took it upon myself to become a better person by conquering my areas of lacking. I began to love myself more for who I was than what I owned, and that is priceless. Though this is not easy for many people, it's important that we at least try.
During our 20s, the media negatively influences us constantly, regarding how we should treat our lives. Social media and TV tend to promote the idea that owning more expensive things will make us happier, and our goal in life should be to be as rich and famous as possible.
Many famous people, however, will tell you that that this far from the truth. How do you think bands are able to travel around the country for gigs to promote their work?
They have to sacrifice a lot, which often means living in an RV for months on end. But, if you're living your dream, sacrifices are easy to make.
Whether it's CEOs or a famous celebrity, living in a minimalistic way, whatever that means to you, is very important.
Let's get back to you, however. Take, for example, if your dream calls for you to move from a little known town in the Midwest, or wherever you might live, to New York City.
In the big city, it's much easier as a minimalist. When you have less to bring — less literal baggage—, it's easier to have a clearer understanding of your goals and a stronger ability to adjust to life's surprises.
You don't have to accept my minimalist lifestyle to start accomplishing more of your goals. But, I do encourage you to take a deep look at your life and question why you own what you do.
Our 20s are a time to go on adventures, explore, chase our dreams and seek out amazing experiences. We don't need anything to hold us back.
We have the amazing opportunity to make our lives incredible, and sometimes, it takes looking at what we can get rid of, not what we can add, to focus.
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