By Josh Rueff on June 06, 2013
“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”
Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer
Thoreau was an extreme individual who wasn’t afraid to march to his own drum.
He received staunch criticism in his counter cultural exploits of the Walden project, but he stood firm on his principles, and we know him and he is endeared to us for this very reason.
His philosophy revolved around the lifestyle balance between nature and cultured society. He preferred to live in the “partially cultivated country” as he put it. Amongst his principles was his opposition to slavery, the Mexican-American War, materialism, corporeal punishment, and corporations.
He was imprisoned for refusing to pay taxes, and he gave up living in civilization to pursue the most simple, back to the basics lifestyle he could, living off of the land on the transcendental homestead he recorded in his book, Walden.
I love extreme “ground up” examples of minimalism because even if I can’t adopt all of the activities, at least I have a blueprint of the possibilities on that side of the spectrum.
I think it has something to do with the difference between dabblers and experts.
An extremist is never a dabbler – unless he’s a fraud.
Not everyone has to embrace extreme minimalism to reap the benefits, but whether you’re an extremist or a dabbler, you’ve got to start somewhere!
That’s where the 5-minute simplifying challenge comes in.
Think of one single item you never use.
Take a moment to embrace the cherished memories and financial value it has brought you, then embrace the reality that it has become utterly worthless. How many times have you used t in the last year? How many times have you even thought of it?
Throw it out, trash it. No ebay, craigslist, or garage sales – disown it completely.
If you have someone you can give it to immediately, even better, but the point of the exercise is to get a foothold in simplifying your life, and the longer the activity takes, the higher the chances are of putting it off for “next time”.
Take a page from the Thoreau mindset and think of this item (and other things like it) as a “positive hindrance to the elevation of mankind”.
Begin your journey to your lifestyle apex; dispense of the indispensable, item by item.