The trend in “Lifestyle Design” these days is all about minimalism, but I’m afraid they’re missing the point. Their focus is on reducing things through clever tactics, but this is only good in the short-term.
The fundamental flaw with this strategy long-term is that it assumes the opposite of “having” is “not having.” Physically, this is correct. Mentally, this is false. Mentally, the opposite to having is being. “Not having” is still in the paradigm of a having mindset, and therefore will regress. “Being” is a new mindset, a healthy one that is not corrupted by consumerism.
A young woman that desperately wants to have a husband and kids is an emotional wreck. Rather, if she focuses on being a great and supporting person, she will likely gain a husband and kids. Even if she doesn’t, she’s still happy because she’s not focused on having anything, but has already accomplished her goal of being a great person.
An employee at a large company who is denied a supervisor position is frustrated, and tempted to do unethical things to get the position. He may lie, cheat, or simply game the system to get there. If that same person let’s go of wanting a title and instead focuses on being a strong leader, he will likely gain that position over time. Even if he doesn’t, he will still be a leader and respected amongst his peers.
The same strategy works in the anti-consumerism goal that minimalism attempts to accomplish. However, rather than forcing yourself to get rid of things (as most minimalist bloggers suggest), try being a person that doesn’t rely on these things in the first place. It’s a paradigm shift.
- Rather than having smaller meals, be a healthy eater.
- Rather than having no car, be a runner/walker/cyclist.
- Rather than not having pre-processed foods, become a great cook.
- Rather than having a gym membership, be an athlete.
- Rather than having a big savings account, become an expert investor
- Rather than having a successful blog, be a helpful writer
- Rather than having a faithful and loving spouse, be a faithful and loving spouse
- Rather than having obedient kids, be a loving parent
Do you see the trend? If you do the “being” you’ll likely get the “having.” But that’s not the goal in itself, it’s an outcome that you are not dependent on.
Focusing on “not having” is a band-aid to a mental awareness our culture has bred which has created a “having” mentality (it’s not your fault!). Instead, become aware of this fact and consciously shift to a mindset of being. Otherwise, it will be your fault going forward.
Stop and thing for a second, what are you focused on having/not-having, and how could you change to a mindset of being?