My Take on Simplicity in Life

The trend of minimalist, simplicity and mindful living have been growing substantially in the last decade, the idea of simple living has been echoed through the internet and become a hit as people are becoming more aware of how too many things they accumulated doesn’t lead to the life they wanted at the start. Look for “simple living” in google and you’ll find 125.000 results, with excellent articles from zenhabits, simple, and other websites detailing on the way and definition of how a person could be considered as “minimalist”. One thing I noticed is that women are more open and participative in either writing articles or forum of such discussion, however it doesn’t mean that simple living is gravitating toward certain gender, it’s simply an observation.

So what is all the fuss about? Why should I care about having only 30 shirts when my wardrobe could fit 300? Isn’t having 10 pair of shoes better than having only 2 pairs? You are telling me not to keep all the free stuff given to me?

Five years ago, I would agree that having more in general is better than living with minimum amount of possession, but then things happened that completely altered my mindset. Before dwelling on the concept further, let me share the story of how I stumbled to the idea of simple living. I was eighteen and graduating from high school in suburban area, about 60 Km from the city. As my sister and me enrolled in a medical school located in the city, our family moved from a decent size, two-and-a-half story house to 100 square meter apartment in the city. At the time, I had six containers of childhood toys, dozens of bags, countless comics and novels, four cameras and several lenses, gadgets (Nintendo DS, gameboy, 5 iPods), no less than a hundred clothing, and accessories I can’t remember anymore. In short, lots of stuff.

Only after we accumulate number things beyond our threshold that we realise how those same things we bought become a burden. Every goods we bought take place in our house, get dusty and need to be maintained over certain period of time, whether it is a servicing, cleaning, polishing, etc. In my case, moving to a smaller house made me rethink the approach I had for shopping. It was my trigger for more conscious living, and since then I haven’t look back. With each unessential goods I gave or sell away, I felt that I’m progressing toward something better, there is a feeling that I’m doing the right thing. Heck, I even smile when I see my wardrobe neatly organised and free of clutter.

For a lot of people, the idea of having more is always better. Lots of time, people bought goods for anticipation of events that never happen. Human is a very creative and imaginative creature, we could visualise how we would need the goods in the future when we are shopping, when in reality, we don’t! Even things we crave for months gets boring after we acquire it, it’s like chasing winds.

These day, I would take quality over quantity when buying goods I need. I didn’t buy things I don’t see myself using in then next 5 years, but when I do buy something, I strive for the best quality. More often than not, we buy things because we want what others have, the impulse comes from seeing other people using the goods, instead of coming from ourselves. For such situation, I could simply ask, “how significant is the good impacting to my life?”. When the answer is not definite “yes”, I know that I don’t want to buy the good in the long term.

Another great blog



About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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