In fact, minimalism is a pretty scary journey.
According to The Business Times Singapore, Singapore ranks fourth worldwide for the number of times the word “minimalism” is searched on Google. No, this piece is not about the benefits of minimalism, but three takeaways as to what you can expect as you walk down the path less traveled.
I am the founder of Minimalism in Singapore and the recent influx of members made me reflect on why I started my journey and more importantly, why did all these people choose to join this community?
This is question number three of our group entry survey – “Why do you want to join our group?”
Most of the answers were one liners of, “I want to live a simpler and happier life.”
Having practised minimalism for four years and counting, these are my lessons in finding happiness.
Takeaway 1: Minimalism will bring you chaos.
When I forayed into the depths of minimalism, I had the preconceived idea of having less clutter would naturally transform me into a happier person with less worry. Nope. Clearing out my clutter was easy, living with the so-called clutter of another is a different story. Most of us in Singapore live with family or friends, and usually not alone.
Clearing your clutter poses space for another to occupy it. This is true in cases where others do not share the same outlook as you. You are unable to declutter their items and frustration sets in.
In other circumstances, social gatherings, dating and living with your partner poses problems when you do not wish to receive gifts, eat certain food to keep within budget or you simply cannot agree on a new purchase.
The chaos of social relationships will make you face what would make you happy and what would make others happy. Choose wisely.
Takeaway 2: Minimalism brought me identity.
I loathe labels. Similarly, most minimalist themed shops portray a similar idea. Muji is a prime example of a label that chooses to be “label free”. Another would be Brandless, an online store where everything is $3.
Minimalism is an abstract lifestyle where there are no hard and fast rules except for two.
- Keep things simple.
- Love people, use things. (Because the opposite never works.)
Being label free also means that you are free to create who you are. The basis of minimalism is to “cut the bullsh*t”. Be clear and defined towards where you are heading for the next 5 to 10 years. You would need a set of values to form your foundation. Mine are: Practicality, Wisdom and Love.
I do not associate myself to those labels, but I associate my thoughts to those three value pillars.
When you have defined your values, the lessons that will come forth will be painful yet so valuable. Why painful? Because you will need to know when to say no and saying no is a brave word in society.
I would recommend starting a blog where at least a few others can read to keep accountability as well as to track your system of following your values. The power of accountability and setting a system to lead you to where you want to be can be a very strong tool that would put your life in fast forward.
“Losers have goals and winners have systems.” – Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comics.
Takeaway 3: Plan for your legacy.
Minimalism is about the freedom of choice.
“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”, Eleanor Roosevelt
Most Singaporeans are cocooned in our nanny state of security and convenience. It is so easy to point the finger to anyone but yourself when you fail in life. However, after the age of 25, where you are now is the consequence of the choices you have made.
If you are struggling to find happiness and you hope that minimalism will cure that pain – you’re in for a rude awakening.
Minimalism will put you on track with more choices, a clearer path towards personal growth and the type of life you want to live. However, to stay on this path will bring you challenges.
Minimalism will hone your strength to have internal validation and the wisdom to ignore social pressures.
Minimalism will also bring you tons of self discipline when you follow your own set of rules. You will find growth in rules you have set for yourself, and learn more when you fall off the band wagon.
To quote Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
If you are looking for happiness and freedom, start taking responsibility. See previous takeaway on knowing how to start curating choices in life.
My promise: It is one step closer to self actualisation.
Maybe minimalism is not for you.
Maybe you are seeking happiness, and it could lie in another lifestyle choice.
However, I urge any curious souls to try out a 30 day minimalism challenge, and I promise that you will be able to gain more insight about yourself.
My first challenge to you is to make your bed in the morning for 21 days.
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