Minimalists are stressing you out!
The main problem with major trends like minimalism is that people that write and talk about it, always push it to the extreme.
They push the concept so far that, at some point, it just stops making sense!
The concept behind minimalism is simple. It is about reducing the amount of possessions you have to the strict minimum, in order to feel less stressed, in order to feel less anxious and to start regaining control of your life. Easier said than done obviously. We’re all so deeply influenced by marketing and consumerism that it makes it hard for most people to get rid of all these items that are supposed to make our life easier.
Marketing has been creating problems and solutions for decades. Companies develop a product and marketing is here to prove us how deeply we need that new tool to make our lives easier. The problem is that, we did have simple daily problems before. But those were solved pretty easily. So at some point, just so companies can make more and more profit, marketing has started to create new problems for us. And every time they did, they forced us to realise that we suffer from these new problems and that we needed to solve them asap by buying a product that we didn’t necessarily need.
As a result, we started buying more and more products to solve all these new problems that we’re facing. As a result: the place we live in is full of objects that we use once a year. By solving these problems we don’t have, we consume. We consume a lot. Creating new problems: the lack of money and the lack of place to stock those items for example. Wait, new problems!! So marketers found solutions for those issues: selling credits, selling expensive storage furnitures and expensive storage spaces. And so on…
That’s how consumerism works today. By creating solutions to fake problems, marketers create new fake problems. It’s a never ending loop. A vicious consumerist circle.
But just think about it. It is a brillant mechanism! That way, they’re sure people will continue to be intense buyers. And buyers will be used to buy more and more products to feel happy. That way, companies will continue to make profit, forever. Problems are endless.
To counter interact that phenomenon. Some people, who call themselves minimalists, refuse that vision. They try to focus on the main problems they have and keep the only belongings that actually solve these very problems. That way, they consume less, they are way more nomadic and are less stressed and less impulsive in their consuming behaviour. They all claim to live a simpler and a less stressful life. And it is true, it’s less problems to focus on.
And I don’t see anything wrong with that trend. I totally agree with that idea of taking a step back, of thinking about what you’re really struggling with, and use the ressources you have to make your life easier. As Mark Manson says in his book The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck, freedom starts when you’re deciding on the problems you’re facing. This way, you’re really focusing on what is an issue for you — and for you only — and how to fix it, the most efficient way possible. That way, you don’t let marketers decide the solutions for you, nor the extent of the problems.
However, when you look for online ressources about minimalism, you read blog posts and see Youtube videos of people that brag about how few things they own. Some are proud to say that they can carry everything they own in a single suitcase. Which seems great and practical. You can basically travel the world and settle home anywhere.
Well, the truth is: it is not practical nor less stressful.
Seriously. Some are bragging about the fact that they only own a single pair of jeans, two T-shirts and one pair of shoes. How can that be practical? Of course, owning 200 clothing items is useless, heavy and takes a lot of space to store them, but isn’t the ideal amount of clothing in between the two? Do we really need to wear the same clothes everyday to become a “real” minimalist?
Minimalism has also become an aesthetic. Minimalists like to adopt a vintage dressing style. There’s of course nothing wrong with that. And yes, it does look classy and refined, for sure. But something doesn’t make sense to me. Some minimalists, for example, hate on the Apple Watch, and prefer to wear a standard leather band wrist watch. But just think about it for a second. Isn’t the Apple Watch more practical? Like… If you’re trying to get rid of all your possessions, why do you wear a watch? Seriously, you can get the time absolutely everywhere! But at least, the Apple Watch has other purposes. You can pay with it, check your calendar, answer phone calls… I don’t know, it just makes way more sense to me to get an Apple Watch if you do want to wear something on your wrist. The Apple Watch can solve several problems and can make your life more practical. Whereas a leather band wrist watch is just… Pretty and classy? But mostly useless — or at least, very limited.
It just feels like minimalism is getting to a point where you must just get rid of all your possessions without even considering the practical aspect of all of them. It just became, once again, a hipster thing, it became something you have to struggle with in order to be part of the clan. It became an elitist thing. If you own more than 60 items, they say you’re part of the consumerist sheep.
I like the idea of minimalism. I like the fact that it forces you to analyse your behaviour and to only buy the things you really need to make your life easier and more practical.
But we don’t all face the same problems!
I don’t mind having a little more items, because I don’t need to move places every two weeks. So I don’t care if all my belongings don’t fit in a single suitcase.
I do like to wear the same clothes everyday. I just put on blue jeans, a black T-shirt and Converses. And I have several of all those items, just so I can change them daily without having to do laundry every two days. Wearing the same style of clothes everyday just put out the stress of wondering what to wear and having to make choices — and pretty unnecessary choices — almost first thing in the morning.
But as I have said. We don’t all have the same needs. And we don’t have the same problems. So we don’t need the same items nor we need the same amount of belongings.
Minimalism is not about rules. It’s a mindset.
It’s being able to freely choose your problems and your way to solve them, without considering what marketing is yelling at you all day on TV, on the radio, on the Internet and in the streets.
Marketers’ fake problems and fake solutions are absolutely everywhere. Minimalism is a way to put a blindfold on and to get your freedom back. It gives you the ability to focus on what truly matters to you and it gives you the ability to throw away every unnecessary belonging that might be a source of stress for you (but that might not be for someone else!).
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