In exploring eco-friendly, minimalist, and Zen philosophies over the last couple years, I realized that they all hold a number of beliefs in common. Minimalist, green, and mindful living are all different terms for similar ideas. Here are some interchangeable concepts held dear by many movements toward simplicity:
- Letting go of anything that doesn’t bring value to life. Recognizing that possessions can be a burden as much as they can be a blessing has led many cultural groups to let go of excess possessions that are just weighing them down.
- Awareness that money is a tool, not a commodity. Our culture tends to forget that money isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. Without a gold standard, money is only as valuable as we all agree it is. Striving for money without purpose for how to use it is an empty pursuit.
- Enrichment through experiences instead of purchases. We’ve all heard the phrase, “You can’t take it with you.” Even the pharaohs lost their possessions to grave robbers. Whole industries are popping up with the focus of providing lifetime experiences to help families and friends bond and share memories that will last their whole lives.
- Ideal-driven choices about spending, saving, and giving. By defining ideals and standards, decisions are made before choices even appear.
- Gratitude for what one has instead of consuming thoughtlessly. Declutter, Spark Joy, Nirvana, all these ideas emphasize that you already have what you need, and by letting go of greed and wants, you can find peace in gratitude.
- Relationships that are enriching instead of destructive. Blood may be thicker than water, but not all relationships are healthy. Letting go of relationships with people who are consistently destructive toward you is one of the best steps you can take to help yourself grow.