minimalist

Just Do It.

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Theres something to say for Nike’s iconic slogan.

Just Do It.

Do it today.

Don’t make excuses.

Like anyone, I’m guilty of procrastination. As much as I want to have that paper or assignment done, the hardest part is just getting started. Studying, networking, exercising etc. in the end it’s never as bad as your mind makes you believe.

Let me repeat, it’s never as bad as your mind makes you believe. I bring up networking since I’m nearing the end of my degree. As a science student nothing will depress you more than seeing how diminutive your job prospects can be once you enter the work force. Any entry level science related job requires years of experience you don’t have or a specific degree/certification you (also) don’t have. I have a peer at a nearby university who is in software engineering. He had internships in the states from well known internet websites and received an offer to move to silicon valley straight after graduation. While it’s easy to be down on yourself (and believe me that is exactly how I spent the last couple days), in the wise words of Aaliyah

Dust yourself off, and try again

Your career life is what you make of it. It’s easy to look at those around you and think that things came easy to them, and in some cases that may be true. However their success isn’t your failure. See where you want yourself to be and set a realistic plan on how to achieve your goals. Of course this can be translated to anything. It’s easy to look at a fitness blog and say I’ll never look like that or go over to one of the more popular minimalist blogs and say I’ll never be able to do that. But isn’t this really just an extension of that looks too hard…. I don’t want to fail. 

The fear of failing at something you truly want can be enough for your mind to talk you out of trying. It sounds like such a backwards concept, how can you want something so badly but at the same time tell yourself it’s not worth trying to achieve it? Are you going to get your dream job/ body/ lifestyle immediately?  In all likelihood you aren’t, it may require months if not years of hard work. But instead of blaming external factors, put yourself in control.

Take that first step.

Just Do it.

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The ‘Stuff Cycle’

the word minimalism tends to garner a specific image of sterile, stark, white rooms with minimal furnishings, art, personality everything. About 2 1/2 years ago I started an unexpected shift towards minimalism and find myself moving further and further in that direction. It started in decluttering and minimizing one specific aspect in my life and has slowly bled out. I know some people just wake up one day and suddenly get inspired to do a big purge of all their belongings but for me I’m glad this has been a slow process over time. While I have purged a LOT over the last year, I’ve also never regretted getting rid of an item. To me something that is just as important as the discarding itself.

The problem I’ve found with a lot of minimalistic blogs is that they focus too much on the number e.g. 100 items, 33 items etc. to me the number isn’t as important as how the items make me feel, it almost makes minimalism seem like a competition – who can have the fewest amount of things. I want to be surrounded by things that I love, my goal is just to get rid of the excess. Its funny how overtime it becomes easier to purge and get rid of possessions that 6 months or a year ago I would have been making excuses for why I needed to keep that item in my life.

Have I been perfect throughout my minimalism journey so far? No, but I have been getting better at letting go of regrettable purchases as soon as possible. I actually have a small paper shopping bag that has become a staple on my bedroom floor. It sits right beside my bookshelf and whenever I have an item I’m ready to toss (or am thinking about tossing) in it goes. Its easy to have on hand for a friend or family member to rummage through and its nice to have a designated ‘out’ box instead of leaving things scattered around until the next time I decide to do a purge.

At the end of the day its all a cycle. Buying stuff – displaying stuff – maintaining stuff – storing stuff – getting rid of stuff – working to pay for new stuff. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not going to swear off consumerism entirely however I do want to drastically reduce that cycle for myself. While at a certain point I was focused on a rigid one in, one out policy, I now want to be  more mindful of what I’m bringing into my home and resist those impulse wants. The less I let the stuff- cycle take over my life, the more time I have for what’s important to me.