THE BLOG

What I Learned From a Minimalist Mindset

08/16/2013 10:16 am ET | Updated Oct 16, 2013

I have a confession: I'm a wannabe minimalist.

And I use the term wannabe loosely because this minimalism thing? It's a work in progress. I'm not a minimalist. But I deeply strive to live with less.

I know. It sounds crazy. Less stuff? What type of person on earth wants less stuff? The natural tendency is to accumulate. It's weird and unconventional to not want more. We're taught to always strive for more. Buy the bigger home, acquire more friends and followers, log more hours, and get more money and power. But where does this really get us? And how does this make a positive impact on humanity? How can we derive meaning from less when the focus is always on more?

I needed answers. So, I tried an experiment in living with less. I edited my clothes in my closet from 500 items to 100. And also got rid of other unnecessary possessions. And then... sheer panic set in. It was quite silly. I still had a roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, and love all around. But I felt uncomfortable when I let go of things I didn't need (and clothes I never wore). It's an admittedly first-world problem. But I felt the need to tackle it head-on.

We're programmed to want things. We're taught more is more! And less is... uncomfortable.

At first, I struggled with my natural desire to re-accumulate stuff. Like that moment during a crowded meditation class, when you want to stand up in the room of silence and scream (only me?)

Instead of screaming, I unsubscribed from all store emails that cluttered my inbox. I stopped mindlessly going shopping when I was bored or needed something to do. I tapped into my own inner wisdom, and unplugged from the mindset that told me to "do more, own more, be more." I basically cut myself off from contact with the material world.

Coming from a former material girl, it was quite the paradigm shift.

With less, it became easier to think, make decisions, and focus. I could cut through complex themes with ease. And the uncluttered closet led to less time deciding what to wear. My mind became unfettered. And my soul felt free.

This shift in my approach allowed room to think. And space to sort. I started to only surround myself with quality. Quality friends. Quality possessions. Better quality of life. This led to more quality clients. And it gave me the freedom and flexibility to build a more minimalist framework for my business -- which in turn, makes more of an impact for my clients.

I learned that doing more -- whether that means more media, more marketing and more promotion are generally not the answers to what most need. It's not about more stuff... but the right stuff that's needed for a rich and meaningful life.

I like to tell my clients that marketing is an outward expression of who you are on the inside. If all you do is send email "blasts," tell people why you're so great, and try to persuade people to "like" you, why not minimize this approach? Engage in conversations, be more mindful, and remove your mask. Create a rich and meaningful life with less, instead of defaulting to "more" at your core.

We're living in a "post-advertising" world. And it doesn't matter whether you believe in postmodernism, post-materialism, or the perpetual post-its. It matters more if you can be more human. Can you strip away your "business as usual" approach to allow space for a more minimalist (and sometimes uncomfortable) mindset? What impact can you make when you focus on the core?

Minimalism isn't just about doing more with less for the sake of it. It's about doing less because of how it makes you feel as a human.

It's easy to stay in the same systems that no longer work. It's easy to stay in a certain mindset (even if it no longer suits you). And it's easy to maintain the status quo.

But when you choose to proactively shift your paradigm, then you can proactively lift your mind. You can evolve to build a better future. And you can offer more meaning to the world. Not because you have more, but because you are more.

After all, you're human at the core. And with less, you can soar.