Minimalism Part One: Intentional Living

On average, people spend about 5 hours a day on their phones doing any variety of things, from actually working to playing games or online shopping. My own screen-time app reveals an average of 3 hours spent on my phone a day, most of which is spent on social networks.

Even more time is spent on other electronic forms of entertainment, such as television and video games. We live in a world more connected than ever before, on a planet with more comfort and convenience than any other time in history. And yet, as a whole, the people in the world are less happy, more anxious, more depressed, and less secure than ever before. Why?

When we consume media, we are encouraged to live up to unrealistic expectations. Painfully beautiful people live amazing lives in mansions after “hustling” for five years, and it is expected that anyone can do it, and if you do not, you are failing. It tends to create a void in the lives of those not meeting these expectations. So what do we do? We try to fill that void the easier, quicker way.

We buy things to keep up with the Jonses, to cure our anxiety and depression, to display on our bookshelves so nicely or make our wardrobe look so much fuller.

Obviously, stuff is not the answer. Everyone has so much of it, but many are still extremely unhappy. The answer lies in something else. The answer lies in being something more than what is expected of us. Actually, scratch that; the answer, in all reality, lives in being-and having- less than what is expected of us.

You may have heard of minimalism, or maybe you have heard of The Minimalists, the two men who
began the revolution. Or, maybe you’ve heard of Marie Kondo (Tidying Up, The Life-Changing Magic
of Tidying Up), and have heard the phrase “keep only what sparks joy”. Both of these resources are wonderful inspiration for the basis of a happier, more minimalist, simple lifestyle; intentional living.

The point is to live the life you want to live, the way you want to live it, without the expectations of others influencing you. At its most basic level, this is what intentional living is all about.

The Minimalists define the point of minimalism as getting past things to make room for what is important. Part of intentional living is getting past what is expected, getting past what you “should” be doing, to do what you really want to do.

The most valuable resource anyone has is their time. If we spend it on our phones or watching Netflix or buying more stuff to fill the voids in our lives with temporary fixes, it is no wonder that we aren’t happy.

All of this is to get one very specific point across; the most basic component one must learn to live a minimalist lifestyle, is to live with intention. So how do we do that?

We be selective. We learn to say no. We declutter anything that does not truly make us happy, we take our time, we learn, and we- you guessed it- minimize!

Living with intention is step one- to recognize that something needs to change, to realize we want to be happier and more intentional with how we spend our time. Next week, I will go over the process of minimizing. Until then, chew on this;

“Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things, so we can make room for life’s important things, which aren’t things at all.”

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Tawny SchaferComment