Misconceptions · Psychology

Minimalism

How many things do you own? By things- I mean shoes, clothes, cars and anything that is materialistic. Anything that occupies space. I own a lot of things.

Just to give you an example, here is a break down of my wardrobe- I have 20 shirts, 25 T-shirts, 8-10 pants, 3-4 pairs of gym clothes, 2 pairs of jeans, a few pairs of shorts and 7 pairs of shoes. I have another drawer that has my sweaters, suits, traditional and winter wear. If I add up all of this, it comes to a number that is definitely more than 100. I found this counting an interesting exercise because it gives me a numerical assessment of the things I own. Numbers are a good way(not the best) to know how and where things stand. After watching the movie (discussed below), I cleaned my wardrobe and did away with a bunch of clothes that I never/rarely used. How do you think I felt after that? I felt great!

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Minimalism- The Documentary about important things:

I grew conscious and mindful about my wardrobe after watching a documentary- Minimalism (the #1 indie documentary of 2016). The movie talks about how living with lesser increases your ability to enjoy the more important things in life. It stresses on how being deliberate, before you make any purchase(mostly consumer goods), is a good strategy in the long term. The lesser things that you own, the less stressed you are.

Are we are materialistic in the true sense of the word?

So much of our life is lived in a fog of automatic habitual behaviour. We spend so much time on the hunt. Hunt for materialistic possessions that can make us happy. But nothing ever quite does it for us and we get so wrapped up in the hunt that it makes us miserable. The wise would say that our society is too materialist. Actually, if you think about it-in some ways, we are not materialistic enough. We are too materialistic in the everyday sense of the word and we are not at all materialistic enough in the true sense of the word. We need to be true materialists, like really care about the materiality of goods. Instead, we are in a world in which material goods are so important for their symbolic meaning- what they do to position us in the status system based on what marketing or advertising says they are about. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.

Takeaway from the movie:

1. The movie definitely talks about extreme examples. People living with a suitcase, people living with just 33 things etc. That doesn’t work for me. Having too little is a problem but this movie made me realize that having too much is a problem too. You have to figure out the answer to the question- ‘How much is enough?’ and make sure you consciously remain in the boundary set by you.

2. Minimalism is about living deliberately. This movie has led me to think on the lines of being deliberate with every choice that I make, every dollar I spend, every relationship I invest in. I am not perfect, obviously. But I am going to constantly ask myself if this is adding value. Am I being deliberate with this decision?

3. The whole point of the movie is to help people curb that appetite for more things because it is a destructive path to go down. The protagonists, Josh and Ryan ask you to imagine a life with less. What you are imagining is a simple life. Josh ends the movie with a great statement- When you recognize that this life is yours, when the pragmatism of that statement seeps directly through your bones and when you realize that this is it-everything changes.

Love people and use things. Because the opposite never works.

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