What is minimalism?
As people embark on their FIRE journey, one of the common behaviors most FIRE aficionados seem to embrace is minimalism. In its simplest form, minimalism is a lifestyle choice whereby you intentionally live a simple, clean life and eliminate anything that can distract you from finding true purpose and fulfillment.
At the core of the forces that seek to ensnare us from living free, the biggest culprits are cultural and societal influences of both consumerism and self-gratification. These forces twist and turn us into becoming consumers of everything, seeking to fill our lives with anything that our little hearts desire. Whatever makes us "happy" because we deserve it.
We allow our lives to be absorbed with the latest gadgets, clothing, and toys because we want to believe it will make us happy, and therefore we need it. The marketing ads and media continuously bombard us with pictures of beautiful people enjoying life, by simply buying the products they are selling, giving the impression that buying their product will bring us great joy and happiness and make us beautiful.
People will be attracted to you or want to hang out with you, and everything you've ever wanted to become is now possible just by buying and consuming this product. It's a very enticing proposition. In reality, it's all lies and believing in them will keep you trapped in consumerism's shackles, unable to achieve true freedom in your life.
The reality is that our lives are meant for so much more than frivolous stuff. Material things will not bring you happiness, and more importantly, they will not give you purpose. In finding purpose and meaning, you must first learn to be content. Contentment is a core principle of minimalism. You are learning to be content with what you have and knowing that you no longer have the wants or desires to fill your life with stuff you don't need, with money you can’t afford to spend, to impress people you don't really like. The bible describes it this way.
Minimalism is really about finding value in everything around us. While many will struggle with this concept, when you genuinely understand what minimalism is, you will know that it is ultimately about being intentional with your life and focusing on what is important and those things that bring you actual value and purpose. It's about experiencing joy, fulfillment, freedom, and meaning.
Learning to be content and feeling satisfied with life necessities, like food and shelter, should be enough to satisfy us and make us feel complete and fulfilled. We don't need excess.
Minimalism isn't about getting rid of everything or being so frugal that you can't own anything. It is not about leaving the world behind and going to some temple in some far off land to learn to be one with the universe and forsake all possessions. Being content also doesn't mean we can't desire certain things like being successful or financially independent, quite the contrary. It helps you to figure out what is truly important and where we should focus. We are content with where we are and hungry for improvement, so we do not stay complacent while accomplishing nothing of significance. We learn to focus our desires on things that matter and bring us actual value and joy, not material things.
As people begin to experience minimalism and have the mindset needed to be successful, they begin to question everything. Do I really need this? Does this thing bring me real value? Am I going to use this often? Can I do without this? Will I ever wear this blouse again? Is this job giving me the freedom and purpose that I want in life? Do I really need a new phone? Will this TV be a blessing in my life, or will binge-watching every Netflix show on it be a distraction from what I want to be doing? Questions like these can help you declutter and keep you from acquiring pointless things.
Minimalism is a life-long process that should help you live a thriving and fulfilled life. As you go through it, your priorities begin to change, material things no longer have control over you, your finances start to grow, your happiness begins to shine, and, more importantly, your peace begins to reign supreme in your life.
As you embark on your FIRELife journey and begin to take control of your finances, change your mindset, and find true contentment, minimalism will be a direct result, and the fruits of your sacrifices will lead to a whole new lifestyle for you and your family.
There are so many benefits that come with living a minimalist lifestyle. You have to experience it for yourself to understand and feel the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that this lifestyle choice brings to every practitioner. Nevertheless, here are some tangible benefits:
Free From Worry and Anxiety
Free From Depression
Free From Fear
Free From Guilt
Focus and Clarity
Personal Development and Growth
Sense of Fulfillment
Here are a few minimalist resources that have had huge impacts on the community and on us. We challenge you to do your research. If you are reading this and minimalism resonates with you, but you need some guidance on how to incorporate minimalism into your financial life strategy, reach out to us. We love helping people change their lives and find joy and contentment. It is one of our greatest pleasures to serve you in this way. There is no greater feeling.