Insights: Is Minimalism Maximum

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focus and simpllicityThere is so much talk about minimalism these days, but I think there are many misconceptions about this idea. Yes, part of this concept is having less, but there are so many other parts to this notion.

Concept One: Make the small things in life the big things. I have to keep reminding myself of this one; it’s so beneficial when we can hold it. This is about when we have to pay our bills, or do the dishes or laundry, that we are present and enjoying the experience.  Remember life is 80 percent day to day “have to” and 20 percent fun activities, but with this one concept we can make life 80 percent fun.

Concept Two: Keeping things simple. I enjoy planning, but in planning I also like to leave room for whatever may come my way. So it is about being flexible. Often being flexible within our plans allows for a more enjoyable experience. It also means we get less stressed.

Concept Three: Happiness comes from experiences and relationships with people rather than having things. For example, buying a new car gives you short-lived enjoyment. The other night I had two friends over and we all cooked together after going for a hike. We had so much fun that it still made me smile three days later.

Concept Four: If items you have in your house do not have a purpose or a meaning, get rid of them. There are plenty of other people who will actually use them and enjoy them.  Not only are you recycling, you are helping someone. It makes me feel good when I give away stuff to people.

Concept Five: Value your time. Just like only having things in your house that have meaning or purpose, it is same with our relationships. Let go of people who do not help you be the best version of yourself.

Concept Six: Never compare yourself to anyone else. Just be satisfied with the best imperfect version of yourself. No one is perfect. It is a life long journey to discover what we are about. There are no benefits to comparing yourself to anyone.

Concept Seven: Live life looking fear in the face rather than allowing it to control your life. If a crocodile or a bear is chasing you, then you can come from fear. Anything else we need to breathe and continue moving forward.

Concept Eight: Pick style and practicality over trend. Trends go out of style. I try to focus more on these two concepts but allow a few things that are more trend-oriented that bring some joy.

Concept Nine: Monitor your television, computer and social media time. I am not saying we need to give these up, but we need to monitor and know when these are harmful for us.

Concept Ten: Focus on what you think and how you are living in the world, rather than worrying about what other people think. When we go inward we are able to really determine what is important for us and for the great good.  When we focus on what others think, it makes us insecure.

Concept Eleven: Spend 80 percent of your time living in the present, 10 percent in the past and 10 percent in the future. When we spend too much time in the future or the past, we can become depressed or anxious.

Concept Twelve: As we are living in the present and with only what is important to us, it allows our focus to be on building healthy relationships, having experiences, being curious in the world and the greater good for people in general.

What does living minimally give us? Well to start with, following these concepts there is more space and energy in our life for the more important aspects of our life, such as relationships, meaningful work, becoming a better person, our health and internal reflection let alone less stress.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs liked to use these concepts in his life and his company. He also believed that living this way led to his success.

As he once said, “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.  But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected].


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