This is part of an ongoing series where I dissect and discuss the reasoning behind various facets of my lifestyle. Through this, I’m attempting to separate the money aspect from the decision-making process, showing that I live a lifestyle that’s largely divorced from concerns about money whatsoever. Essentially, this is a lifestyle that I’d live regardless of my income/wealth. These facets thus aren’t about the money at all, but rather the result of thoughtful choices based around what I value and what drives my happiness.
Liberating. Freeing. Clarifying.
It lightens the heart, the mind, and the surroundings, all while making the wallet heavier.
However, I see minimalism as this wonderful way to look at life in general; the fact that it can save one a lot of money is just icing on what’s already a mighty tasty cake.
We all have limited resources. There’s only so much time in the day. Only so much energy we can expend within a given time frame. Only so much focus we can sustain in bursts.
And every moment we spend thinking about, looking at, buying, arranging, moving, cleaning, and otherwise taking care of stuff in our lives, is one less moment we can spend on the things that really matter.
That which adds happiness and value to our lives is what we should take great care of. That’s what we should have in abundance. That’s what we should chase with reckless abandon. That’s what we should spend our energy, time, and focus on.
See, I believe the more stuff I own, the more stuff owns me. Stuff handcuffs me to it. Stuff limits my options. Stuff costs me so much – and not just in money terms.
Minimalism, though, does the opposite. Minimalism frees me. Minimalism expands my options. Minimalism costs me so little – and not just in money terms.
Indeed, minimalism isn’t about the money for me.
Minimalism instead is about pretty much everything else.
Minimalism is actually, in many ways, maximalism.
It maximizes who you can be, what you can accomplish, and how much freedom you have in your life. It maximizes your flexibility, happiness, and personal space. It maximizes your perspective and the size of your world. It maximizes your ability to strive toward your potential as a human being, which is perhaps the best definition of happiness we have.
Without minimalism in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to relocate to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I wouldn’t be on this amazing adventure, having the time of my life. I wouldn’t be financially free, as I would have been instead chained to stuff – and the job required to pay for all that stuff.
Most importantly, I wouldn’t own my time. I’d instead own a hell of a lot of everything else, which is really silly.
What could be more worthy of ownership than one’s time?
Time is life itself.
As such, what could be more valuable than your life?
These are incredibly valuable questions to ask. Yet few people tackle them. Is it because they lack the clarity? Is it a lack of interest? A narrow perspective? Or maybe they don’t have the time… because stuff is handcuffing them to an endless merry-go-round of earning to spend and working to live?
I can list a lot of stuff I don’t own:
- A house
- A car
- A TV
- A set of keys
- Various household goods and supplies
- More than three pairs of shoes
- More than a handful of clothes
In fact, all of my stuff fits inside of two small carry-on bags, as I recently tweeted about. All of my physical possessions fit inside a backpack and a small duffel bag – which I took with me to Thailand.
Indeed, my physical possessions are quite small in number and nature.
A few pairs of shoes. A couple dozen articles of clothing. A laptop. A phone. Some basic toiletries.
If I had to move tomorrow, my 400-square-foot apartment could be cleaned out within an hour.
However, my digital possessions are far greater in number and value.
I own equity stakes in more than 100 of the highest-quality businesses in the world – which, in aggregate, pay me five-figure (and growing!) passive dividend income. That renders me financially independent.
I also own an online business (which includes this very blog), which provides me an incredible outlet for my creativity (as well as additional income). Writing and inspiring people makes me very happy, so I spend a lot of time on that (instead of, say, cutting grass or having the oil changed on a car).
Due to the amazing power and ingenuity of the Internet, I’m able to live a life that’s almost completely digital and borderless. The Internet acts as a cheap (or even free) storage unit for extremely valuable assets, allowing me to stay light and carefree in the physical world.
Moreover, minimalism allows me to “own” non-possessions like my good health, which I nurture through constant exercise. I’m able to hit the gym six days per week and absolutely murder it precisely because I’m not so worn out from a day job (which would ordinarily be required to pay for a bunch of stuff).
And I hope to very soon count on mutual love, respect, and admiration through the relationship with a significant other as another one of those non-possessions that I have in abundance.
Minimalism is an amazing way to approach life, in my view. Its name, however, belies its true power: maximizing everything worthwhile in your life.
Believe in it. Harness it. Live and breathe it.
And then you’ll see the light as I do.
What do you think? Is minimalism actually maximalism?
Thanks for reading.