When assessing the real value of minimalism, I think we get it wrong. Minimalist experts have long preached that minimalism is an approach to want and do less.
In our view, minimalism is an approach to want and do more.
This paradigm was sparked in a conversation we recently had with Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. We discussed the challenge of being entrepreneurs as well as minimalists. We felt that the two lifestyles were at odds with each other.
See, we sometimes feel like we’re untrue to ourselves as we often talk about the power of saying no to commitments, yet we run this blog, we’re writing a book, we have an online store, and we still have day jobs.
Within these projects, there’s an innate desire to want to create more and to reach more people. Our weekly schedules are full. We’re not going for slow walks and meditating all day. That means we’re not minimalists, right? Hmmm…not quite.
The fact that we can fill our schedule with purpose-driven activities is a testament to the fact that we are minimalists. It takes a level of self-awareness and intentionality to effectively reduce things in your life that are not of real value so you can amplify the time you have to do meaningful things.
We often talk about paring down so you can do more of what you love. We argue that you should take that a step further and pair down so you can serve more. More than just yourself.
This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to become a social entrepreneur. We all serve in different ways.
Think about how good it feels when you help someone in need, or you contribute to your community. And I don’t mean serving others to feed your ego. I mean genuine passion and care for what you’re doing. Now imagine spending most of your time doing that?
Time, however, is finite and being of service for many of us is a ‘nice to do’ as opposed to a ‘must do’. Our lives are filled with things and commitments that prevent us from being of service.
That’s where the real value of minimalism kicks in. To add more value to the world, we must first subtract all of the non-valuable things from our lives. We need to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves when assessing what is valuable and what is not.
It’s after this exercise we can then look to do amazing things with our lives. And when you’re adding true meaningful value, there is no limit on how much you can do. Because ultimately, you will be happy, and that’s what matters.
The success of minimalism is more dependent on what you want versus what you want to get rid of. So the question for you is, what do you want to do? Be bold, be honest, and search deep within.