I must confess. I LOVE minimalism and everything it represents—to the point where I consciously created this blog, wrote a book, and then later a podcast, covering topics on minimalism. Heck, even my company is named “Minimalist Company”!
So, you want to know what is so great about minimalism? I have a lot to share on this topic as you can probably imagine, but I’ll keep it simple. Here’s my bias answer sharing five benefits I’ve experienced personally as a result of minimalism.
Benefit 1 – Minimalism changes the way you view success.
For as long as I could remember, influences in my life, including; my family, teachers, friends, bosses, girlfriends—success was always defined by having access to more things.
It was about obtaining a respectable high-paying career to fund a lavish lifestyle. And I was completely bought into this idea! I sought careers in accounting and finance, intending to become a partner in a firm.
Not only for the title, but for all of the lucrative paychecks to be able to pay for a large house, a VW Golf R, clothes with high-end labels, and generally, the ability to not have to worry about paying for things I wanted.
However, it wasn’t until I left the corporate world in 2013 that I was forced to look for different answers. Through that journey, I stumbled across blogs like Zen Habits and Be More With Less, that were flipping the equation of success on its head.
Instead of having the goal to access more things, the goal was to eliminate anything unnecessary and non-essential ruthlessly. You start seeing that everything you want and need, you already have, or at the very least, you can begin to pursue.
When you start reflecting on why you want those material possessions, you soon start to realise that there is no long term life satisfaction from owning more stuff. You’re always seeking the next gratification which can leave you feeling great highs and some very deep lows when it wears off.
Benefit 2 – You stop caring about what society thinks of you.
When you start to see culture as a consumerist machine, the opinions of others, that used to influence you, start falling by the waist-side.
I remember when I first became a minimalist in 2014, advertisements for what I thought were unnecessary products triggered a visceral emotional reaction. Before minimalism, I was a slave to propaganda, and to an extent I still am (there’s no escaping it, unless you’re fully self-sustained on a plot of land in the middle of nowhere).
I developed the sensitivity of what was being sold to us, not just the sheer volume of things, but also the lifestyles.
For example, your 30s come around, and therefore you need a life-partner, a house, child/ren, a steady job, and adequate vacation time to go away with your family every year. It’s like we’re in a trance of what society has taught us about how we should live out our lives.
So minimalism helps you to break out of the trance and look within for contentment. And when you start becoming more in tune with what you truly want, the opinion of your parents and close friends no longer matter. You start to live YOUR life how YOU want.
And it’s not like you’re rude, people around you feel it too. There’s a conviction that has developed in me as a result of minimalism. I know what I want, what makes me happy, and I have no qualms removing any distractions to get there, which brings me to the next benefit.
Benefit 3 – There’s nowhere to hide with minimalism.
Minimalism, at least in my experience, calls you out on your bullsh*t. When you methodically strip away non-essentials from your life, what’s left? What do you really want?
Depending on where you’re at in life, the question of “what do you really want?” is either super clarifying or completely overwhelming. But that’s the gift of minimalism. You strip away everything so you can finally start to think about what you want. And this is terrifying, because what if you don’t know?
That’s the point. There’s no more hiding behind things, people, expectations, careers. When all of that is limited, it’s just you. And this to me is perhaps the most transformative benefit of minimalism.
After playing basketball for over 20 years, I quit. After being conditioned to get a stable career and achieving that goal as an accountant, I quit. After starting an online store that created restrictions in my life, I quit. I made all of these decisions because I got clear on what I wanted to do. I wasn’t locked down by sunk-cost bias. Minimalism enabled me to continue to find the answer to the question, what do I want? And to this day, it continues to serve me.
I’m now working full-time with Maša as an online content creator here on TMV, and we have plans of moving from Australia to pursue an incredibly low-cost and low-waste life in Slovenia. How is that for intention?
As soon as I start to feel unclear again, I strip everything back and return to the basics, to my roots and go from there. When you’re open and honest with yourself on what you want out of life, you can put yourself in a situation where almost anything is possible.
It’s very eye-opening.
Benefit 4 – Minimalism is beautiful.
I intentionally did not write about this benefit first, because I understand that when most of us think of minimalism, we often think of the gorgeous aesthetics. Whether it’s black on black, open white space, clean lines, iPhones (or Apple anything), clean code, you get the picture.
Minimalism is sexy. The word is attractive, and what it represents is linked to the beauty of simplicity.
And I get it. Achieving simplicity is no easy feat, especially as we’re increasingly bombarded with messages to make our lives more complicated. It’s easier to add then it is to subtract.
But when it’s all said and done, I’m a sucker for minimalist design. I find it freeing and calming to visually see representations of simplicity. And minimalism is a fantastic tool to achieve such an expression. After all, minimalism did start with design.
Benefit 5 – Minimalism helps you spend less.
Now, if you’re completely smitten by the aesthetics of minimalism, you risk falling into the trap of eliminating your things, only to replace them with beautiful things, justifying that it was as essential to you. I say this from experience!
You watch a minimalist home tour on YouTube and the next minute; you want to transform your home decor to look like a minimalist Scandinavian dream apartment, triggering your consumerist instincts—thus spending more money.
But if you’re aware of this trap, I’ve found that minimalism has helped me financially in ways I didn’t think was possible.
After becoming a minimalist, I consumed less. Meaning I buy fewer things than I used to. I also removed a ton of stuff from my life that cost money. For example, instead of gym memberships and sports clubs, I opted to walk my dog, and do simple 7-minute workouts using free smartphone apps.
I spend way less on clothes each year, opting to go for a personal uniform. We’ve also gone carless, saving on gas, registration, insurance and service fees.
And if those examples seem insignificant, minimalism helped me clear over $20k in debt in 6 months!
It’s motivating when you start seeing how much you can push yourself to live with less. What you thought you needed a year ago, no longer holds that same value today. It’s a fun evolution and again, the opposite approach of the status quo of continually looking for ways to add things to your life in a materialistic way.
So do I think minimalism is great? You bet! But hopefully what I’ve shared has challenged you to think more deeply about the philosophy of minimalism. The way I see it is that minimalism is a tool to live with incredible intentionality. So now you have to figure out, what are your intentions and why. Be open to being vulnerable with yourself and go on that journey to discover something deeper than the things you can touch.
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