6 min read ⌚
Live a Meaningful Life
You deserve to live a meaningful life.
And “Minimalism” may be the path to it.
Say… well, the Minimalists.
Who Should Read “Minimalism”? And Why?
Minimalist lifestyle – to quote Leo Babauta, one of its champions and most prominent figures – “boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”
So, something like tidying up… the cluttered rooms of your very own life!
If you still don’t get what this book is about, let us put it this way: Henry David Thoreau would have certainly approved it!
Which, to expand on the previous sentence, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to actively live – or even want to pursue living – a Minimalist life to enjoy this book.
Just like you can read “Walden” and find out what it means to “go to the woods and suck the marrow of life” without even getting up from your cozy bed, you can read “Minimalism” and discover what being happy actually means without even a single attempt at how simple living actually looks like.
So, really, this book is for anyone who’s not pleased with how his or her current life looks like.
Which, unfortunately, we guess means about 99% of the people on this planet.
About The Minimalists (aka Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus)
They were both born in 1981 and lived a comparatively similar life until their thirtieth year when each of them stopped chasing the American Dream and started living their own.
They have written few books together chronicling their transformation and giving advice to other people who want to start living a simpler life.
Find out everything at https://www.theminimalists.com/
“Minimalism PDF Summary”
According to almost every thinker and philosopher who has ever lived – sorry, Eric G. Wilson, you are alone here! – the goal of the good life is to be a happy person.
But, equations aside, does anybody really know what happiness means?
Just like, say, time, it seems that happiness is something you can only experience for yourself – it’s difficult to grasp the concept or give a general definition which will be to everyone’s liking.
Happiness,” claim the Minimalists, “comes from within, from inside yourself, from living a meaningful life.
And then they add:
Real happiness… comes from who we are – from who we’ve become.
And who we are is certainly not what we own or, even less, what we don’t own.
Who we are Is something far more immaterial.
And far more essential.
Well, minimalism is all about finding the essential in your life!
And since it is your life, minimalism can only be expressed on a case by case basis.
In the words of the authors:
Minimalism is a lifestyle choice. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous to your life.
The goal, however, remains the same: to live a meaningful life.
And, according to the Minimalists, whatever may be essential to you, your meaningful life should always be built around five core values: health, relationships, passions, growth, and contribution.
Let’s have a look at each of them.
Living a healthy life is obviously a prerequisite to living a meaningful life.
According to the minimalists, living healthy is all about adhering to four tenets:
a. Eating a nutritional diet
Nothing you didn’t know already here: sugar and processed foods should be avoided, fruits and vegetables, organ foods and legumes, water and fish – all should be increased.
The most important thing: diet shouldn’t be a fad, but a lifestyle choice.
In other words, you’ll do no wrong if you practice one of these dietary regimes: veganism, vegetarianism, pescetarianism, paleo, or intermittent fasting.
b. Exercising regularly
Exercising should be both mandatory and fun.
The former because it contributes to your physical health and relieves stress, the latter because you don’t need a body of an Apollo to live a healthy and meaningful life.
18 minutes – and no more than 5 sets of push-ups, pull-ups and air squats – should do!
c. Eliminating harmful substances
This is self-explanatory: harmful substances can lead to nowhere but death.
d. Treating your body as a precious possession
Your body is, by far, your more prized possession.
In fact, it is the only one you can’t live without.
Don’t ever forget that.
Everyone wants to love and be loved.
However, there’s no point being in a relationship – whether with a friend or a lover – which doesn’t make you happy.
In fact, all of your relationships should be based on eight elements: love, trust, honesty, caring, support, attention, authenticity, and understanding.
If you focus on the above eight elements, you will strengthen your relationships more than you thought possible. Sure, it takes a considerable amount of hard work, focus, and time, but having meaningful relationships is worth every bit of effort you put into them.
If the American Dream is a hefty paycheck after a Monday to Friday 9-to-5 job – then count us out!
And consider counting yourself out this very second!
Because work shouldn’t be about money – it should be about passion!
It should be about the spark in your eyes and about the interest to talk about what you do for hours and hours with trembling lips and knees!
Compare this to “Well, I’m an accountant…”
How to find your passion?
Ask yourself “What would you do with your life if money wasn’t an object?”
Stagnation is one of happiness’ greatest enemies.
Because nobody likes to live in a status quo.
And yet – most of us do!
No matter where you are in your life, “you must continue to improve,” write the Minimalists, “you must continue to grow. If you’re not growing, you’re dying; and if you’re dying, then, by definition, you’re not living a meaningful life.”
The key to growth?
Step by step – you’ll get to the top!
Back in the 19th century, Karl Marx was terrified that people have been thoroughly alienated from themselves and from others through their jobs – instead of the opposite!
How much satisfaction can a man get from writing a report and feeling that he has contributed nothing to society?
Well, the Minimalists share the same feeling: “a life without contribution,” they write, “is a life without meaning.”
And since “giving is living” – do that.
All the time.
Key Lessons from “Minimalism”
1. The Five Values of Minimalism
2. The Benefits of Minimalism
3. Start Living Minimally… and Meaningfully
The Five Values of Minimalism
Minimal living is all about doing away with the unnecessary and building your life on the foundations of the essential.
And there are five core values around which everyone’s essential revolves: health, relationships, passions, growth, and contribution.
The Benefits of Minimalism
What are the benefits of minimalism?
First, you will get rid of many things you don’t need and many “anchors” that hold you back.
Then, you’ll realize that you have, in fact, a lot more time than you ever thought was possible.
You can use this time to discover and pursue your passions or set a life mission.
Or, if that’s what makes you happy, you can begin experiencing true freedom and start enjoying life.
It’s your life.
The point is to reclaim it.
Start Living Minimally… and Meaningfully
In order to start a minimal lifestyle, you first need to put down in writing your anchors, i.e., the things which hinder your personal growth.
Next, divide them into major (debts, unhealthy relationships) and minor anchors (bills, time-wasting activities…).
Obviously, start eliminating the former: pay off your debts and put an end to every relationship which you feel that it makes you unhappy.
Finally, start getting rid of all material possessions which you don’t use regularly and don’t spark some joy in you.
You’re ready to go!
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Our Critical Review
Unfortunately, the general public lives not only a mediocre, but a very wrong life: it tends to love objects and use people.
The Minimalists believe that only the opposite makes sense.
Because loving people and using objects doesn’t only mean setting your priorities straight, but it also means finding some joy in being yourself and not being the one who can’t do without some material objects.
Because, essentially, minimalism doesn’t mean possessing less than 288 things. It means possessing only what truly expresses you, even if that’s more than your body and your passions.
“Minimalism” argues – rather convincingly – that there’s no other way to be happy.
So, read it – not because it can, but because it should change your life.
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