What being a minimalist means to me
Every minimalist practitioner has his own definition for minimalism, but the main principle can be summed up in four words: less excess, more essentials.
Some people have the wrong impression that living simply leads to mediocrity, which could also be true for others. However, for me, living a simple life should be done to pursue a more meaningful and significant one that also involves other people and not only myself. It means eliminating the unnecessary things in life so you could focus on the necessary. When I say “things,” it includes beliefs, relationships, possessions, and activities.
I use minimalism as a tool to maximize the time, talents, and treasures that I have in fulfilling my purpose and affect lasting impact to everyone around me.A focused life is like a powerful laser. It is proactive, intentional, and founded strongly on personal principles and values. It stirs change, not only to the self but also tolives that come in contact with it.
Minimalism can help a person discover his values. For example, I believe one of my life purposes is to love my wife and raise my children. Having a a mistress will not fulfill that specific purpose, so I do not entertain even the mere thought of it. When it comes to activities, I have set my own schedule based on my life purpose, and so I say “no” to anything that is not in line with it. If it is not aligned to my calling, the answer is a straightforward “no”, which means my “yes” becomesextremely valuable.
How I got into minimalism
There was a time when I was a “yes” man. I spread myself too thin just to do the whim of others, until I realizedthat I was sacrificing my own happiness just to please other people. There was too much stuff in my life. Too many commitments, too many responsibilities and things to do.
Living in a multi-tasking environment resulted inanexistence of mediocrity that damaged my self-esteem.To ease the pressure and cope up with my draining sense of worth, I turned to shopping, television, and food for comfort. I got a temporary high whenever I bought a new shirt,new pair ofshoes, new watch, new jacket, new anything. They made mefeel that my life amounted to something, and that I was a better person. Even when I didn’t have enough money, I would find a way to get something new to fulfill my desire for meaning.
However, it didn’t work.
My wife and I would sit in front of the TV from the time I got home ‘till half past midnight, with chips, bottomless soda, and other greasy snacks. It was a nightly event, which resulted in my blood sugar going up and me becoming 40 pounds overweight.Because of that, I couldn’t wear most of my clothes, which filled three whole closets. These are the same clothes that I bought in an attempt to get me out of my miserable situation. We were wasting money on things we didn’t need, and ironically, things we couldn’t use.
And then I realized that something had to change.I needed to simplify my life and give it direction. I didn’t want to die and take my fullest potential with me to the grave.
How I practice minimalism in my daily life
Being a minimalist requires a lot of changes both in attitude and behavior. The most important thing to remember when trying to influence change, especially to oneself, is to do it gradually. For example, after eliminating all my unhealthy habits, such as smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthy food, I planned to replace it with running and working out. During the first two weeks, I jogged daily for ten minutes only before gradually increasing the duration and pace as time went on.
Being a minimalist is most noticeable when it comes to how I deal with material possessions. It may sound crazy, but now I hate accumulating stuff. I have a 25-item wardrobe,my personal possessions are less amount to just 100, and my physical books are now down to 23 from hundreds.One advantage of being a minimalist is everything you own is your favorite. If it doesn’t give joy and meaning, if it is not useful and beautiful in my eyes, then I discard it.
Tips on how to practice minimalism
Find your own path in the vast minimalism spectrum. Minimalism has many different levels, ranging from mild to extreme. It is a journey, and as you begin simplifying your life you will discover your own essentials. You just have to begin.
Apply minimalist principles gradually. Begin slowly and don’t hurry. By starting slowly, you will be able to sustain the lifestyle that you are trying to create.
Do less to do better. Multitasking is the number one enemy of quality. If you want to become more productive or to produce excellent work, then you have to pare down your activities, prioritize, and do things one at a time.
Live in the moment. Much of the stress, anxiety, worries, and frustrations of people happen because they dwell too much on the past and worry too much about the future. Let go of emotional clutter by focusing on what you only truly have: now.
Live with contentment. Be content with what you have, but never be satisfied by what you can become. Contentment should only be tied up with our material possessions, and not with our character. Living a minimalist life focuses on developing character and not on accumulating stuff.
For more tips and lessons on how to pursue the minimalist way of life, please visit and connect with me via my website, www.raymundtamayo.com