“Minimalism teaches us to value money less and time more; possessions less and people more; recognition less and impact more; assumptions less and intuition more; appearances less and substance more.

Minimalism isn’t about running away from responsibilities; it’s about running to more purposeful priorities, uncovered through a journey of self-discovery.”

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The most direct path to creating freedom in life leads one into the realm of minimalism. I see no other way.

We are overwhelmed each day from every side: ads targeted towards us, social media, work, email, the daily news, friends, family, love interests, people cutting us off in traffic, and on and on.

To free ourselves from this overwhelm and moving in the direction we want to go, we need to eliminate what’s excessive and focus as much as possible only what is vital.

Minimalism is a way to take back control from the chaos. We must cut out everything that isn’t necessary to who, what, and where you want to be in order to move forward.

A System Reset

Free up your mind through minimalism.

Think of your brain as the highest-performance supercomputer ever created. Even the top achievers among us have but a limited amount of RAM for use each day.

The more things we have to do and own and manage, the more RAM it occupies in our brain. By using up our brain’s output, we don’t leave much room for anything else.

We need to eliminate or reduce as much as possible the things that aren’t moving us forward in the direction that we want. By freeing up our mental RAM, we unlock access to our creative power.

Lifestyle discovery involves absorbing and creating new and exciting ideas; it requires a creative, elastic brain – much like a child’s. We’ve drowned out our imaginations for years. By reducing or eliminating the things that stifle it, we can give our imagination wings once again.

Minimalism isn’t about burning all of your cash or pulling a Christopher Chandless and going off “into the wild” whilst renouncing the world.

Instead, ask this: Does each waking second of your day need to be occupied by an activity? Does each empty space have to contain an object? Whether we realize it or not, anything that’s extra but not necessary has the destructive potential to rob us of energy and happiness.

Researchers at U.C.L.A published a study last year titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” which observed 32 average, middle-class families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings.

Stressed out parents

Three-fourths of the families involved in the study couldn’t park their cars in their garages because they were too jammed with things.

The writing is on the wall; how long will it take until we see it?

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“I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place.”
-Tyler Durden

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It takes a complete re-wiring of our beliefs and values to realize that by ridding ourselves of all the inessential things we’ve collected we can live a bigger, better, richer life with less.

Outwardly we may have less, but our inward wealth becomes far more abundant.

Directed Focus

There are many things that lie outside of our control. We just need to let them be and prioritize where we direct focus and expend energy.

Zen calmness

There’s a zen-like calmness that can only be experienced through minimalism liberation. An unhurried sense of time a form of wealth that cannot be measured. A sense of freedom from the need to be in control (where we can just be, and accept things as they are), is also a form of wealth.

It’s something that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Individuals who are able to fit everything they own into a single backpack have come to know this.

Their best piece of advice is invariably the same: get rid of all the things that are holding you back. Sell them, give them away, or put them into storage if you must.

Through this minimalist practice of cutting down on the things that run our lives, the world expands and opportunities multiply. Instead of waking up to the dreaded alarm and several cups of coffee to face the day, you can wake up each morning on a white sand beach to swim with sea turtles in clear turquoise water – and that’s a far more accessible goal than you may now realize.

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Once you free yourself up from the things that run your life, the endgame is that you’ll undergo a powerful personal transformation. This is what happens to each person I’ve met who has undergone this same process.

A realignment occurs. You become a new person with new priorities, new values, and a new and more meaningful life path. You become more self-aware as you challenge each of your assumptions about yourself and the world. You’ll come to know yourself better and learn how to listen – truly listen – to your heart.

Minimalism teaches us to value money less and time more; possessions less and people more; recognition less and impact more; assumptions less and intuition more; appearances less and substance more.

Minimalism isn’t about running away from responsibilities; it’s about running to more purposeful priorities, uncovered through a journey of self-discovery.

It’s about seizing the most valuable asset that each of us have: time, and seizing every second to be fully engaged, to explore, to discover the wide open new world awaiting us.

What Will Lifestyle Discovery Bring?

Why should we take the responsibility to create our own lives? I’ve spent a lot of time searching, pondering, and reflecting over this question. After all, the Roman philosopher Sallust observed more than 2,000 years ago that: “Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.”

I’ve traveled to different corners of the world trying to open myself up to the experiences and ideas that would give me a better handle on the meaning of this thing called “life.”

I’ve talked to some of the most inspirational lifestyle designers and picked their brain, asking plenty of questions. What should I – or anyone – really be doing with their time on this planet?

Moreover, how can I handle and ultimately satisfy all of my strong underlying urges – towards wealth, respect, pleasure, and the desire to be loved?

My experiences shaped me in ways that I could not have expected. All of my basic beliefs had been challenged and ultimately shattered.

The first thing I experienced when I became a successful lifestyle designer was the euphoria of ultimate freedom. I felt as though all of the things that I truly wanted, all of my dreams that I’d spent my lifetime repressing, were now finally available to me. I danced with joy because I felt like a kid again.

Life again become fun, new, and exhilarating. It’s like living life on a high that never comes down because the shackles that have held you down have been removed forever.

Except… that lasts until the honeymoon ends. The wanderlust has settled, the urge to meet new people and visit exotic places has cooled somewhat, and the desire to return to normalcy takes over.

This is when deeper questions enter the mind because you’ve done it. You’ve accomplished the things that you dreamed of.

And now – you ask yourself, how can I do better today (and tomorrow) than I did yesterday? How can I live more deeply, how can I love more openly, how can I appreciate each moment more fully?

Socrates, one of the most revered thinkers of his age, observed, “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

The more we learn, the more we realize we have yet to learn. The more we do, the more we wish to do. The more places we go, the more places we want to go. Each step forward makes us stronger, smarter, more confident, and more self-aware.

Perhaps the greatest change that’s come across me from years of traveling around the world is that I completely lost the inner sense of superiority to other people that I used to carry around as a young man. Perhaps this thinking is rooted in insecurity. 

I think too many of us, especially Americans, like to think that we’re somehow smarter, better, sexier than the average person. We think that the average person is stupid. But in truth our egos are thieves – they rob us of the chance to grow, learn, and evolve. 

When you engage in something like long-term travel, and truly to get to know the new people you meet, you realize that there are so many interesting, smart, and talented people in this world. You realize that every single person has something they can teach you.

You develop the ability to respect and truly connect to another person despite differences in background, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or social class. The things that separate us suddenly fall away. You become a citizen of the world and realize that people are the greatest gift that travel offers – and that we all want many of the same things regardless of whether we’re capitalists or communists, Muslims or Christians.

This shift in thinking represents the single greatest gift I’ve received from my efforts in lifestyle design.

Are you Ready?

“The big question is whether you are going to say a hearty ‘YES !’ to your adventure.”
-Joseph Campbell

The question now is: are you ready to make a new and exciting change in your life? Make no mistake: there are new and exciting worlds out there just waiting for you to explore.

“Out there,” just beyond what is comfortable or familiar, you have the ability to do everything you ever dreamed about. You have the chance to meet interesting people, visit exciting places, do and see incredible things, and create real relationships that last a lifetime.

The options to live and learn and grow are endless. It doesn’t matter whether you drink Dos Equis or not. I never touch the stuff.

Will you seize the unlimited potential and endless opportunities that await you? Only you can answer that. If you want it badly enough, you will get it. I will help you if I can.

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Buy Your Own Island, a guide to lifestyle design by Danny Flood.

This post is based on an excerpt from the new best-selling book, “Buy Your Own Island.” To read the full text, you download it from Amazon, or download the audio book for free by clicking here.

One Response

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Danny,

    I am an UN-intentional minimalist. Never thought about cutting pretty much all things out. And I must say my creativity has gone through the roof as I practiced releasing.

    Example: between a few paperbacks and a ton of eBooks I have 56 books to my name on Amazon. 56. Honest, letting go, releasing and living a minimalist lifestyle opened the creative energies in me to reach such a feat.

    Thanks man, loving the message!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Download this eBook for Successful Blogging Tips AND a Taste of ParadiseMy Profile

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