Minimalism for Millennials

Practicing Minimalism for Millennials

I frequently feel overwhelmed. The majority of my day is spent staring at a computer screen, either for work, school, blogging, or leisure (i.e. watching Netflix while doing one of the previously mentioned activities). There is very little time to just sit and think. If I find myself doing nothing, it’s incredibly uncomfortable and boring to sit with my own thoughts. Which is sad, but true. And I know I’m not alone in this.

Our minds and lives are cluttered. That’s why I loved The Minimalists Podcast, hosted by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. In the past, my definition of minimalism was simply owning as few possessions as possible. Which, I thought was a little strange. After listening to this podcast and learning the “why” behind a minimalist’s thought processes, I realized that minimalism is a lifestyle. It can be applied to many areas of your life, and everyone can have their own definition of minimalism.

For Josh and Ryan, minimalism is living a meaningful life with less. Now, “less” is going to look different for everyone. After applying minimalist concepts, one person might own 30,000 items, while someone who has never applied the concepts only owns 1,000 items. The number doesn’t matter. At all. It’s all about how the things you do and the things you own add value to your life.

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That being said, here are the themes I noticed after listening to 15 episodes of The Minimalists Podcast:

Know What’s Important

One main reason for integrating minimalism into your life is to figure out the things that are really important to you. By downsizing the distractions and junk that are constantly in our way, it makes it easier to focus on things that truly matter. For example, by owning fewer items your home will be less cluttered and you’ll spend less time cleaning. With that extra time, you’ll be able to spend more time other things. This could include spending time with family and friends or cultivating your passion.

In the process of figuring out what’s most important, you have to choose where your time and energy is best spent. This requires the understand that you will always be missing out on something. If you choose one thing, such as cultivating your passion, you will be missing out on something else. And that’s okay! This prevents over-scheduling and unnecessary stress (which I am personally prone to!). The Minimalists encourage us to make decisions that will bring us the most joy while growing and living simply. Don’t be afraid to experiment with taking things in and out of your life. Nothing needs to be permanent, you can change your mind if things aren’t working for you.

Technology

Before listening to this podcast, I didn’t realize how deeply technology is ingrained in my daily life. I subconsciously reach for my cell phone at work when I’m bored and log on to my computer right when I get home from work. I read scriptures online before I go to bed. And my phone alarm is the first thing I hear in the mornings. If someone reached for a cigarette as often as I reach for the various technologies in my life, they would be called an addict.

Now, technology is not inherently bad! Technology can be used for some really awesome things, like connecting with others, communicating information from around the world, meeting new people, increasing sales for business, etc. The problem comes when we mindlessly scroll through apps that do not add true value to our lives.

Before writing this post, I went through my phone. I got rid of any app that wasn’t adding value to my life. This included an old email address that collected junk mail, three mind-numbing game apps (that were really fun), and two social media apps. To be honest, this was more difficult than I’d like to admit. However, this weekend has been much more productive! I encourage you to think about how you spend your time on the computer and your phone. Are the apps or websites you’re visiting adding value to your life, or are they simply distractions from the important things in your life?

Drudge Through It

Josh and Ryan constantly use the saying, “drudging through the drudgery.” I feel like this concept has come up in almost every podcast I’ve listened to. Successful people do not give up easily. When things get hard, they push through. So how does this fit into minimalism? Minimalism is about changing your mindset and lifestyle to revolve around the things that matter most to you. So, if your goal is to write a successful book, you will need to drudge through the times when writing is difficult.

One thing The Minimalists brought up is the idea of cultivating only one passion at a time. This idea was mentioned in Emma Gannon’s podcast, Ctrl Alt Delete, as well. The general idea is that you should stick to one idea. This allows you to buckle down and really focus on it. When a new idea comes long, it might be easy to chase it down because it would be “easier” than what you’re doing right now. The Minimalists and Emma Gannon would suggest that you stick to what you’re doing and “drudge through the drudgery!”

However, what about the people who have a bunch of great ideas and want to pursue all of them? I received a comment from Maryanne (thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my previous post, Maryanne!), who has a different point of view from the one I mentioned. She said, “Doing several things is called “branding” and it has been great for my career as a writer and public speaker. One of my mentors advised me ‘Keep shooting those arrows.’ She was right.”

I think that both points are valid and correct. Depending on the type of person, focusing on one project or pursuing multiple at a time could be the right decision. If you are a person that gets distracted easily (I fall into this category), then taking things one project at a time may be more productive. If you’re like Maryanne, pursuing more than one avenue at once can keep you motivated.

MAKAYLA

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Recharge, Find Harmonious Passion, and Be a Great Friend

How to Recharge, Find Harmonious Passion, and Be a Great Friend

Have you ever met anyone so intense and sure of themselves that you can’t help listening to them? Even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying, you still want to learn their point of view. As I listened to David Halpern’s podcast Social Triggers Insider, I felt like I needed to look up and research everything he said!

This podcast was suggested by Jess Lively of The Lively Show. I reviewed her podcast last week: 3 Tips to Add Intention to Your Daily Life. I think the reason Social Triggers is so enticing is because David mixes psychology with business. He interviews New York Times best seller’s about how to integrate the lessons in their books into business and entrepreneurship.

David is always amazingly prepared for his podcasts. Not only does he read every book he asks about on his podcast, he remembers every story they tell and comes prepared with questions! There is never a dull moment, that’s for sure. Here are the themes I found throughout the podcast:

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Take Time to Recharge

Do you find yourself on social media between tasks? I know I do. If there’s a fifteen minute break, I immediately get on my phone. After all, fifteen minutes won’t hurt anything and there’s nothing I can really get into for that short amount of time, right? Wrong. David suggests that there is actually something better we can do with those fifteen minutes.

He suggests that you use that time to think about your day and recharge. Constantly using social media takes our minds away from things that really matter. Spending that time planning, power napping, thinking, or reflecting can be a much better use of our time. I love this, because I imagine that when this becomes a habit, it would be such a relaxing activity that would help us recenter. And, it can be done anywhere!

Two Types of Passion

There have been many time on this blog that I’ve mentioned passion. Every time it’s mentioned, I get such an overwhelming response about how important it is and how necessary it is for success. And you’re right, it’s 100% necessary! That’s why I thought it was so interesting that there are two kinds of passion… One type is good and one type is actually bad!

Let’s start with the good type: harmonious passion. Harmonious passion is healthy because it is consistent with what you want you want to achieve in your life. This means that your passion allows you to grow in other areas of your life as well as pursue your dreams. For example, let’s say your passion was writing novels. You would wake up every morning and write 500 words and then spend the morning exercising, eating breakfast, and then go about your day. Of course, you would think about writing when an inspiring thought came to you and it may come up in conversations with others. 

On the other hand, there is obsessive passion. Obsessive passion takes over other parts of your life. It’s something you’re thinking about constantly, even when you’re not doing it. You also may feel guilty if you’re not doing it. To stick with the writing example, your morning might look like writing 500 words and then knowing you should exercise and eat breakfast but feeling bad about doing those things because you won’t be writing. Writing might dominate conversations between you and your loved ones, and other activities won’t be as enjoyable.

Be a Great Friend

There were so many interviews on Social Triggers Insider that talked about the power of connections and strong relationships. This past week I reviewed the book The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay, PhD, which you can read here. In that review, I talked about what Jay calls the strength of weak ties. Weak ties are essentially connections that you get through connections what are not in your immediate circle. 

The Social Triggers Insider podcast takes this idea a step further with dormant ties. Dormant ties are people that you’ve known in the past but haven’t been in contact with for three or more years. Essentially, you used to know them but lost contact. These types of ties are the most useful ties of all! This is because they give you all the benefits of a strong tie (past history), but have been meeting different people and travel in different circles like a weak ties.

Like any relationship, a key part of calling on these dormant ties is being a great friend. If you try to ask for help from someone you’ve rubbed the wrong way in the past, they aren’t likely to want to help you! So what’s the secret to being a great friend? David suggests that we give, give, give. Friendships should involve 60% giving and 40% taking, and that should go for both people involved!

Luckily, all of the tips mentioned above have been researched not only by David Halpern, but by everyone he interviewed. I definitely encourage you to look up this podcast and have a listen if you’re at all interested in business or psychology, because the mix is fascinating! Hopefully these three themes will be applicable to your daily lives and help you earn the success you deserve!

MAKAYLA

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