I used to think minimalism was crazy.
When I thought about minimalists, I thought about someone who lived in a tin can of an apartment with bare walls and who made each and every one of his articles of clothing himself out of old shopping bags.
No thanks, I thought. I like air conditioning and Amazon too much for all that.
I've noticed something over the last few years, though.
Like the last time I upgraded my iPhone—do you know what happened? I was at Verizon Wireless. I set my "old" iPhone down on the counter, and the Verizon Wireless guy handed me my brand-new, shiny iPhone 8. I stared at this beautiful black box in my hand, and felt...nothing.
Here I was, spending all of this money for this new, better, upgraded thing, and I felt nothing. It did nothing for me.
And it wasn't just the iPhone. I've noticed this with almost every thing I've purchased or acquired over the last few years. At first, I might be excited about it, especially while I'm looking at things or waiting for Amazon to deliver them. But then, maybe it takes a week, maybe a day, in the case of the iPhone it took ten seconds—the shine wears off. I'd feel the same way I did before. And in many instances, I'd somehow feel more discontent.
And then I stumbled across this guy named Joshua Becker. He started talking about minimalism, and he started to make a lot of sense. Here's his definition of minimalism:
At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality.
That doesn't sound so crazy to me.
Actually, it sounds pretty brilliant. It's not about a contest to see how little stuff you can own. It's figuring out how to have less of what distracts us from what we value the most.
In America, we love the mantra "Bigger is better." We're always trying to get and to have more. But so often, when we think bigger, we're thinking about things and stuff. And when we think more, we're thinking about money, so we can get bigger things and more stuff.
If anything is crazy, it's our obsession with stuff. Everything around us is set up to make us unhappy with what we have, so that we want to buy more, and as soon as we've acquired it, we're unhappy and need to get more again.
I don't know about you, but I've been figuring out that more stuff usually doesn't lead me to more of what I actually value.
I've been realizing how much I value the people I love, how much I value making memories with them, how much I value creating, and how much I value having time for all of that.
Most of the things I've acquired over the years are not only not helping me move toward what I value; they're distracting me from what I value. Because of that, I've been slowly and intentionally reducing the amount of stuff I have, and slowing myself down from getting more stuff.
And I've never been happier.
Maybe minimalism isn't so crazy after all.