Minimalism is underrated. What is it all about young minimalists — primarily straight white males? Have they become minimalists because their career success is too much to bear? Are they young graduates who only start their career? So they're minimalists set by default? Are they lazy people?
I laughed at the minimalist lifestyle. Living less was a kind of joke to me. It was my dismissal before I embraced a minimalist lifestyle. Now I am one of the minimalists.
There are many misconceptions surrounding minimalism. These are at least what I've thought of minimalism before. These are the six things that have proven me wrong:
1. Minimalism is for straight white males.
This is absolutely untrue. Most minimalists are predominantly young, straight white males if you look around the online presence of minimalists. But the thing is, you don't need to see minimalism as successive white male dominance. Isn't the internet world itself predominantly white?
Just look at specific personas in social media, such as youtube and Instagram. A youtube minimalist such as Matt Da'vella, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are among all the white-male-persona stereotypes.
One became a minimalist from a Uni graduate who paid off his Uni loan by living less. The latter became minimalists because their career success is too much to bear. They fit into the minimalist stereotypes. Their dominance in the Western minimalist world might be overwhelming.
But if you look further beyond the social media and bloggers’/authors' personas, many other minimalists don't quite fit into these stereotypes. In fact, their personas are unique. They have a different approach to minimalism.
So let's look back at where it's from. Minimalism is the concept that originated in Japan. Hence, we've got Japanese minimalist experts such as Marie Kondo, Hideko Yamashita, and my favourite author in minimalism, Fumio Sasaki.
Sasaki's book 'Goodbye, things' is an elegant approach to an insight of minimalism from his original roots, Japan. His minimalist approach with only having three shirts and four pairs of trousers might sound extreme to you.
But things will make sense if you're in his shoes. You live in a tiny studio in Tokyo, one of the expensive cities in the world. When he realised owning so much stuff was only weighing him down.
Just because they don't speak English doesn't mean they're less charming than English speaking influencers. I tend to look up to the Japanese minimalists. I have a particular interest in Japanese culture—notably, the Japanese philosophy of living in the moment. The minimalism itself is inherently unpretentious and natural.
2. You're a Minimalist because you're a young Uni graduate and unemployed. So minimalism is pretty much set by default until you're not.
It is not entirely true. This is quite misleading. Many minimalists I know, in fact, have career success, and some aren't even Uni graduates. Though many minimalist YouTubers started when they graduated from university, many others aren't in this spectrum. Some famous people actually chose the simple life — though not necessarily living with fewer items. Steve Jobs, for instance, chose minimalism. He firmly believed in Simplicity over complexity and beautified it.
Albert Einstein lived a simple lifestyle.
Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.
His famous quote speaks it all.
From our modern, contemporary internet world, a minimalist blogger, Colin Wright, is among many inspiring minimalists travelling the world since 2009. The man of many talents self-taught himself by living less and travelling the world. He has lived in Argentina, New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, India, Romania, Czech Republic, and the Philippines and 60 other countries.
3. Minimalists should only have less than 100 items in their lives.
On Maximizeminimalism website, it argues that minimalism exists on a spectrum. People choose minimalism for different reasons. Some people have accumulated stuff in their lives, and excessive property started weighing in their lives, like Fumio Sasaki. Some others aim for a better quality of life without the bombardment of consumerism and materialism.
There are actually no rules set in stone for how many items you should have or the maximum amounts of things. But there are ultra-minimalists for those who live with only a few items that will make you cringe. Some count every item they own by keeping under 100 total items.
When we were little, our parents always taught us to save our pocket money in a piggy bank. However, we might not realise that saving money in a piggy bank has actually taught us to buy what really matters to you. So whatever your reasons are, does saving always teach us to focus on what really matters?
4. Minimalism is a scam.
No one is scamming you because minimalists are not princes and princesses of Nigeria. They are as real as it gets. They're even more genuine than any other influencers. They don't accept payments from any products because they don't promote a product. Still, quite the opposite, they discourage you from buying one. — except for Marie Kondo, of course.
They all have different approaches to applying minimalism to their life. Still, the one thing in common is that I think this is the soul of minimalism — the foundation if you like. They all embrace the living-in-the-moment concept.