Getting to Minimalism through Mindset Change

My mindset is minimalism. I see any item handed in my direction as a potential problem I want to avoid. I can organize any room in my mind. I keep my to-do list crisp. I regularly scan my apartment for things to release. I read books on behavioral economics, psychology, sustainability, and mindfulness to continually explore why people do what we do and how the unintended consequences of our lives come to pass. I don’t spend much time on decision-making and internal debates. My mind is a 24/7 editor of life.

A minimalist mindset is not one-size-fits-all. Each person is different, so our perspectives will mix different ingredients in various measurements. But once this mindset clicks, it isn’t easy to see the world in any other way. That potential impulse buy becomes a senseless activity that will distract from our financial priorities. Instead of walking into a fancy home and wishing we could live there one day, we think, “Wow, all this money spent on furniture and a mortgage is keeping them trapped. I’m so glad that’s not me. Investing time into establishing efficient routines and systems becomes a regular part of life. It may even become fun.

We all have mindsets. They’re typically compounds of our values, the people we spend time with, our upbringing, and what we read and watch. Often, a mindset is created passively, comprised in part by views we haven’t consciously decided. Yet, these frameworks dictate our life choices. Therefore, investing in mindset change is paramount to an intentional life.

Suppose your mindset is that life, and any life worth living, is never-ending busyness. In that case, you will always have too much to do (and may edge toward being a self-sacrificing martyr). As a result, a peaceful lifestyle will elude you, as will more time freedom.

If you see the material world as a representation of success, wealth, or hard work, you will remain on the ultimately unsatisfying hamster wheel of accumulation. Instead, if you view your stuff as the contents of your life’s toolbox, you’ll be able to use your wealth to get high-quality tools. Additionally, you’ll enjoy more freedom by purchasing services and experiences with your extra funds.

If you see gratitude as a journaling exercise rather than something to put into practice, genuine gratitude and minimalism will always elude you. Ditto if you don’t treat the items in your home or the people in your life with honesty, compassion, and respect or if you hold onto things that you might use one day while other people less fortunate than you could use it now. However, you will easily put your gratitude into action with a gratitude mindset.

Having deep gratitude happens to be the antidote for a guilty mindset. Without it, a guilty mindset leads us toward unintentional receiving, undue stress, taking on “homework assignments” from others, and allowing our lives to be driven by what other people want from us so we won’t feel bad.

If you inherited a mindset about what a home should include through advertisements or the homes you’ve seen on tv, you have a limited perspective about what makes up a home. For example, do you need a television and couch in a living room? If you see a living room without those features as being empty, your mindset is limited. Minimalism, conversely, is a blank slate that doesn’t limit us by mainstream conventions.

If you practice mindfulness every day, you likely have a mindful mindset, which is integral to a minimalist perspective. A mindful mindset values presence, just being and tapping into your true feelings. It prevents us from giving too much weight to the past, a future that doesn’t exist, and what-if scenarios.

If you aren’t careful, you might have a scarcity mindset that overemphasizes holding on, even when we have enough. It is often related to anxiety. Conversely, a minimalist mindset is inclusive of an abundance mindset, where at any moment, we can say, “I have enough.”

Mindset dictates action, so investigate your current mindset and its influences first. Then, begin building your minimalist mindset: surround yourself with minimalist influences, clarify your values and priorities, and educate yourself about relevant topics. Then, you will start to see your life — and the world- differently. As your mindset changes, decision-making will require less effort, and your intuition will sharpen. As a result, the process of creating and maintaining a minimalist life will be quicker and more true to you.

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