Archives for September 2018

September 26, 2018

Mnmllist

The ultimate bookmark for minimalists featuring a simple list of links to all things minimal.

When we adopt the minimalism ideology, we use it primarily as a tool. A tool to rid the excess in life to make way for that which is important and for the things we value most. Minimalism not only inspires me to live more simply, it also influences my approach to design.

I wanted to create a resource that many minimalists would value—and not just the design conscious looking for a bit of inspiration, but even those looking to live a more meaningful life. I didn’t look to recreate something that already exists with a simpler approach. Instead, I realised that what I needed simply did not exist—an ever evolving list to all things minimal. I decided to create the ultimate bookmark for minimalism enthusiasts, including everything from books, bikes, clothing, furniture, to technology. All presented in a clear, well-structured, and unobtrusive categorised list of text links. Created in collaboration with web developer Manu Moreale, we launched Mnmllist

It lists only 3 items per category, but each category can be expanded to display more links if we’ve got round to adding them.

Of course, there are many blogs and resources out there dedicated to minimalism, but nothing that is open to literally anything. The site is still in its infancy, but we’re having fun curating this over time, and we invite contributions if you can think of any categories or specific links you think we should add. We hope this little Mnmllist site will become a useful resource for you. If not today, then perhaps when it’s more mature.

September 19, 2018

Less Stressful Adventures

The art of traveling with less stress.

Travel planning brings out different emotions in different people. For some, the act of planning a trip is exciting, yet for others, it is a bit overwhelming, stressful, and draining.

For me, it has always brought great joy and a buzz of anticipation.

Planning does not always need to be filled with stress, trying to book expensive excursions and organizing every second of every minute. I have found that the greatest and most memorable trips are the simplest ones, complete with plenty of time to explore and experiencing new places.

To achieve a trip that is as stress-free as visiting a new country or city can possibly be, it is important to start by figuring out your must-haves and must-sees, and then plan accordingly. For example, I always like to take my time exploring big cities. It is imperative for me to have time to sit in a local café and write, eat local delicacies, and sip on tea (or an espresso). However for others, a travel must-have may include days specifically set aside for shopping or for checking out different museums and galleries.

We must always remember that travel is an amazing and privileged experience, and that not everything has to go perfectly all of the time. Instagram models and Photoshopped travel pictures often lead us to believe that our adventures must consist of perfectly curated pics and expensive destinations. This is simply not true.

Though photography provides us with a visual means of reminiscing on past memories as well as a creative outlet, it is also good to be mindful of not getting too caught up in our snapping away. Being present and submerging yourself in the culture is something you do not want to miss out on. After all, life is more of a theme park than a photoshoot.

Many travelers tell you that the worst part about traveling is the flights and layovers, but for me, these essential and unavoidable processes are part of the adventure. From 9-hour layovers to 11-hour flights, they have all been a blast. Sitting in an airport with a book or a laptop and relaxing with a coffee, wondering where the bustling people around me are headed has always been a memorable and valuable part of every trip I have gone on. If your layover is long enough, you may even be able to explore sights in the city as well. Embrace the journey and view it as part of the trip.

The essence of traveling is that it opens you up to so many different things outside of normal life. There is so much to be learned. Everywhere on earth, there is such beauty, diverse foods and customs, and amazing people—all with stories to tell. So, if we can prioritize, relax, and focus on the journey, we will all be more connected and present.

September 14, 2018

The Comparison Game

What happens when too much of a good thing turns sour?

My YouTube recommendations list is chalked full of videos about minimalism in all aspects—zero waste, intentional living, podcasts on the topic, and even things such as minimalist yoga.

Social media is something I don’t understand, yet am so entranced with. Without it, I personally would have never heard about minimalism or known what an impactful journey it would lead me on. The videos in my recommendation feed allow me to expand my ideas on simple living and get creative with the life I already have, which, of course, has been a good thing. But, what happens when too much of a good thing becomes a drawback?

The impact of social media on our lives is clear when doing the research—when we allow ourselves to mindlessly scroll through the media pages long enough, we begin to judge those on the media platform, their followers, and even ourselves. Though the idea of endless minimalism videos seems harmless (and some people’s dream), it can begin to have an impact on one’s thoughts as they take a deep look into their heart and possessions.

For me, almost all the people I am following on social media are minimalism enthusiasts, which has shaped the way I view my possessions and the frame of mind in which I consume now. While this has lead to the more intuitive, productive, and free person I am today, it has also caused some downfalls.

After feeding myself white walls, sand-beige furniture, and clear kitchen countertops through other people’s social media posts, I found that I looked down upon myself for owning more than I thought I needed to. I saw creators with all their possessions zipped up in a small backpack, ready to board their next flight. I thought to myself, “why am I not traveling with 45 items? I could easily do that.”

We tell our youth to be careful when consuming so much social media on a daily basis and to not compare ourselves to the people we see online. We understand that our lives are our own, and that the things we are scrolling through are merely a highlight reel.

Comparison is a silly game that we play with ourselves because we don’t fully understand the concept of another person’s life. We don’t see the behind-the-scenes of the photos we’re scrolling through, and we don’t have a single clue as to what their personal life is like. All we are seeing is what they want us to see.

Minimalism is not practical for everyone, nor is a pristine living room or traveling the world with 45 items in a backpack. The more we compare ourselves to the people around us—regardless of whether they are minimalists or not—the more unsatisfied we become with our own journey.

You are here because you are wanting to become the best version of yourself. Please do not let the comparison of others ruin the sparkle of that exciting adventure.

September 6, 2018

An Ancient Philosophy

What modern minimalists can learn from the ancient ideas of Stoicism.

For some, minimalism appears to be a relatively recent concept. Perhaps cooked up in a Scandinavian design studio or in Silicon Valley. However, minimalism actually has deep roots in schools of philosophy that are thousands of years old.

Whilst Buddhism is certainly one such source, possibly the most direct ancestor was Stoicism, an ancient Greek school of philosophy. Stoic ideas have greatly helped me refocus my ideas about the world by articulating wisdom that is true and valuable, regardless of time or culture.

One of the key foundations of the Stoics is to learn to fully appreciate the things that we already have and be truly grateful for their presence. If we learn to thoroughly value what we already own, then we will ease our desire for more.

Of course, in the modern world, full of advertising and sales, people are taught the opposite—to always want more. The problem with this is what’s known in psychology cycles as hedonic adaption. We work extremely hard to fulfill a desire, initially getting some satisfaction, but soon enough, we adapt to its presence and no longer find it as desirable as we once did. We end up caught in a loop of dissatisfaction with no expiration date.

The Stoics understood that in order to break free of this loop, they could practice negative visualization. They would imagine losing their most loved possessions. Their family, their money and their health—all lost.

Visualization of this kind can makes us bulletproof to any eventuality because, in our minds, the worst has already occurred. From then onwards, we can only see the positive actions and potential in the world. We are protected from the naive and at peace with our current situations. We can appreciate everything.

Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.

—Stoic Philosopher King Marcus Aurelius