Personally, I like to keep as little stuff as possible. I moved places quite a few times in my life, and every time I do so, I get rid of many things I don’t really need. I embrace minimalism like that. Maybe it’s clothes I don’t wear anymore. Or maybe it’s books I have read and don’t intend to look into again. Whatever it is, the result is that I find myself with few enough possessions that I have made a list of everything I own. Turns out most of my stuff is kitchen tools…
I find that it brings me a sense of calm to have few possessions. I get the feeling that I am in control of the content of my household, instead of my stuff controlling me. This feeling touches on the movement of minimalism. Minimalism is intentional living with only the things you really need. By getting rid of the clutter, by getting rid of the shit you don’t need, you create more space for the things that you really care about.
In 1896 the italian economist Vilfredo Pareto formulated what is now popularly known as the 80/20 rule. It states that in many situations, 80% of the outcomes come from 20% of the causes. We can apply this to our own lives and see that 80% of the happiness you find in relating to your household comes from 20% of the contents of it. So it’s about time that we get rid of the remaining 80% of our stuff that adds only marginally to our lives!
As this principle applies to our physical clutter, it also applies to mental clutter. We are all experiencing a constant stream of thoughts, but only 20% of these thoughts contribute to our happiness. What’s more, the remaining 80% of mental clutter is taking up space that we should be using to enjoy ourselves.
Think about it. The purpose of a jar stems from it being empty. How do you want to enjoy your jar if it’s stuffed with shit?
When you stop for a second and say to your mind: go ahead, I am listening. Then that is the moment your mind will go silent. Your mind is run by resistance. Without you adding resistance, your mind will gently roll to a halt.
Here are some concrete things to let go of
1. Let go of taking things personally
What other people say, or how other people behave, has very little to do with you and a lot with them.
2. Let go of what other people think
You can’t know what other people are thinking. You are probably just worrying about what you think that they think. Besides, does it matter what they think?
3. Let go of trying to be something or someone.
You are already yourself, and that is quite enough. We recently talked about identity in I know your biggest fear, and how our sense of identity boils down to the simple answer: “I am me”!
4. Let go of trying to be perfect
Who wants to be friends with someone who is perfect? Nobody is perfect. People can relate much better to someone who is full of flaws, because they will feel less insecure about their own flaws. Simply be you, because that’s what makes you great.
5. Let go of postponing
You are worthy of your every ambition. It’s about time you start believing in that.
6. Let go of trying to control that what is outside of your control
A wise person does not have immutable principles and ideas. A wise person adjusts to those around them. You cannot control the people and events around you.
I hope that the next time you move places, you don’t drag all that shit with you.