My time with maximalism taught be I don’t need much stuff

I have to be honest, I have let a lot slip in the past few months. To me, I had it in the back of my mind that I had to try new things that would usually be ignored. New experiences, lifestyle choices, a ton of new apps, different approaches to social media use, and to live a little with maximalism, just to name a few.

I’ve had fun, discovered new things and lived to tell the tale. But it comes at a cost, mentally, physically and financially. Just my overindulgence in apps has been overwhelming and costly. A lot of time wasted, but I learnt new things that I can apply across over apps.

A collection of note-taking apps I have spent two months testing out together.

The brunt of the whole experience will not be paraded all over this blog. The details of my endeavour will be stretched over multiple blogs (I’ve got to earn that money somehow).

If anything, the experience of going all in with maximalism showed me the impact the world has on the human mind and body. I could not imagine living in a part of the world where you are subjected to advertisements everywhere you go, junk food galore and excessive debt (you know where I’m talking about).

The less you own, the more freedom you have. — Angela Horn

Simplicity is best.

Simplicity is best. You would be mistaken to think minimalism is all about having less. The only part that is ‘Less’ would be ‘less stress’. Just like Horn mentions in her TEDx talk, we actually experience more. More money and more time for a start.

Not only have I wasted money on stuff I have recently acquired, I have spent too many hours consuming or messing around with stuff. None of it brought me joy, money, or my time back. I am in deficit, in fact.

I am happy I have experimented with the life I would have led if it weren’t for my fortunate discovery of minimalism, alongside stoicism and essentialism (plenty of isms, I know).

But now — it is time to go back to my happy place. Somewhere I know I thrive and become a happier person. Some might see the journey as doing without. It is. It is doing without the things I don’t need in my life.

Just this morning, I cancelled three subscriptions and deleted three apps from my life. The list will certainly expand. Tumblr and Reddit went, too. By focusing on less, you give other things more value.

Less But Better

There was an adorning moment when I was reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Gregory McKeown. Gregory spoke about a lead designer at Braun who thought everything was noise. He had an eye for observing what was truly essential. Dieter’s design criteria can be captured in three simple words — Less But Better (translated from the German words: Weniger aber better). He changed an industry by inventing the clear top record player, which was a far-cry from the furniture infused offerings at the time.

Emphasising Dieter Ram’s point, we can get better outcomes with fewer things in our life. Both minimalism and essentialism have a pursuit of less but better. Get rid of the trivial many to focus on the essential few.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

As much as people knocked Steve Jobs at Apple, he had it right when he was re-instated as interim CEO. Getting rid of all the products and focusing on a small handful, but doing them better. On his return to Apple, he removed 70 percent of the stuff on the product road map. Jobs’ “Think Different” opening to Apple Employees on 23rd September 1997 was a poignant moment, as he said they would only work on 30 percent of the products. To get back to basics and do it better.

To quote Steve Jobs on his drive for Less But Better — “A lot of this doesn’t make sense, and it’s way too much stuff, and there’s not enough focus.” There lies the issue with myself presently, and I know millions around the world could relate. We are absorbing and chasing too much stuff to truly get the basics as perfect as they can be.

Dieter Rams and Steve Jobs both knew that we need to have fewer distractions in life to truly enjoy life. This is essentially what I am doing. I’m removing everything I don’t see as essential and focusing intently on those things that stay in my life.

I will keep you posted on my progress. There might be some shock changes along the way.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Mark @ CodeMacLife

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