Tis’ the season to be jolly and accumulation of material goods. According to the 2016 American Household Credit Card study: The average American owes $16,061 in Credit Card debt, $172,806 in Mortgages, $28,535 in Auto Loans, and $49,0942 in Student Loans (https://goo.gl/esK4GN).
The average household owes $132,529 in debt and carries $1,300 of credit card interest per year – Erin El Issa
How the heck did we get here? Why did we do it? And how do we get out?
How? Simple answer: we bought crap. No one ‘made’ us do it. No one held a gun to our heads. Unless it was a medical or life/death situation, no one died because we didn’t get the latest appliance, shoes, or gadgets.
Why? Because we are zombies. We are creatures of habit (related: https://goo.gl/UogdcD). We are followers and sheep-like creatures (related: https://goo.gl/aZJqjM). We fear that if we don’t buy something for ourselves, our kids, our friends, our families, our boss, our girlfriends/boyfriends – that there is something wrong with us. We see and hear about 5,000 ads a day. From TV, internet radio, online videos, apps, etc. These advertisers understand human psychology and what makes a person want to pull out his/her wallet or simply press a button. Brands spend billions on research, data, behavior analytics to know what makes you tick, what makes you happy, what makes you sad. Ads are meant to be ‘Aspirational’ providing a sense of accomplishment should you emulate the people in those ads. And by purchasing and experiencing the benefits of their products you too will have a great life. We all know this is B.S, but we follow along anyways. Why? Refer to the first sentence of this paragraph – we are in a state of autopilot.
Minimalism is not a movement. It’s a state of mind. It’s a process. We have to constantly train ourselves to understand the value of the things, people, and actions in our own lives. Do throw pillows bring any value to your life? Does having 12 pairs of jeans really necessary, when only 3 of those jeans are worn, while 9 sit collecting dust? Quality over quantity.
The Netflix documentary Minimalism provides a great perspective on how living a simpler, less cluttered life will provide deeper meaning and happiness. I am not advocating that we all must move to a log cabin in the forest and live with less comfort and deprive ourselves of necessities, or removing all luxuries of life. However, we do need to look around and consider downsizing to only the things needed to function and provide comfort, without excess. And anything that does not provide value or get used on a daily/weekly basis should be considered useless and discarded/donated/sold.
By living with less clutter we will reduce the need for resources and energy required to produce these goods (great for the environment), and deplete our own resources (our income, our energy to purchase, maintain and discard).
If you would like to read more about the techniques on how to live with more wealth, more freedom and more happiness within this Minimalistic lifestyle, check out my Amazon Kindle Book or watch the Netflix doc: Minimalism.
Neo B. Concio, Author: “The Millionaire Employee: Simple Steps to Freedom”