Do less, do what you do better, don’t get distracted along the way
“One day” is the worst thing we tell ourselves when we do our shopping. I used to buy a lot of things for the ideal version of myself, so clothes I wanted professional Cait to wear, or books I wanted smart Cait to read. I would think I should read these books, but I don’t want to, and that’s okay. I was spending a lot of money on my idealized version of myself.
If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it. Things are so different in practice versus in theory. The only way to know is to experience it yourself.
Get rid of it
If you’re in doubt about something that’s in your life already, get rid of it. Not just things, this goes for identities, habits, goals, relationships, technology, and anything else. Default to not having it, then see how you do without.
No really, get rid of it
Err on the side of no. Get rid of it. Start with a clean slate, If it was a mistake, you’ll get it back with a renewed enthusiasm.
Ed Catmull in Creativity, Inc.:
The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal‐ it leads to measuring people by mistakes they make rather than by their ability to solve problems.
Joshua Becker writing for Becoming Minimalist:
Purchase only what you need to more effectively accomplish your unique role in this world—everything else is only a distraction. Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you should.
Joshua Becker writing for Becoming Minimalist
Not only does shopping not deliver freedom, it brings the exact opposite. Each purchase we make adds extra worry to our lives. Every physical item we own represents one more thing that can be broken, scratched, or stolen. The sense of freedom that comes from owning less is truly refreshing. Indeed, it is more than a feeling; it is a reality that can define your life.
The less you require to maintain your desired standard of living, the longer you can maintain it without additional income. This isn’t about celebrating a poverty mentality. Quite the opposite. It’s an acknowledgment that once you find what works, you can remove everything else.
My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.
~ C.S. Lewis in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Atul Gawande in the The Checklist Manifesto:
Discipline is hard — harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconstant creatures. We can’t even keep from snacking in between meals. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at.
Imagine owning very little, living in a spare room, eating simple whole food, not being involved in social media, just working, reading, walking, spending time with loved ones. Meditating, drinking tea.
Sounds just about right.