3 Things Minimalism is Not

I’ve talked before about how incorporating minimalism into your lifestyle can help enhance your creativity. Plus, it can have a positive effect on your overall mental well-being. And who wouldn’t want that?

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However, the concept of “minimalism”, as pertaining to lifestyle, is widely interpreted to be merely stylistic, and even frivolous. Quite the opposite of what true minimalists aim to achieve: freedom and mental clarity. So today, I want to dig a little deeper into what minimalism is—and more specifically—what it is not.

#1: MINIMALISM IS NOT AN AESTHETIC

Many people interpret a minimalistic lifestyle as a sterile grayscale. Aesthetically-pleasing Instagram photos of green shrubbery against a white background are often tagged as “minimalism”, giving the impression that “style” is the primary goal of the lifestyle.

But minimalism, unless it is being used as an art form, is not about aesthetic. It’s about prioritizing your essentials and clearing unnecessary clutter from your daily life. This does not have to look pretty. And the truth is, it often doesn’t, because the battle against noise and clutter is an ongoing one that we sometimes lose.

#2: MINIMALISM IS NOT A WAY TO ACHIEVE MORAL HIGH GROUND

Another theme commonly associated with minimalism is the very elitist attitude that says “less for the sake of less is better”. It implies righteousness if you have little, and corruption if you have a lot. But this virtue-signaling has no place in true minimalism, where the goal is simply to free yourself of personal distractions and clutter for the sake of your own mental clarity.

Choosing to own less does not make you morally superior to those who choose to own more. It’s not a competition.

#3: MINIMALISM IS NOT A BLACK-AND-WHITE, FORMULAIC LIFESTYLE

Minimalism is not about owning “the right things” and jettisoning “the wrong things”. (Who defines “right” and “wrong” anyway?) In fact, minimalism isn’t even about “owning less”. It’s about owning (and spending time on) only what is essential to the lifestyle you are choosing to create for yourself. This looks different for many different people. What may be essential to you may not be for someone else—and that’s the beauty of it.

The concept of eliminating unnecessary clutter does not automatically have to translate to bagging up and donating 80% of what you own. Only you can determine what you consider unnecessary. Or, more importantly, what you consider essential, and why. At its heart, minimalism is about taking control of your stuff and your life in a way that makes you more productive, and ultimately, more fulfilled.

Let’s chat!

  • Why is the concept of minimalism important to you, personally?
  • How do you go about implementing minimalism in your own life?
  • Has your general impression of the concept of minimalism been positive or negative? Why?

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