In today’s world characterized by rampant, hyperactive, and obsessive consumerism — and the stress and dread of paying for the previous purchases or getting the next ones — dialing things down and adopting a simpler, gentler minimalist lifestyle can seem quite attractive. Or at least, saner.
However, while there is plenty of excellent information on the web and elsewhere about minimalism, there is also a lot — and I mean a lot — of misinformation. To help clear the air and separate fact from fiction, here are 5 myths about minimalism and the real truths behind them:
Myth #1: Minimalism is about how much stuff you have.
Truth: Minimalism isn’t about how much stuff you have — or how much stuff you don’t have. Minimalism is essentially about the presence of simplicity in your life. It is essentially a state of mind. Once you start cultivating this mindset, you will not need to frenetically get rid of your stuff. You will gracefully let it exit your life one way or another, and at the same time you’ll stop acquiring things that you don’t want or need.
Myth #2: Minimalism is about self-denial.
Truth: Contrary to what many people believe, minimalism is not about living an uncomfortable life full of self-denial. It is about creating space — both externally and (especially) internally — for simplicity to emerge (this is probably the best way to put it, because that simplicity has always been there since birth but has been covered up over the years). Another way to look at this, is that folks who truly adopt an authentic minimalist lifestyle aren’t denying anything. They’re exchanging stuff for simplicity, and for them it is an extremely profitable trade because their day-to-day quality of life increases dramatically, if not profoundly.
Myth #3: Minimalism means boring, drab and lifeless.
Truth: Minimalism is dynamic, creative and artistic! One of the most vivid illustrations of this is found in modern office design and interior design, which is sublime and soothing — but also functional and fun. Not surprisingly, many doctors and dentists are adopting this in their office layout because it is very patient-friendly.
Myth #4: Minimalism has a strict code of conduct.
Truth: Nonsense! Minimalism isn’t a club or worse, a cult. You don’t have to meet certain minimum standards of minimalism or face repercussions. Minimalism is about an internal understanding that helps you establish and craft a simpler lifestyle — one that you have more control over.
Myth #5: Minimalism means a vow of poverty.
Truth: Believe it or not, but many minimalists have a very high net worth. They live in lovely homes, take many trips, and have well-paying jobs. They no longer feel compelled to spend what they have (or more than what they have) on unnecessary things that don’t bring them satisfaction. It really is as simple as that!