The Top 10 Advantages of Minimalist Living

Source: Jody Roberts on Flickr.

By Josh Rueff on May 19, 2013

Finding True North by Defining

For a long stretch of my life, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what kind of lifestyle I wanted. Minimalist living wasn’t an option because I didn’t know it existed. So I pursued what I considered a lifestyle of freedom – freedom from debt, escape from the rat race, and a priority-based approach to life: Ridding myself of the clutter and unnecessary baggage of materialism and spending my time things that matter more.

The things that matter – our values range widely from person to person – for me the things that matter are God, family, friends, and helping others in whatever way I can. I also believe in enjoying life through fulfilling and enjoyable work, travel, hobbies, nature, fishing, shooting, fighting, and many other wonderfully minimalist (or at least potentially minimalist) activities.

I was pursuing a minimalist lifestyle before I knew it, but I think I would have been better off if I’d known what path I was on.

It’s similar to the concept of setting quantifiable goals:

If I say: “I want to travel the world”, and that’s my goal, well that’s a crap goal. I may end up going in the right general direction, but without specifics, I’ll waste a lot of time and effort in the wrong areas.

On the other hand, if I say “I want to travel the world, starting with a trip to Ecuador South America on February 13 2014, after I’ve put aside $300 a month for tickets and other expenses that will add up to $3,300” then I’m headed in a more specific direction rather than wandering part of the time like a lost puppy. 

That’s why I want to write this post:

To lay out the advantages of minimalist living so people (myself included) can get a good feel for the specifics on the benefits and perks of minimalist living, and hone in on their “True North” by defining minimalist living.

The Top 10 Advantages of Minimalist Living

1. Freedom: The word freedom is a highly ambiguous word. If I asked 10 people what freedom means to them, I’d get 10 different answers. But what freedom means in the minimalist philosophy is freedom from:

-Materialism.
-Consumerism.
-Greed.
-Debt.
-Overworking.
-Unhealthy stress of the complicated 21st century.
-Unnecessary bills and payments.
-Unhealthy activities in general.

2. Less focus on material possessions: Gaining freedom from materialism is more than a simple change of mindset. When you clean your basement or garage, you often find things that you never use. When you sell or throw out that pile of junk, and walk through the freshly organized space, it almost feels like you can breath better. Imagine that feeling, only twice as pronounced. That’s how you’ll feel when you get rid of the things that own you – massive mortgage payments, credit card debt, that boat that you take out twice a year but still make payments on.

3. More focus on healthy and fulfilling activities: When you free yourself of material possessions that force you to work too much, you’ll find that you have more time you can spend doing things you enjoy, like traveling, fishing, hunting, hiking, sports, playing guitar, playing with your kids, taking out your wife or girlfriend – whatever it is that you enjoy most.

4. Less stress: One major goal of the minimalist lifestyle is to simplify. The stress attached to the fast-paced, complicated clutter of technology and work melts away as you simplify your life through minimalism.

5. More peace of mind: The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that. Minimizing your life can mean a number of things, but it always means getting rid of the unhealthy clutter. Whatever causes more stress than good gets eliminated.

6. Less anger and depression because of a job you hate: When you cut expenses and simplify your time, your options begin to expand. Don’t like your job? Drop it. Find a career and environment that you love – the risk involved in quitting the job you loathe is much lower when you don’t have a mountain of monthly payments to worry about. That’s the fun side of simplifying/minimizing your life.

7. More happiness: The peace that results from the simplification of your life brings happiness, but there are many other forms of happiness that minimalist living brings out, such as:

-Satisfaction in becoming more efficient.
-Being happy with the job, career, and/or business you choose.
-Having a quality life by refocusing priorities to the fulfilling things that bring happiness.
-The joy of rest as you force life to slow down so you can enjoy it.

8. Less fear of failure: Consider the extreme side of minimalist living. Buddhist monks for instance – what do they have to lose? In whatever endeavor they wish to pursue, they have very little to fear except fear itself. No house to lose, no bills to fret about, no worries about going bankrupt – it’s no wonder these guys are always smiling.

9. More confidence: The minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self-reliance. The less you rely on others for your money, food, and shelter, the more confident you’ll become in your pursuit of happiness.

10. More power: Power has become an ugly word to most people, as they observe the rotting corruption of our political world. But power is not evil or corrupt. It’s the way people use power that makes them corrupt, and in the same way, it’s the way people use power that makes them good. Power only corrupts when a person with power pursues corrupt activities.

Think about the power and influence that Gandhi had, or Mother Theresa, or Jesus.  They all had the option to travel the path of corruption, but they didn’t, and they used their power for good.

Back to the empowerment of the minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalist living empowers you by freeing you from (again):

-Materialism.
-Consumerism.
-Greed.
-Debt.
-Overworking.
-Unhealthy stress of the complicated 21st century.
-Unnecessary bills and payments.
-Unhealthy activities in general.

And any other “clutter” that trashes your life.

On the offensive side, minimalist living empowers you by:

-Instilling Confidence.
-Eliminating Fear.
-Gaining more time.
-Getting rid of debilitating stress, worry, and depression.
-Giving you a strong foundation to launch your ideal lifestyle off of.

So simplify and free yourself to the point of empowerment.

 –Josh

6 Comments

  1. thesofasurfa May 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    I can certainly testify to those advantages. Great post!

    Reply

    • Josh May 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      Hey James, good to see you! Entrepreneur, traveler, minimalist, blogger, risk-taker, life-liver, people-meeter, wayward philosopher, and party-lover – you certainly can my friend! Thanks for dropping by (:

      Reply

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