Restraint and Minimalism: How to Think Win-Win

Quick fact: I still live with my parents. Nearly all 17-year-olds in Indonesia does.

Living with my parents is definitely one of the greatest blessings of being in the Eastern half of the world and I love it, the drawback is always that tiny nuisance called restraint.

I’ve been reading hundreds of minimalism blogs and blog posts since 6 months ago and I’ve always wanted to become a minimalist myself. The problem is that I have no authority over my family’s stuff. Every now and then, clutter piled up all throughout my house and often distracted me more than it distracted any other family members. We store, instead of throwing old stuff away, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The only thing I can control is just my school-related stuff (not even my clothes, my parents bought them for me).

Given the difficult circumstances, and my longing to begin making room for the necessary, I started small. Starting from my desk, then to books and finally my laptop. It was not a big accomplishment, but I’m happy from at least removing some of the unnecessary and maintaining a good relationship with my parents.

You most probably do not have the exact same problem as mine, but I believe that a lot of us struggle to find a solution that favors both sides. Thinking Win-Win can sometimes be hard to do, but I encourage you to at least try, try to find a favorable solution.

Look at a smaller scope.  Most of the time you want something that can actually be cut down into something smaller in proportion without actually removing the value. You might say that you need Internet access 24/7, but you could cut it down to a few hours a day, while still maintaining the value of connection and being content; You might say that you need 6 months of holiday, where in fact you’re bored upon entering the third week. Look at a smaller scope. Cut your expectation down into a proportion that still retains value.

Share. If you are content with less, then share. That Internet access? Give it to someone who wants it when you’re content. That holiday you got bored in after the second week? Share it. Dedicate it to doing something useful such as volunteering. Don’t keep it all to yourself.

Look back and enjoy. Look at what you’ve done? You’re happy, others are happy, and that’s what Thinking Win-Win is all about.


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