February 14, 2021

Minimalism and The Pursuit of Happiness

I had an interesting chat with my friend today about decluttering. She said she’s been wanting to declutter for years but never knew where to start and how to start.

She admitted that she’s realized that ‘stuff’ doesn’t make her happy anymore and she wants to get rid of most.

It was a bit of a shock to hear that from her, to be honest as she’s one of the people who loves buying new stuff all the time, especially from charity and vintage shops. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened. What has made her want to downsize?

 She said she’d be so stressed if she had to move away in 5 weeks and seeing me moving to another country and not getting stressed about it at all, made her realize that she wants to be a minimalist but in her own way.

Minimalism & The Pursuit of Happiness

Someone said to me ‘minimalism is the key to happiness. Once they get rid of all the clutter in their lives, they will be so much happier’. 

To me, happiness is something illusional – and assuming that minimalism = happiness is not necessarily true. You see, you get some satisfaction after becoming a minimalist. You have now created more time for yourself, time which you would usually spend on something else that is not particularly important. 

But if you don’t have values, the goals you want to achieve in your life – you will very soon become very bored and unhappy. I would.

I am happy when I’m in the flow. I’m focused on something that fulfils me, whether it’s discovering a new city or learning some photography tricks online. 

What is ‘the flow’?

In his best-selling book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.

In very simple words, The Flow is when you get absorbed with something that you don’t notice how the time goes by. 

 

What are the things you want to achieve next year, in 10 years, in your life?

Perhaps you want to learn a new language, travel to 100+ countries, or write a book.

Whatever it is, it should add value to our lives – unlike all the clutter we used to buy.

To me, minimalism does not give me happiness, yet it is a first step in achieving happiness.

Minimalism applies to every part of my day, from the food I eat to the clothes I wear and the way I budget. There’s no universal rule of how many wardrobe items you must own to be considered a minimalist. I still choose to wear colourful clothes and I have more than one pair of shoes.

In a nutshell..

Getting rid of the clutter in our lives creates more opportunity for us to pursue the things we’re passionate about. But it is still up to us to make the most of the opportunity.

For me, that means travelling, spending time with people I care about, dedicating time to my passion projects, and consuming less.

What brings the greatest satisfaction in life will differ for everyone. But the important part is we continually pursue them. It is with this intentional pursuit that happiness will follow.

I challenge you to think about how you would define minimalism and then, how you can implement your definition—the one that resonates with you—into your everyday life.

I’m always curious to read more on this topic. Let me know your thoughts about minimalism and happiness below.

2 responses to “Minimalism and The Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. Emily says:

    I like your article! I started living a minimalist life in Aug 2020, and I found it amazing as living simpler is a way to be happier. It’s not only about spending less money so to save more, but less time spent to tidy my house, worry about bills etc.

  2. gunel says:

    Thank you so much! Exactly, for me it’s more about living intentionally, having less stuff and clutter.

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