Now is the time to embrace 'minimalism'; why having less is actually more

Written By: Sparshita Saxena
Delhi, India Published: Oct 01, 2018, 02.07 PM(IST)

Meditation Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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We cannot be happy with having too little, having too much is never going to bring contentment, you and I seek that fine balance of having just about enough and maintaining that equilibrium for life -- that is minimalism, your key to happiness. 

“Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but what one owns,” this harrowing truth about our existence was pronounced by former US President Jimmy Carter in one of his public addresses almost four decades ago.

Humans are wired to get dissatisfied -- especially in a world fraught with distractions and things that offer speedier, quicker, faster results -- one tends to get bored easily. With so many options available, our hunger to own more expands exponentially. Unfortunately, at the core of this saddening reality, an ugly truth stares right back – more of us are intrinsically unhappy even while working in fancy multinationals, clad in couture and commuting by fanciest of cars.

This ever-growing sense of dissatisfaction seems to have an answer in a growing school of thought which, according to me, makes total sense. Now is the time to adopt ‘minimalism’ like never before.

Look around and all that the eye can meet is clutter. Our mind, on an average, produces as many as 70,000 thoughts in a day – most of it just fans unnecessary anxiety and stress. We have enough food but we want more, we have a comfortable house but we want a bigger one, another car and of course, the latest iPhone.

Matt D’Avella’s documentary on minimalism becomes a must watch for all of us as it introduces to the virtue of having less and why having less is more. The short film features a young duo, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who quit their six-figure, fancy jobs in the United States and packed their lives in just about two suitcases to live with as little as possible. The duo calls itself 'The Minimalists' and goes around the country talking about their book and the importance of embracing the movement that emphasises de-cluttering lives and embracing simplicity.

When our standard of living is improving by the day, why is that we still want more? Why are we so restless and why do we feel like not getting enough?
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The documentary, 'Minimalism: A documentary about the important things,' raises a valid point – when our standard of living is improving by the day, why is that we still want more? Why are we so restless and why do we feel like not getting enough? All the flashy things that are out there, we don’t really need those things for survival; they have been marketed to us for years, to trick us into believing that we need those things.

What is the true meaning of being successful? Experts suggest that over decades the idea of the ‘Big American Dream’ has come around to have completely different connotations. America was once seen as a land of enormous opportunities for one and all. A nation where one starts at rock-bottom, work hard and do well. With time, the idea became more materialistic in nature – increasingly about getting a six-figure job, that is how success is measured today across the globe, sadly. 

The concept of 'minimalism' rests in the fact that one should be able to justify the existence of things in life.
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The concept of minimalism rests in the fact that one should be able to justify the existence of things in life. Ask yourself, does this item, commodity or even a relationship add any value to life? If the answer is in negative then, “I should be willing enough to part with it, to let it go,” Joshua notes in the documentary.

It is interesting to see how an art movement, essentially an American visual arts movement of the mid-twentieth century, gained prominence to actually inspire a movement with a potential to make our lives better and instil meaning and substance.

Minimalism can be applied to every aspect of life, think out loud to yourself – is your closet too cluttered, do you really need all those pairs of shoes or the latest version of that pricey smartphone? Do you have quality and meaningful relationships with anyone in the crowd that you call ‘friends’? Is your daily routine meaningful and adds value to your existence?

Always remember, we cannot be happy with having too little, having too much is never going to bring contentment, you and I seek that fine balance of having just about enough and maintaining that equilibrium for life -- that is minimalism, your key to happiness. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

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