Some Misconceptions about Minimalism

A lot of people became skeptical towards minimalism when they first heard it. This is no surprise. After all, being stress-free at work and still having the time to pursue our passions and be happy and experience lots of great stuff is too good to be true, right? Says who?

Minimalism can be achieved. There are lots of people with stories to prove it. The only thing you need is the desire to live simply, the determination, and the action.There are some other misconceptions, which include:

Minimalism means you have to stay away from large cities

It is preferable to stay away from large cities, because there are less pressure on consumerism and less demand for stressful work. However, you can still live in large cities if you can resist the temptations. You can opt to wearing simple, cheaper clothes, live in a small house or apartment and negotiate for flexible work hours (or even quit your current job and be self-employed, if you dare).

Minimalism can only be done when you’re financially secure

Some people argue that many embraced minimalism only after they’re rich enough to secure a simple-yet-comfortable lifestyle. They thought that only then you can take a small break from your job without fear of being fired and scraping for food the next day, or that only then you can have more exclusive experiences (skydiving, travelling the world, etc). Minimalism can be done by anyone, regardless of their financial state. It’s not about sneaking a break during your work hours, it’s about doing less and putting all effort on that less; It’s not about having premium experiences, it’s about collecting all sorts of experiences, premium or not, to learn and grow from them.

Minimalism means you’re stuck with the contemporary interior design

Combine minimalism and interior design, and you’ll probably find rooms and houses to look ultra-modern. Minimalism is sometimes considered to be the ultra-sleek-ultra-stark-ultra-modern design because of its clean and simple look, but this is not always the case. As long as you’re willing to remove the unnecessary, you can still retain the Victorian charm.

Minimalists are attention-seekers

When Dave Bruno popularized the 100 Things Challenge, a lot was inspired to do just like him, and a lot also turned their backs on minimalism and on Dave. The public views minimalists to be modest since they gave up on material possessions in pursuit for anything that matters to them, and not to be attention-seekers who boasts on what they can do. Everyone expects minimalists to give up on fame, just like they did with fortune. Dave’s intention in the first place is to tell people that anyone can be a minimalist and live a more meaningful life. All others who did the challenge? They’re living proofs that minimalism is an excellent lifestyle, and did not think about gaining notoriety from the public.

Minimalism means you have to have a less-demanding job

Sure, getting a very demanding job means you have to set aside some money for cellphone plans, laptop, transportation fees (including plane tickets), formal suits and any other “essentials” for the job. But if the job coincides with your virtues, focus solely on it. Just don’t forget the mentally valuable as well.

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7 thoughts on “Some Misconceptions about Minimalism

  1. Pingback: Year in Review: 2014 | Needs Over Wants

  2. Good post! I’d like to add a misconception I keep running into almost every day: People continually think that minimalists live without any material comforts, and characterize minimalism as extremely spartan. Being a minimalist simply means that you reject the idea that stuff can provide satisfaction, and how a minimalist’s possessions reflect that varies from person to person.

    • Thanks for the input, tsaru. I agree with what you mentioned. Minimalists do have material comforts, but not in excess, since they understand that there’s more to life and satisfaction than what the worldly material can provide for us. The only reason why minimalists have material comforts is because they believe that these items could provide meaning for their lives (say laptop for blogging).

  3. I like this post because you cover some of the untruths about the minimalism lifestyle. Like the above says, there are extremists in every situation. The individual define minimalism as they see fit.

    • Thanks Wilsar. The thing is that all the people that believe in one idea, extremist or not, forms one entity that complements each other. Minimalism cannot be spread without real minimalists as living proofs, nor can it reach very far out without some bold actions of extremists.

  4. Its a good post. I guess there is a tendency to misunderstand most ideas brecause the concept becomes publically defined by the most extreme or controversial or in some cases notorious examples. But just as you can be Catholic without becoming a Priest much less a saint, or you can change your diet without embracing Veganism, or you can be better prepared without building a survivalistbunker in the American Redoubt, you can become a minimalist without limiting yourself to 100 things.

    • This is true. Anyone can adopt an idea without being an extremist. We have extremists because they spread the idea to the public. Like your Catholic example: we have Priests and saints because they deliver gospels that reach out to many. Similarly, extreme minimalists tell people that they can live and be happy without having too much possessions.

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