Minimalism isn’t just about mindfulness, it’s actually the perfect philosophy to help you get capitalist success.
My recent attempt to try minimalism through the #minsgame challenge left me feeling conflicted. I appreciate the philosophy of the minimalism movement and their search for freedom from consumerism, but felt it discouraged ‘success’; that you have to be a martyr and go ‘without’. I’m open to alternative ideas like minimalism and meditation, but I’m also very competitive and I want to succeed in the business world.
To reconcile this conflict (and gain at least one lesson for my efforts with this challenge), I looked at the core driver of minimalism – focus on what’s important. Minimalists are actually more ruthless than most about what they let into their life (people, possessions, behaviours). And being a veracious reader of successful entrepreneurs and captains of industry, I know this intense focus is shared by prolific people of our time, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Oprah!
Here’s how you can use the principles of minimalism for business success.
Step 1. Keep your eye on the ball.
There’s nothing more important for a sustainable minimalist mindset than having a reason to do it; if you’re doing it because it’s trendy, save yourself the trouble and give up now.
Success in the business world will require that same commitment to overcome the amount of time and energy you’ll need to input to #win. You need to be clear about why you’re willing to work harder, stay up later, and keep going to do what it takes to succeed.
When I decorated my two-bedroom apartment from scratch, the day-to-day tasks were tedious and tiresome – sanding, prepping, cleaning, measuring, and repeat. So I focused on the result. Having a beautiful apartment where I would host dinner parties, cozy up in my study room with a book on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and eat breakfast on my balcony while I watering my plants.
Today, my goal is to build my decor business and give my community of readers good content that inspires, educates, and demystifies. This is a simple but compelling goal for me to work harder. I even created a mood board/vision board to have a tangible daily reminder of what I’m working towards.
Step 2. Get rid of distractions and excuses.
The part of minimalism people are most familiar with is the getting rid of your stuff. This is also one of the most important elements of success. Quitting all the things, relationships, habits, and excuses that don’t serve your goal and are keeping you from attaining your dreams.
In the words of prolific entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, “Instead of doing a House of Cards marathon this weekend, spend the time creating something of value”.
I have been guilty of this my entire life; distracting myself with TV, wasting an hours checking and refreshing apps on my phone, and just plain laziness. It’s only now that I’m clear about how much I want to grow my business, that I’ve been brave enough to purge these distracting behaviours and not let my focus be clouded. To physically and mentally make room for what I actually want. Finding out how Frank Underwood wins the election is not it.
Step 3. Make decisions based on what will give you most value.
To stay on the minimalism path and avoid over-consumption in the future, every purchasing decision should be ruthlessly assessed. If it doesn’t serve your minimalist goal, then it doesn’t belong in your life.
On the path toward success you’ll be faced with many (seemingly minor) decisions that might derail you from your goal.
Do I go to the pub with my friends or do I write some more articles for my community?
Do I spend my bonus on some new clothes or do I invest in personal training sessions to keep my health and energy levels up?
Do I sleep in on Saturday and watch YouTube videos in bed or do I wake up early to respond to emails and comments from my community?
This has been a tricky habit for me to keep up, but I’ve found exercising this decisions-making muscle in micro decisions has made it so much easier. I started with what I would eat for lunch everyday. When looking at my fridge or standing at the display cabinet in a cafe, I asked myself what would help me have a better day, and the answer was always obvious.
Once I got a taste of how satisfying making these small decisions were, I built some momentum to be able to scale it to decisions I was afraid to make, like watching less TV or waking up earlier.
All of this came from the simple minimalist concept of focusing. Being more selective about my goal, my environment, and the decisions I make has given my clarity on what I need to do and made me more productive.
What’s a goal you’re trying to achieve?
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