I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years.… and since you’ve asked, I’d have to say that Minimalism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!
Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Minimalism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”
I have considered myself a “minimalist” since 1999. Something about the all around scare-tactics etc., of what Y2K may cause, got me to thinking that I wanted to focus on making better and more meaningful choices in my life.
After a divorce in 2003, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with His best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.
Here is what I found:
I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.
I continually ask myself, whether I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.
I want to live a life by design, not default. I will do this effectively by learning to master my response to situations and be able to turn things around, as opposed to living like the bow tied on a kite string based on what is happening to me at any given moment.
I don’t want to have it all and I don’t need to do it all. It is imperative for me to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: “I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!”
I have learned that I do not need to be ‘plugged into’ all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather I have decided that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.
The best thing I’ve learned is when to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. I find it easier not to commit if I’m not certain that I can give 100%. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.
The effectual pursuit of simplicity (minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.