A primer on simplicity: 17 ways to practice minimalist living
Simplicity has been deemed a virtue since the beginning of documented history. We've outlined 17 minimalist living strategies to support you in living more simply.
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem | More things should not be used than are necessary
If you've ever studied or picked up a book on logic, then you've likely come across this latin quote. It is typically associated with Occam's Razor, a theory highly regarded by philosophers and scientists alike. Occam's Razor is a problem-solving theory that states if there are many different explanations for a phenomenon, the simplest one is most likely correct.
It is just one of many principles that illustrate how nature has a propensity for simplicity. And, being part of nature, humans also exhibit this inclination. From ancient to modern times, simplicity has always been deemed as a virtue. At the heart of this alluring value is eliminating the extraneous so you can get to the essential.
We are such advocates of simplicity that we own and operate a brand, aptly titled Minimalism Co., that is dedicated to minimalist living, design and art. In partnership with thought leaders in the simple living space, including The Minimalists and Joshua Becker, Minimalism Co. has compiled a collection of over 17 courses, eBooks and tools to help you simplify your life.
We've analyzed these resources to extract some of their most important themes and created a list of 17 different ways you can practice minimalist living, starting now. The pursuit of simplicity seems to be inherent. If you've felt the tug towards adopting a more easy and efficient way of living, here's how to heed the call.
1. Build enduring happiness
Happiness is not the fleeting one-off feelings of pleasure you may mistakenly think it is. Happiness is an enduring sense of contentment with life you can only have when you focus on what matters.
2. Adopt a Stoic mindset
If we had to choose one philosophy for learning how to regulate your feelings and practice simplicity, even in the midst of unavoidable complexity, it would be Stoicism. Living by the core tenets of the Stoic philosophy can have a powerful and positive effect on your mindset.
3. Embrace your shadow
When it comes to many of the adverse situations we deal with in life, often it's not external but our own internal dramas that are the culprits. Understanding and accepting your hidden, shadow self is a powerful way to exert more control over your circumstances.
4. Know your personality
There's the hidden self and then there's the self that is on display for all to see. This is what we call your personality. However, even though you and everyone else sees it, it doesn't mean you understand it. Taking a personality test can explain how you tick, which is essential for navigating life effectively.
5. Cultivate emotional intelligence
You know what we all struggle with, all of the time? Relationships. The interactions we have with family, friends, colleagues and even strangers can either be a source of stress or a source of delight. To ensure they are more often the latter, improving your emotional intelligence is a must.
6. Manifest with intention
Unless you want it to be, manifestation is less about esotericism and more about following a rational process for bringing forth your ideas and desires. The more skilled you become at these techniques, the easier it will be to create the change you desire.
7. Find your power
Acting with power, without stripping away someone else’s, is key to thriving personally and professionally. So going through the process of recognizing and stepping confidently into your personal power is central to living with intention.
8. Manage your energy
Certain situations in life require a significant amount of personal reserves especially if you are a highly sensitive person. Knowing how to manage the daily ups and downs, positives and negatives, will help you expend energy more efficiently.
9. Overcome overwhelm
Feelings of overwhelm are clear symptoms that certain areas in your life have become too complicated. Yet in line with the minimalist philosophy, sometimes a deductive approach (removing, stopping, or avoiding) is a more effective means of reduce stress and anxiety.
10. Get unstuck
Feeling stuck is an often cited life complexity, so having methods for maneuvering out of seemingly hopeless circumstances is pertinent to a simple life.
11. Develop a growth mindset
Your mindset largely influences how your life flows, so elevating the way you think is a foundational step and requisite for simplification.
12. Embrace procrastination
There are reasons why it's sometimes easier and better to embrace procrastination instead of try to overcome it. In fact, procrastination — i.e. delaying or even refusing to do certain things — is a necessity for optimal mental and physical performance.
13. Create a daily routine
Using a routine to be more intentional in what you want out of the day and more thoughtful in planning is a perfect way to start simplifying your life.
14. Learn your love language
Life will become easier when you understand how you express and experience love, and learn how to interpret the love languages of others.
15. Nurture your creativity
Like simplicity, humans have a natural inclination towards creativity. Nurturing your ideas and imagination is a simple way to feel more fulfilled in life.
16. Find an accountability partner
Staying true to any goals, including the pursuit of simplicity, can be difficult. Bringing in an accountability partner, such as a loved one or life coach, makes it easier to be consistent and remain committed.
17. Curate your mental models
Mental models are actionable ideas that aid you in making decisions and changes in the most efficient way possible. The easiest way to find these actionable ideas is to read reputable books that you can borrow insights from.
Simplicity is not just about owning a handful of items or organizing your space in a pretty way. It's about adopting relevant mental models that help you identify and remove complexity from each area of your life. The techniques above incorporate scientific, philosophical and spiritual principles that empower you to live with intention. To dive deeper into the philosophy of minimalism, join our community to get access to the Simplicity Bundle and more minimalist living resources.