, minimalism is a lifestyle that recognizes how getting rid of life’s excess can clear up time to focus on what’s important—finding happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. If you’ve made it to Step 9, hopefully, you’ve come to realize that possessions do not beget self-worth, happiness or contentment. This final step asks you to apply your new minimalistic mindset to all aspects of your life.
Here’s the question of the day:
What’s important in your life?
I can think of a few things prevalent in many peoples’ lives: consuming digital media, disregarding their health, paying for their car, maintaining their house, working their 9 to 5 job.
How you spend your time speaks volumes more about what’s important to you than the things you may claim are priorities. What do you spend your time on?
When I first became a minimalist, I began to gift less and give more—providing experiences for family and friends’ birthdays and Christmas, rather than physical items––to help them understand that they don’t need material goods to be happy. With that epiphany, my family was finally convinced to donate our television a couple of years ago. In the empty space left behind by the flatscreen, our eyes were opened to the countless, more meaningful ways we could bond.
Think I’m crazy for getting rid of my TV? I’m not trying to convince you to do the same; I provided this anecdote as an example of how minimalism has empowered me to be more deliberate with my time. Consider this: how much time do you waste watching TV or scrolling through social media?
Still not convinced? The Minimalists have a great write-up for why you should reduce TV and digital media consumption
Chrome extension which allows you to watch things faster (1.2x, 1.4x, etc) than the regular speed! It makes a huge difference in reducing screen time and you really can’t tell. I personally watch things at 2.0. *Just make sure you’re not constantly cramming in two 2.0x speed episodes into the time you’d dedicate to one normal speed episode...
Health is the most important thing in life because
. Additionally, mental health = health! Although our society tends to tell a different narrative, remember that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing.
When I first became a minimalist, I didn’t have a car so I didn’t have to worry about one. But now that I drive one, I’ve realized that minimalism applies just as much to my car as it does to the belongings in my house. From paying for gas (and perhaps an auto loan), to booking service appointments, to cleaning and decluttering, cars can take up a lot of mental bandwidth. That’s why I included it in the
, whichever one––job, career, mission––is your answer to the question, “What do you do?” indicates how happy you are with what you do:
If you call what you do a “job,” then you are probably unhappy with what you do. You go in for your required hours, collect your bi-weekly paycheck, and hope things will get better one day.
If you call what you do a “career,” then you probably have a job in which you are a bit more happy (at least ostensibly). You probably make a decent salary, have decent benefits, and there’s probably some opportunity for advancement if you work obsessively hard. The sad truth here is if you are this person, then you are the least likely to change, and thus you are the least likely to find your mission: you feel comfortable, which means you feel satisfied enough to keep on trucking, and maybe “some day” before you die you will be able to retire and live a more meaningful, enjoyable life.
If you call what you do your “mission,” then good for you—that’s outstanding news! If you’re living your mission, it’s easy to see you’re happy with what you’re pursuing: you have a sense of meaning in what you do, and you feel fulfilled and free because you are on a mission—you are doing what you were meant to do and enjoying it.
If you have a job you hate, it’s easy to change—you just need enough leverage. Usually the easiest way to find leverage is to discover your mission.
Now that you’ve rid yourself of life’s excess, how will you harness your newfound time and energy to live more meaningfully? To answer this, you need to figure out what’s important to you!
Minimalism is a tool that gives you the capacity to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Once I determined what I wanted to focus my energy on––using technology to better others’ lives, forging unbreakable bonds and understanding what truly makes me smile––I was able to dedicate my time to those areas, allowing me to live a much happier, purposeful and impactful life.
I wrote out these 20 questions to get a better idea of what was most important to me.
How much time do I waste watching TV or scrolling through social media?
What do I want my relationship with digital media consumption to be?
How can I be more deliberate with my screen time?
In what condition are my mental health and physical health right now?
What am I doing for my mental health?
What am I doing for my physical health?
How can I be more deliberate with my diet?
How can I be more deliberate with my exercise?
How much sleep am I getting?
Do I need a car?
How can I reduce my stress around my car?
Does my house suit my new minimalistic lifestyle and personal goals? Is it too large? Too expensive?
Do I believe my success is defined by the house I live in?
Do I need that extra bedroom or living room?
Should I move into a smaller apartment/house to save money?