This whole website is about achieving minimalism while surrounded by the cultural expectations and challenges here in the industrialized world. This is precisely where minimalism is most needed, here in the modern world — where we need to have cars and jobs. If we lived in an isolated tribal village, with primitive customs, chances are we’d be expert minimalists already. The ancient world was not filled with the clutter and excess that mass production and dollar stores dish out.
Industrialized countries are where we have been convinced to overdo everything, based on the empty promises of consumerism. We fell for the story because of the beautiful ending – that consumerism was THE way to make better lives for ourselves and for future generations. So this is where we now need to find balance through Abundant Minimalism.
Wherever we live, we will seek out the best way to fit balance into our lives. Some will be able to live without cars, but others won’t. Some will switch careers to those that provide more simplicity and joy. For each of us, the form minimalism takes will be different, but the main thing is to find what works for you now.
If today you are less preoccupied with the acquisition of material goods, you’re doing it right. If your choices are helping you to streamline your life so you can focus on what’s most essential, beneficial, and valuable to you, then you are definitely doing it right!
Sometimes we can become overly absorbed in the process of working so hard to accomplish our goals, that we can lose sight of the reason we started doing it in the first place. That can suck all of the happiness out of something that we actually really felt great about to begin with.
The whole point of refining our focus, our stuff, and our schedules is to optimize our space and time so we can do more of what we love.
Refining our focus doesn’t have to be stressful or overly serious
So, this is a reminder to have fun with refining our focus. As a friend of mine once said, “Don’t think of it as work, think of it as building a stairway to fun town.” That cracks me up, but he’s right!
The amazing sci fi author Robert A. Heinlein would agree, “Work is not an end in itself. There must always be time enough for love.” This book describes a land and time when people live a heck of a lot longer than they do now, yet they still struggle with balancing their commitments and pleasures.
Sometimes we put far too much pressure on ourselves. An important thing to keep in mind is that the activity of refining our focus to choose what we want in life can be a lot of fun. Imagine that it’s like perusing a wonderful buffet that contains all of the most amazing experiences that can be had in the universe.
We sample a few, but realize that we can’t possibly try everything at once. Today we will make a choice, and be happy with it, without doubting our decisions, or regretting the other options we could have made. We aren’t worried because we know that we can return again and make different decisions whenever we want.
By not clinging fearfully to any one thing, we open our minds to new worlds of possibilities.
Absolutely not. As minimalists, we choose to own less, regardless of our financial status. We recognize and appreciate the value of quality, versus quantity.
Minimalists maintain uncluttered spaces by not shopping impulsively. Grabbing something that appears to be ‘on sale’ is often not the most economical choice, especially if we didn’t actually intend to buy it in the first place.
As with the name of this site, frugality is balanced with extravagance. We can be minimalist with the amount of items we keep, and retain the simplicity we need, by investing in superb quality. In the long run, it is far more cost-effective and less wasteful to buy higher quality items once, rather than needing to replace crappier, seemingly cheaper items over and over again.