Minimalism: The Key To Happiness


Last weekend I spent the entire weekend (i.e., saturday and sunday) at IKEA with my partner Phoebe, fitting out our new kitchen.  The experience exposed me to a whole new world of 21st century consumerism.  Since buying my townhouse last year I would estimate that I have been to IKEA at least 10 times.

At lot of people’s problems stem from the belief that a certain income level is required for happiness.  For me, I’m realising that it actually comes from the ability to save and to minimise your life.  Now, you don’t have to be on the poverty line to perfect the art of minimalism.  Billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffet are 2 card carrying minimalists.

Minimalism is just not contained to owning things, it is a general philosophy of simplifying your life.  The problem with living in the 21st century is that our life is generally becoming more and more complicated.  We have more modes of communication to monitor, more ways to spend our leisure time and more decisions to make in life.  The ideal of Minimalism aims to reverse this trend.

Sayings such as “less is more” and “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication” are very true.  I recently sold my car after calculating that I would save approximately $3000/ PA through having the money in the bank and not having to pay costs associated with having the car on the road.  This is 10-15% of my yearly costs.  I simply could not afford tot keep the car.  Now I’m sharing my partner Phoebe’s pink Nissan Micra and we will both be forced to perfect our planning skills.

We (as a society) are taught that we need to be the Goliath rather than the David.  I have recently completed reading Malcom Gladwell’s book David and Goliath, where he details the benefits of being the nimble underdog.  Big is not always better.

Technology is another great example of where we can simply our lives.  At the moment we are not using technology very well.  It is a distraction and I believe that it causes a lot of additional stress and anxiety in life.  I truly do believe that the key is limiting your access to technology for a happier and more productive life.  I have taken email and internet browsing off my phone and limited myself to a $20/ month plan and it is the best decision I have made in a very long time.

Scarcity is a good thing because it makes you more efficient.  The main problem is that more purchasing power equals greater laziness, which in turn makes you more unhappy.  To stop this problem we have to cut it off at it’s root and that is advertising.

Try a total media ban for 1 day or 1 week.  You’ll probably be having withdrawal symptoms after the first hour but it may just change your life.