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·825 words·4 mins·
Minimalism Simple Living
Joshua Blais
Joshua Blais

The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.

― Albert Einstein

If you want a life that is far less stressful, taking the meaningless things away will help you to find the inner peace you are seeking. In doing so, we start to see that the peace is not found in having “more” - it is in having quality and focus.

For me, at least, happiness comes from accomplishment, meaningful connection, and in creating. So, for me, it does not add to my life to purchase “stuff” that does not add to these points of enjoyment.

Universally, I believe that we do not need nearly as much as we think we do in order to live. We will not be a “more complete person” when we get the things that we think we need in order to become a person that does these things.

In most cases, “more” is a distraction. “More” actually subtracts rather than adds. Counter-intuitive, I know.

It is evident when you take a trip abroad with carry-on only baggage - You cannot bring the kitchen sink with you when doing so! You have to pick and choose the things that help you enjoy your time and get the job done. It is choosing that which is necessary. And it is subsequently choosing to leave things behind.

Inevitably, those things that you left behind are the things that you can live without, the things that are “extra” or “additions” to your life. They are the things that are comforts, but likely don’t actually add that much (if anything) to your life.

For me, these are the things that I can likely look to getting rid of, to simplifying, to add to my life by taking away.

While I cringe at the term “minimalist” (many times it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing for consumerism by another name - “don’t own a lot of stuff, but own OUR stuff.”), the idea is on point. Simplify. Get smaller in the things that don’t matter, and get bigger in the things that do matter.

In everything.

Your finances, your wardrobe, your relationships, your home, your work, your life.

Cut out all of the excess that is being sold to you as so “vital” to modern living.

On our recent trip to Naples, we stopped at the Santa Chiara Monastery. It was a Heaven on Earth for me. So much simplicity, so focused on the presence of God that I was moved internally to the point of tears.

I could feel the focus on the One thing that actually matters in life, and because of the removal of everything to the contrary, of the simplification and minimization to that which allowed this focus, there was no question to me that this is the superior way of being.

So, in returning to life at home, I made it my goal to do the same.

I started by removing the things that no longer serve me. I cut out the clothing that I did not absolutely love to wear, and paired down to the absolute essentials that I wear all the time. I paired down my computing and office space, I got rid of machines that I wasn’t using to the fullest potential, and cleaned up my cloud and VPS’s to only that which I am using all the time. I closed out credit cards that were not being utilized properly (I always pay on time, I simply got rid of the ones with point programs I no longer was using). I got rid of books that I will never read, or put them in my library directory of my computer and brought them onto my kobo for reading. I don’t watch television, and haven’t for the last decade, but it so also need be said that I stopped any mindless consumption whatsoever.

The true mark of genius is not in adding things, but in taking them away.

In doing so, we come to see that which actually matters.

We cease distracting ourselves with that which no longer can aid us in the journey of this life.

The amount of time I have wasted on installing a program or getting stuff setup just the way I like it could have been spent building things that change lives. That time could have been spent praying, or meditating, or exercising or with loved ones. It could have been time that was constructive rather than moving nowhere at all.

Every time we say yes to something, we say no to another. We have to be cognizant of this.

Remove the excess, focus on the things that really and truly matter in this life.

You will come to find it was never the things that did this at all.

It was always more of that which you cannot taste or touch.

It was truth, purpose, love, connection, and serving others.

We were just distracting ourselves with everything else.