Minimalism is the New Modern Day GPS

Let’s start by making it clear that minimalism is NOT about the hermit lifestyle, plain aesthetics, and throwing a bunch of things out. Though some may end up here by their own choosing, it is not the goal (you can relax now).

Minimalism is all about having the freedom to focus.

It is about having your own space to think clearly (focus) and the time to do the things you truly want (freedom).

Focus is actually the most valuable commodity of our times. Everyone has the same amount of time in the day (24hr), so choosing what to focus on is what really matters. Losing our focus is super easy as tech giants blast us with new notifications and paid messaging on a per-minute basis.

“Focus is actually the most valuable commodity of our times.”

Aside from social media, who and what we surround ourselves with also has a strong impact on our focus levels. When we try to seek happiness from external sources, when we are living up to other peoples’ expectations rather than focusing on our own goals, or when we buy excessively to fill every empty space possible – we are cluttering our immediate environment with constant noise.

In reality, you can find freedom by cutting through the noise and focusing on your own voice. Minimalism can help with this.

Minimalism: Freedom to Focus

Think of minimalism as a tool to help you achieve freedom to focus so that you can pay attention to your true passions. Just like a compass can navigate our path in the ocean, minimalism is the GPS (let’s upgrade) that navigates you towards your genuine goals and passions.

“Minimalism is the GPS that navigates you towards your genuine goals.”

Minimalism is often associated with getting rid of your material possessions and sleeping on the mattress without the bed frame. However, this is not the goal of minimalism, but just one of its many outcomes – focusing on your true needs and desires will naturally lead you to stow away or discard the stuff that clutter your mind and space.

So if sleeping closer to the ground makes you feel better and more focused in the morning, go for it. I’m keeping my bed frame, though.

Overall, material possession is not the enemy here. The issue is with how you assign meaning to possessions and relationships, and whether this meaning stems from your own true thoughts and desires or if they were put there by others (i.e. societal obligations/pressure, ‘friends’ behind your screen monitor, ads declaring the newest trends, etc.).

Given enough time, distancing yourself from your own needs and passions will only lead to sadness, confusion, and discontent. Focus can free you from that.

How do you minimalist?

How do you obtain freedom to focus? How do you Marie Kondo? How do you minimalist?

It goes down to one word – prioritise. But be careful not to prioritise too many things at once because you’ll water them down and lose focus.

How? By learning to say no.

Take it from Steve Jobs who rightly said, “focusing is about saying no”. It sounds easy, but it is hard to achieve. Having the capacity to say no to distractions comes from the ability of anchoring yourself to your true passions and purpose (your ikigai).

forbes.com

Begin simply – start with reorganising the space you occupy. Creating more physical space in your environment (your bedroom, office, kitchen) can translate into mental breathing space (why white space is important article). You can then slowly craft that empty space to focus on what’s truly important.

Crafting your space

It is very important to take care of your space. The meaning of life is no longer about filling empty spaces with whatever debris we can find. It is about having the freedom to craft that empty space by focusing on what’s truly important to you.

This ‘space’, a.k.a. your surroundings, is like your temple – treat it with care and importance. Keep this space focused on your well-being and fill it with only the things that are important to you.

Here are the 4 steps to space crafting:

  1. Keep it organized, don’t trash it
  2. Keep it clean
  3. Keep only what makes you happy in sight (stow away the rest)
  4. Share it with the people you love

Following these four steps has helped me stay on track with my goals with razor sharp focus, which has led me to a more fulfilled daily life. If you’re interested in the specific techniques I used in these steps, please subscribe and stay tuned for part two!

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