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Minimalisme: lichter durven leven

on August 25, 2020

Two friends, Joshua and Ryan, grow up together, in the same way. They follow the same training and are then both only concerned with making a career. The higher the better. However, they are both deeply unhappy. Then one of them discovers that he hardly needs anything to be happy. In fact, it makes him happier to only have the things he actually needs. Now they are trying to pass this wisdom on to the rest of humanity. But does he want to listen to them? You will find out in the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. 

Ryan had achieved everything he ever dreamed of and possessed everything he ever wanted to own. Still, he was very unhappy. He describes the feeling as a "great hole of emptiness." His life felt empty. That is of course not surprising when you start thinking about it. You spend your entire young life completing a study that you don't even really enjoy, only to spend years on it and work up a sweat to keep moving up within a company. A company where not you, but your sales figures are valued. The stuff you buy for that doesn't add anything in the end. They will never tell you that they are proud of you for what you have achieved.

What really matters in life

Joshua found that it made him happy to only have things in the house that he actually uses. As a result, there were no financial worries and no incentive to break down. He got more time for himself and more time to appreciate the world around him, especially the little things. The two friends made the documentary "Minimalism" together, in which they search for the things that are really important in life. They speak to people who have or had jobs that did not satisfy them, causing them to become very depressed. After all, they could not just quit that job, because then they would no longer be able to afford their house.

Materialism is the striving and longing for the material. To possession. We see celebrities on television and on Instagram in the most expensive cars and most extravagant clothes and accessories. For some reason, we think we should have that too. That we want that too. But why actually? What does that add? And how much is there really at all about the "perfect" lives that we so desperately want to follow? That urge has made us addicted to materialism. We really think stuff can make us happy. And preferably the very expensive stuff.

Did you already know this?

  • In the Netherlands we wear a garment on average only 4 times before we dispose of it. 😲 
  • We buy 46 items of clothing per year and discard 40.
  • Our wardrobe contains an average of 137 items of clothing, of which we only 30% wear
  • Smartphones only last about three years. 📱
  • 40% of consumers buy a new smartphone because the old device is worn out or broken, but the other 60% replace their old unit for one newer model, even if the old one is not worn out or broken.
  • That's why major brands of popular phone models average 1 time per year a new version. We'll buy anyway!

Happiness is not in a jar (or wallet)

Minimalism is based on the happiness that does not come from material things. A happy family, a good relationship, a job that you enjoy. Why would you need such a huge house? We almost see the size of a house as a status symbol, but what does it actually say? Isn't the warmth that surrounds and radiates a home the most important thing? People in America, unhappy in their current situation, went from a big house, which they could barely afford every month, to tiny houses. Those houses offer you everything you need to live somewhere nice, no more than that. There is no need to work a 40-hour week to pay for the house, leaving more time for hobbies and the family. The things that really matter. Why can people in a refugee camp be happier than people who live in villas? Because they are grateful for what they have and do not constantly want more.

How do materialists think?

🚗 Driving a luxury car brings happiness and prestige
🏠 Having a big house means you are wealthy and have a good job
💰 You can never have too much stuff as it is a symbol of status and wealth

How do minimalists think? 

🚗 A car is a tool. As long as he does what he has to do, it's fine
🏠 A house only needs to have enough space for the things you really need
😌 The less stuff you have, the less you have to worry about

Less is really more

This story is of course not new. It has been told many times and everyone is aware of it nowadays. Unfortunately, it seems that we are doing far too little with it. 

I am also sometimes guilty of it. There are still a huge number of people at home with a burnout because they have a terrible job or simply work too much to have time for other things. Those stories really touched me because it is so recognizable. For myself, but also in my environment. People want to earn enough money to go on a luxury holiday, while this can turn out very differently than you expect. Just look at this year. Holidays abroad are not a luxury at the moment. Only now do I realize that taking a holiday in the Netherlands can also be super nice and fun. 

Minimalism is certainly a topic worth delving into. It can make a big difference in your life and can show you how easily you can become happier. As a book tip I would recommend the book “Get rid of itRecommend from Dennis Storm - full of tips and inspiration to live more minimalist and lighter ;-) 

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