You may think the question ‘Should You Practice Minimalism?’ an odd question. For online entrepreneurs, earning more (e.g. six figures) or having more (e.g. dream car/house/boat) as a conduit for a laptop lifestyle is often part of the goal. However, it is important to not lose sight of why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. It was most likely to provide a solution, to give back, to find fulfillment, or to follow a passion. As you begin your online business, you may believe your goal is to have more — money and stuff. But those who are truly success within this space remind us, daily, that this is nto what will really make you happy and have a fulfilled life.
To achieve success and happiness — you need to strip away the unnecessary to have more in life.
I recently watched the documentary movie Minimalism. In the movie, the film director follows the authors of the book, Everything That Remains: A Memoir, on a yearlong book tour. Throughout the movie the authors, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, also known as The Minimalists, talk about how they came to and incorporate minimalism. Their approach is quite literal in the sense that they own very little material possessions.
At this point, you are probably wondering ‘So what does this have to do with me, having an online business, or being an entrepreneur?’
It has everything to do with having an online business and being an entrepreneur. The core of the movie examines the superficial materialistic culture that has evolved here in the US. The experts interviewed highlight research that shows despite having more things most people are unhappy with their lives. Many feel a lack of purpose and have no sense of fulfillment.
… lack of purpose and no sense of fulfillment… This really resonated with me. For much of my life, I have struggled with being happy and finding fulfillment. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I began realizing the traditional work path I was on wasn’t going to give me what I truly desired. I had to take the necessary steps to achieve what I wanted out of life and that meant stripping away the unnecessary.
Throughout the movie, regular everyday people talked about ways they approach to minimalism – most focused on just reducing material aspects of their life. One couple chose to live in a tiny house all of 250 square feet. Another woman started an experiment where she chose 30 items from her closet (a combination of clothes, accessories, and shoes) and wore only those items for three months, now known as the Project 333. Another couple began a sharing community amongst their friends were they all borrow needed items from kitchen utensils to tools to even cloths.
“love people and use things because the opposite never works” — Joshua Fields Millburn in the film Minimalism
Even though they all practiced a different type and level of minimalism, everyone in the film mentioned one thing that occurred. By getting rids of the “things” they felt less weighed down, more connected with themselves and others, and a greater sense of purpose.
Why Practice Minimalism?
My journey towards minimalism involves letting go of negative people, removing myself from a hostile work environment, and yes, decluttering my closets. For my business, it means minimizing what isn’t working and in the long run costing me. For example, hanging on to an ad or lead page that isn’t converting to customers. This costs me because it prevents me from achieving my dream of independence and giving back with impact. Every time I remove “stuff” from my life, I have a sense of calm and a feeling of lightness. It is at these times I feel more expansive, creative, motivated, and productive. All actions and states of being that help me build my business.
For many people just getting started toward minimalism is the hardest step (kind of like starting a business). When I started out it was a lot of trial and error (and to be honest, it still is). For work, I use a variety of strategies. A few are having a daily task list, preventing time suck with a timer, and using productivity software. I listen to those far wiser and experienced then me for advice. One caveat here though — when the advice is no longer working I let it go.
For physical stuff, I use the Konmari Method. (Created by Marie Kondo; learn more in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.) I find this method to be particularly helpful for my office space. Revealing a secret: I am a paper magnet – articles, handouts, statements, receipts, flyers. You name it, I probably had a thick, unwieldy folder of it at one time. I also kind of love office supplies. However, those pens in my closet (unused for ten years) need to go.
It is a new year, new month, new week, and new day. The possibilities are endless. How will you practice minimalism to expand your life and achieve happiness and fulfillment? Share with the community and leave your thoughts in the comments section.