Hi I’m Zakary Kinnaird. I believe we can all live more intentional, deliberate, focused lives doing more of the things we love, and less of the things we don’t. Welcome to the appreciative minimalist.
I’ve always believed that I am in control of my life. I work a nine-to-five job. I relax in the weekends. I make time to do the things I love to do in life. But I still feel like much of my time is wasted, I feel a lack of control and therefore life just happens, without my direct input.
Being intentional, deliberate and focused fixed my issues with not been in control of my life. In some ways these three things sound similar, but I assure you they are not.
When I was thirteen years old I realised that things in my life where not going well. I was falling behind in school, life wasn’t going anywhere I was stuck. I blamed my teachers, I blamed the school I was in, I blamed my classmates. I would go home to bed at night and pretend I had a therapist. I would role play my issues, repeat them in my head beat for beat. I soon realised that others were not to blame for my lack of performance — in-fact I was to blame. I was responsible for my own success. So I got up the next day and I learned. I studied hard. But here is the important part, I didn’t ask anything more of my teachers, I didn’t concentrate more in class. I just started intentionally learning. Taking control of my own situation.
I learned a great life lesson:
Only you have the power to affect change in your life.
I use the affect because there has to be an action, an effect is the result, but results come so far in the future that you have no real impact on them. You can only make change on your life right now with an action, a physical movement towards something new.
Living intentionally is taking control of your life, it sounds simple but really it just means taking action on something you dislike. Which brings me to my next point.
Taking control of your life is something we all aspire too. But following through is harder than it sounds. We all know we should eat healthier and exercise more–but despite the obvious benefits we continually decide not to. You soon realise that a negative drivers don’t always work when it come to changing your routine–for that matter neither does a positive one.
To generate change it helps to take action. Once you know you are the only one that can to that, it makes it a lot easier. The question is: How can I change a routine? You might try a different path–a new route to work, school or the gym. You might even like it. You might even keep the new route. You might just like it better than the old route.
The problem is, how do you know this new path was your decision and not just blind luck?
I was staying in an Airbnb recently, I had just sold my house, packed all my things up and moved to a busy bustling city, much of my existing life was over. My life was immediately replaced with hundreds so new routes for me to take. I was sitting in the master bedroom and I looked up, on the wall I saw a large frame with a quote titled simply LIFE, it read as follows:
For what it’s worth … it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you want, you can hear Brad Pitt read the lines, and even though it’s not really a Fitzgerald quote it didn’t stop it having a profound impact on me as I read it, slowly, intentionally, deliberately modifying my life.
The truth is change is easier to make happen when you yourself are changing. When you’re in the middle of change. So being deliberate is picking a path, even if you’re not sure about it and sticking to it. It’s always easier to alter the route once you get going.
I haven’t used the words minimalism yet. I’m about to. I don’t believe minimalism is about less. I believe minimalism is about doing more of the things you enjoy. Minimalism is about less of the things you don’t enjoy.
If you don’t enjoy stuff, throw it out. It’s that simple. However I tend to enjoy stuff. I appreciate the stories they hold, the craft in creating them, the joy of using them. Removing things from my life that I love won’t help me. It will cause un-necessary stress and loss in my life.
Only change the things in your life you don’t like, because less of what you love will only make you further from yourself.
Which means minimalism is not about erasing or narrowing, minimalism is about focus.
Focusing will allow you to choose. Choice is what makes us human. It’s a universal truth, without it we are helpless. Choice separates us, it’s our ability to make decisions that allows us to not only change our environments, but also ourselves.
For example I don’t like reading the news. Many people love it, for whatever reason I don’t. I don’t like it so I don’t focus on it. I don’t remove it form my life, or stop a conversation about current events, I simply focus on other things. Focusing on other things means I choose how to spend my time and effort on other activities.
If don’t need it, don’t focus on it.
I choose to be intentional and deliberate about my actions, in doing so I affect positive change in my life—simply by focusing on it.