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On Minimalism

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I reluctantly call myself a minimalist. I’d prefer to call myself an “enoughalist”.

This reluctance is because I think the label brings in a bunch of connotations that I don’t like.

Our apartment never looked like this. Source: Our apartment never looked like this. Source:

What is Minimalism? #

a removal or decluttering of one’s lifestyle in order to focus on that which is most essential

It is about reducing some things, like consumption, time at work, and possessions and increasing other things, like self-sufficiency, wealth, and {insert thing you want here}.

With the goal of… what?

Lets say you’ve got lots of things you don’t want in your life, and not a lot of things you do want. This is a bad place. So, you adapt changes that reduce the things you don’t want, and allow you to add some things you do want.

This is a better place.

There may still be a gap. If you’ve reduced things and added the things you wanted to add, but still feel discontent, you’re in a spot that many others find themselves. This is a good place, because you have to own your discontentment. You can’t play the “what if” game and say “if my boss wasn’t so bad, and I had a little more money, and a little more time, I’d be happy.”

Minimalism is a Tool, not the Goal #

Some internet-people make minimalism the goal of their lives. I respect them, but don’t want to emulate them. People like Tynan, The Minimalists, and others.

Share good tools and tricks. (This is the premise of Lifehacker, after all), but don’t forget that the tips and tricks are to move you in the direction of a goal. (Speaking of useful tools, if you’re a Mac user, check out Jumpcut.)

If minimalism is not the goal, why should anyone pay attention to it, or consider it?

Clearing out trivialities gives you space to evaluate your own life and decisions. The way you work, relax, spend money each involve a decision. If you don’t make them consciously, you’re probably having them made for you. So, adapt the basic tenants of minimalism (or “enoughism”) and you can regain control of the decision making.

What’s the Goal? #

The good news: here’s nothing in this world that is fully satisfying.

The bad news: we are slow to believe this.

Others have said it better:

“Vanity of vanities”, says the Preacher, “vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3)

Resources #

Read more on minimalism here: