“Not only are my possessions not bringing happiness into my life; even worse, they are actually distracting me from the things that do!”
–Joshua Becker, The More of Less
When I mention to people the word minimalism, they often think about the style of art and design that bears the same name. Others conjure up images of sparse Spartan living (this is Spartaaa!—was waiting for an opportunity to say that) or a monastic type of habitat. When I use the term minimalism, I often refer to a philosophy of life that enables us to do what matters most. And I often argue in this blog that what matters most to us should be in line with the very things that matter most to God.
I like Joshua Becker’s definition of minimalism found in his book, The More of Less. He defines minimalism as “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them” (p. 18).
Minimalism is often translated into the reduction of material possessions. And there will most likely be a reduction of personal belongings especially if you’ve been heavily influenced by a North American culture. But it would be a mistake to think that minimalism is all about minimizing possessions for minimization sake. There’s an important point to minimalism: the promotion of what matters most in life. If we fully grasp what’s most important to us, the natural recourse would be to pursue it even at great cost and at the exclusion of other “good” things in life. We’re going to have to leave behind the distractions that will take us away from pursuing what matters most. And that will most likely include all the clutter—material and immaterial—we possess in our lives.
I found The More of Less to be a good primer on the whole concept of minimalism. It was written by Joshua Becker who is the guy behind becomingminimalist.com. You can check out some of his work there. If you’re looking for a good introduction to minimalism, this book will be an excellent option.