We’ve all heard the phrase, “less is more”. But why is this? It turns out, there’s a psychological reason for it. Humans are wired in a way that, when presented with too many options, we actually can experience decision fatigue. Psychology Today talks more about this concept in this article.
The Minimalists would describe Minimalism as “a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” (Check out their latest Documentary here).
Greg McKeown, Author of “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” would describe Essentialism as “a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.”
You can see pretty easily how well these two things go hand in hand. While this will look different from person to person, you can imagine how much just about anyone could benefit from these ideologies.
This figure from Greg McKeown’s Book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” shows what can happen in 2 scenarios. In both scenarios, the same amount of energy is exerted. The arrows indicate progress. In the first illustration, the energy is divided among many different activities. Because of this, you can see progress in each direction, but minimally. In the 2nd illustration, because you have carefully selected your “yes”, you can make significant progress on what matters most to you.
As a minimalist and essentialist myself, I ask a list of questions to myself before I make a purchase or choose to include something in my day-to-day:
-Will this improve my life?
-Does this align with my values and goals?
-Does something else I have already do the job? If the answer is yes, but I still want it, am I willing to replace it with this one?
-Can I truly afford it / is the opportunity cost worth it?
-Does this simplify or complicate my life?
-What value does this bring to me?
I am constantly seeking to make my life more intentional. This is an ongoing process requiring constant re-evaluation. It includes: what I eat, what I buy, what I read, what I digitally consume, and who I engage with. I argue that our choices do not have neutral impacts – they are either positive or negative. Only you can know the right choices for you.