We let ourselves get tied to commitments that will take away time from the pursuits that will feed our creativity, relaxation, or deep work. We set intimidating goals like running a marathon or writing a novel that make us balk at the volume of work the activity will require; ultimately driving us to put off even the smallest baby steps toward the goal. What’s worse, we don’t constrain our leisure pursuits or appetites for entertainment & consumerism. Unbridled anytime and anywhere instant gratification leaves unsatisfied in the end.
I find I have to constantly explain the idea of Minimalism to everyone I discuss it with because their first idea is some Monk like existence, barren of joy or material belongings, wasting away alone in some empty white walled room. That’s the double entendre in the naming this philosophy, Minimalism. In reality, Minimalism should be equated with Essentialism. An essentialist philosophy that is reinforced by mindfulness. The two fuel the thoughtful consideration of everything we bring into our lives and how we allot our time and attention.
We decided to participate in Dry January and added on a Vegetarian (not Vegan) only diet for the start of the year. Another idea we discussed was also cutting out coffee, but two changes were more than enough. We did, however, try to cut the caffeine down to one cup a day and no sooner than 1.5 hours after waking up. But like I said earlier, crash changes are not sustainable or successful. So we planned some approaches around how to stick to and get the most out of these experiments.
It coincides that Stoicism is a great practice for developing such skills and Minimalism is a jump start towards being a Stoic. Minimalism removes distractions and focuses us on what matters. Especially, in how we manage our emotions towards people and things. Emotions on their own can be neither useful or useless, but they can be informative. Stoicism and Minimalism as a practice can help us move past the immediate reactions from a feeling and look at the deeper lesson within them. They act like car brakes, stopping us before we let our highs get too high or are lows too low.
Your physical surroundings are often a reflection of your mental landscape. An unfocused, noisy, and cluttered home can be physical representations of what is going on in your head. Even if functionally productive, under the hood, the mind may be in complete chaos and the immediate surroundings often reflect that.Over the years, I’ve worked on […]
Minimalism represents time and balance for me. The time to do and experience all the things I want. Along with finding the discipline to not let what other people define as import dominate my time. For me, that means cutting out the “noise” of life more than getting rid of things. It requires being ok with earning less, having less, but definitely experiencing more.
I got a chance to interview with Squat Wisely and discuss the topics of #Minimalism and how it relates to my blog post on Commuting in Atlanta without a car. Check it out if you’re interested. Starts around the 6:10 mark.
Physicist and Cosmologist, Sean Carroll. TED Talk where he discussed the concept of Entropy. I look at a lot of systems this way. Trying to work backwards to a low Entropy model from a high Entropy state. First, I should define entropy. Secondly, I should explain why I find this law so interesting, as it relates to culture, politics, and everyday living. Lastly, I will expound on how I try to control entropy in my own life.
Decision Fatigue is a real issue. As I get older I about how I can avoid this state of mental exhaustion. To that end, we’ve automated a lot of key repetitive tasks in our lives. From grocery delivery, to landscape maintenance, pest control, dry cleaning, house keeping, food delivery, pet sitter, and much more. The goal is not to be lazy and have the free time to lounge around, but instead to open up our creative and critical thinking capacity. Many would not think that most of the above activities would be a brain drain, but when measured against the total number of decisions someone is asked to make in a day, it can lead to decision fatigue. That state has a qualitative effect on the quality of your decisions as the day progresses. Moreover, I recently read an article about how we are constantly inundated with prompts from the smart devices around us which are really creating more and more decision points.