On Money

There are two ways to be rich—to get everything you want, or to want everything you have.

It doesn’t matter how much money or how many possessions you’re talking about, the same rule applies to everyone.

Believe it or not, there are people who earn $100k salaries but live pay check to pay check (I have met them). These are people who are deeply unhappy even though they can afford to buy anything they want. What they don’t realise is that it’s not about how much you have, it’s about how much you appreciate what you already have.

The key here is gratitude. This part of minimalism is often forgotten about. You’re not getting rid of stuff because it looks neater, or because it’s fashionable. You do it because:

  1. With fewer things, you appreciate each thing more.
  2. You don’t spend as much time and energy working to buy more things, instead you use your resources on things that matter.

There is nothing wrong with working or having money. Money is a tool for freedom, and for people to do great things. It is not the root of all evil, rather it’s a magnifier that makes you more of who you are. If you’re already unhappy and selfish, you’ll be more unhappy and selfish with lots of money. If you’re content and kind, you’ll be more content and kind with lots of money.

So, you want to be rich? Good news, there is such thing as a ‘get rich quick scheme’. The secret is to be grateful for everything you already have. You’ll be richer than any millionaire.

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On Quality

When people talk about minimalism, much of the focus is on quantity—how much you have, how much you don’t have, or how much other people have or don’t have…

Yes, the amount of stuff you own is part of it. But that’s not all minimalism is about.

The focus should be on quality—of your possessions, as well as your relationships, mental health, physical health, spirituality, finances, choices… basically all aspects of your life that could be improved.

It’s easy to only consider quantity because it’s readily measured. You can instantly see the results when you’ve finished decluttering a room or wardrobe. But to think that this is the goal of minimalism is misguided.

The point of minimalism is to lead a better and more meaningful life.  Minimalism then, is more accurately described as a study and practice of quality—quality in the sense of depth, longevity, meaningfulness, value, and how much something contributes to your lifelong comfort and happiness.

Does this person/object/thing mean a lot to me? Does it help me become a better person? Does it help me grow? Does it add to my well-being? Will it last a long time? Is it worth acquiring? Is it worth keeping? Do I really want it, or do I want it because everyone else has it, or has told me I should have it? Does it make me happy?

These things are harder to measure, but are more important than owning an arbitrary amount of 100 things or less. You can own 1,000 or 10,000 things, so long as everything contributes to your life in a meaningful way. Minimalism is saying yes to quality over quantity.

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On Why

Speaking of discipline as a sustained practice, how do you keep going when things get difficult?

Minimalism isn’t an easy lifestyle. Everyone is telling you that you need the latest gadget, that you should upgrade your car, that you can’t live without x. Temptations are everywhere, and it’s a constant battle against ‘stuff creep’ (when things start to pile up around the house imperceptibly).

As with anything, to keep the motivation to carry on, you need a why—ask yourself, why are you doing this? If you don’t have a good answer, you won’t last long.

Why minimalism?

—For yourself: You’ve decided that you don’t want to be a slave to your stuff. You’re not going to work sixty hours a week just to afford credit card bills. You don’t want to trade your life for things that won’t make you happy. You want time and freedom to do the things you enjoy, and spend it with the people you love. You learn to make the most of life through minimalism. That’s your why.

—Beyond yourself: There are people you care about who you want to be happy too, and you don’t want to see them wasting their effort and potential. Maybe if you cared less about material stuff, other people would care less too, and they wouldn’t work so hard, or for so long. On top of that, the money, time, and other resources you’ve been able to save from not buying stuff is being put to good use, helping those who need it most. In that way, the world is your why.

Published by Jessica Dang via Minimalist Meditations | rss | tw | fb | g+