The Minimalist Mindset: Small Is The New Big

the minimalist mindset

To understand the minimalist mindset, you first must understand the power of small.

There’s so much beauty in small. Celebrate it.

When you’re small, you can go deep with what you already have.

When you’re small, you’re more nimble, agile and responsive to change.

When you’re small, you have fewer responsibilities and commitments which frees you up to have richer experiences with less pressure.

When you’re small, you’re limited by constraints, which creates opportunities to innovate and have breakthroughs.

When you’re small, you can take more risks.

Small is beautiful.

When you’re big, on the other hand, you have dead weight and can’t move a quickly as you would like.

When you’re big, you have to make more decisions.

When you’re big, you have less opportunity to change.

When you’re big, you have more to lose.

So next time you desire a bigger house, a bigger flat-screen TV, or a bigger paycheque, think about how powerful it is to be small.

Being small and staying small is an art. It involves fighting social pressures and advertising to maintain your liberty. It means being content with less. It also means being confident in what you already have. This is the minimalist mindset.

Here are some case studies of people who have mastered the art of small and are much better because of it.

More money, more problems.

Colin Wright, the founder of Exile Lifestyle, ran a branding studio in LA, earning $150,000 per year. Even then, he was offered a more lucrative salary by another company. But instead of doing what most of us would do, and chase the big dollars, Colin made a drastic lifestyle change and became a self-published author.

This new career path enabled him to live in a different country every four months and comfortably support himself off as little as $30,000 per year. He now has more happiness and freedom than what he had when he was earning five times as much as he is now.

Check out this interview to learn more about Colin’s journey on downsizing his life.

No car, no problem.

Leo Babauta, his wife, and six children went small and ditched their family van. When they moved cities, they intentionally bought a house that was close to public transport. The family of eight take the bus, train, ride and walk everywhere. Saving money and improving their health at the same time. Furthermore, a car-less life creates more experiences.

Walking is amazing. It costs nothing, and yet you get fresh air, see people, see nature, see stores and restaurants and houses and plants you never would have in a car. You get in great shape. My little four-year-old can walk for miles, and sing while doing it. She runs up hills. – Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Here’s Leo’s blog post about living a car-free life with a big family.


Joshua Becker and his family were living the American Dream. The just bought a two-story 2200sq house to live out their lives. However, as Joshua learned more about the power of small, three years later, they managed to buy a house half the size and half their mortgage payments along the way. Beyond saving money, they’ve saved time up-keeping a larger property. Read the full article here.

Our experience.

In addition to these examples, we’ve also experienced the incredible benefits of going small. Minimalism has helped us to downsize our lives, clear our debts, go vegan, and pursue our dream careers of being content creators. We owe all of this to our mentality of embracing what it means to live small. This is what it means to have a minimalist mindset.

Celebrate small and embrace the minimalist mindset.

No matter what your situation is, you can always decide to go either big or small. We’ve mistakenly linked big to success and happiness when we can always find contentment in small.

What do you think?

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  • Tracy 27/09/2015 Reply

    I can totally relate to Colin Wright’s story. I had a well paid London career whilst bringing up my daughter as a single parent. I had a nice house, lots of things but no time. So 11 years ago I decided to change & took a huge pay cut to work part time in a friend’s business. Best move I ever made. That friend became the love of my life and we are now happily married and both working part time. Material things that seemed important once are a distant memory as they have been replaced by contentment.

    • Great story Tracy! I admire your courage – and it looks like it paid off for you. I’m curious though, what was going through your mind when you first decided to work part-time whilst raising your daughter? Did your friends and family think it was strange for you to be give up a well-paying job?

      • Tracy 04/10/2015 Reply

        My daughter was 5 years old when I changed jobs. I had spent a lot of time either at work or bringing work home with me as I felt I had to to prove something to other people (in a male dominated business environment) and I wanted to provide the best for us both. Eventually it dawned on me that I would never get precious ‘growing up’ time back. My family backed me 100% as they could see it would benefit Amelia too. It’s been worth it as we maintain a close bond which is no easy feat with a 17 year old!

        • Wow, what an inspiring story! It’s amazing what that feeling of needing to prove something can dramatically affect the way we live day to day. Thanks for sharing. It’s all worth it!

  • Anna 27/09/2015 Reply

    Going small is a major overhaul for me. It’s taken more than half my life to get to the point where I am actually “doing the work” and eliminating excesses. Already, I’m able to live that one small part of my life stress-free: what clothes will I wear today? Now that I’ve gotten the tools to guide me so that I am not overwhelmed, going small is an enjoyable personal journey of self-re-discovery.

    • That’s great Anna, thanks of sharing your journey with us. It’s such a good feeling when you can actually start paring down 🙂

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