Imagine the following situation; you are watching something on television or YouTube when suddenly an advertisement appears showcasing the latest mobile phone, perhaps a designer outfit or maybe a pair of sandals. What is your first thought? You want it, right? Do you immediately look up the price and see if it fits your budget? If your answer is ‘no’ – congratulations! You are living a happy and content life but in case you said ‘yes’ – well, think again.
Is it what you really require or is it what you desire? Are you a hoarder or are you replenishing your wardrobe, house or yourself with something you actually need?
Losing peace of mind over materialistic things
We, as a society, are losing sleep over material things, successes and failures, over achieving, over expecting and always being desperate to get ahead at any cost. In doing so, we are becoming increasingly materialistic — more money, more power, more positions. Achieving these just lead to a temporary euphoria, a state of delusion. No sooner has the novelty worn off than we are again contemplating on a new purchase goal.
Our list of wants is never ending and hence peace of mind is scant in this regard. What we fail to understand is that we are not going to become happy and lead a content life by consuming or owning more. We will only end up being buried under these ‘wants’ and will spend more time craving and waiting for that diamond ring or the luxury car, than in actually using it.
Measuring your happiness quotient
If you begin eliminating all the unnecessary possessions out of your life, you will realise that you really need little to subsist on. And when this realisation dawns upon you, you will be happier and satiated. Trying to show and prove how much better and successful you are, in comparison to others, will affect you and subsequently your loved ones, both mentally and physically. Not only will this lead to deteriorating relationships with family and friends but that with the environment too.
Production levels rise to satisfy every individual’s need, and with it comes the added baggage of depletion of natural resources, increased dependency on fossil fuels, global warming and pollution. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The earth has enough to provide for every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”
Embrace the minimalistic approach
The way forward is to make our life easier and happier rather than cramming our homes and brains with a lot of unnecessary possessions. Minimalism is not about having less stuff; it is about getting rid of the excess stuff. Joshua Becker stated, “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” Adopting a minimalist approach helps clarify our priorities, makes decision making easier and calms our minds. It teaches us the importance of enjoying life based on experiences rather than on worldly possessions.
Furthermore, decluttering helps relieve societal and peer pressures of always having to match up to others. It acts as a much-needed detox towards a life of less stress. It removes toxic thoughts associated with acquiring more and more and instead creates space for the flow of positive thoughts. It ignites the passion to use our creativity and thoughts to the fullest. It lets us live and cherish the moment, rather than becoming slaves to the rat race in pursuit of acquiring fame, wealth and status.
Use the three-month rule
If you haven’t used any item in three months, you really should not be hanging on to it. Add these items to your trash,donate or sell piles. Every time you declutter, you will find it is a cathartic process. It instills within you a passion to get more out of small things, appreciate what you have and not get dismayed over what you don’t. Your freedom of mind and matter, the peace that you seek, is in your own hands now. Live life to the fullest and get more of what you love and less of what you don’t. The famous architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe put it succinctly when he said “less is more.”