“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less” – Socrates
Minimalism is a philosophy of living simply. It’s a practice of purpose and intention. It’s a way of removing ourselves from distractions, on the inside and in our surroundings.
And ideally, minimalism can be a path to increased time, energy, and peace of mind. By eliminating what is unnecessary, we are freer to focus on the things that bring us health and joy.
There is a Swedish proverb that says, “Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours.”
In essence, that proverb summarizes exactly what minimalism teaches. We can find ways to be minimalist in everything we do, from our nutrition to our clothing to our state of mind – and the result is a more balanced existence.
It begins with meditating on all of the things, places, people, and feelings that occupy our thoughts and habitats. And rather than simply eliminating everything (leaving us with nothing) minimalism is really a way to maximize our enjoyment of what we do have.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Using the example of an office desk – a minimalist desk would never contain piles of paper and useless clutter. Likewise it would never be a blank item, with one computer, one book, and nothing else.
The balance is somewhere between – keeping the essential things that help us stay both productive and happy. So you might have the computer, and a living plant to water and connect you with nature, but maybe not the taxes from last year!
When it comes to clearing the landscape of the mind, as Lao Tzu philosophized, “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
When we clear our thoughts of unnecessary worry and doubt that takes up so much precious room, we have the energy to focus instead on the relationships, passions, and activities that bring us enjoyment, not stress.