"The Things You Own End Up Owning You ...Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy things we don't need."
- PG Version of Tyler Durden's quote in Fight Club
|He must chew really slow ...|
Last week, I watched Minimalism on Netflix and listened to Ryan Nicodemus of "The Minimalists" on Jason Ferruggia's podcast.
It inspired me to write my own article on the topic, because I am a firm believer that less is always more.
The intent of this article is not to make you give away all of your possessions and go off the grid.
It is simply to help you remove some clutter from your life, so you can focus on what matters most and what brings you happiness.
My Minimalist Actions
I am going to begin this article by sharing some of the minimalist actions I currently practice. These examples should show you that you can practice minimalism and still live a very normal life.
I coach the same linebacker drills every day and I never use cones, bags, shields or sleds.
Think of the time saved every practice by not having to "dress our area" or teach new drills to kids who could barely execute the old ones or remember our trips coverage checks.
That extra time is used towards relentless execution of the basics, which in my humble opinion, allow our linebackers to play aggressively and without hesitation when the lights are on.
|Pop Quiz ... what is wrong with this tackle?|
For every new piece of clothing I buy, I force myself to get rid of an old one.
At the time of purchase, it really makes me think, "Do I like this blue Nike hoodie so much that I am willing to part with the black one?"
I have the same rule for books as I do for clothing.
Every time I buy a new book, I throw an old one out.
This rule became very easy to enforce, as I refused to buy any additional bookshelves and my current ones were full.
|Only the best books remain ...|
Note: This type of limitation setting with space can be very effective far beyond books. The same can be done for drawer space for clothing or screen space on your phone for apps.
I limit my social media usage to Instagram and Twitter 1x per week, soon to be 1x per month.
To be honest, I cannot remember one time that either of those apps has brought me joy. I usually leave a late night session of cyber-stalking feeling depressed and emotionally drained.
Note: This feeling comes even though I only follow about 35 people on Instagram and Twitter combined. I have no idea how people who follow 300+ people feel.
I don't watch the news or read any newspapers.
While I read plenty of books, I limit myself to one non-fiction book at a time which will motivate me to take immediate action to improve my life or the life of others.
To me, information is useless unless you find a way to practice it.
For instance, what use would this article be if you read it and then never made any attempt to reduce the clutter around you?
We follow the Holy Grail of Strength.
Enough said ...
How Far Should You Go?
As I mentioned eariler, this is article is in no way trying to persuade you to go "Full Minimalist".
|Never Go Full Minimalist|
Before taking any "minimalist" actions, you should think about "the why" and ask yourself the following questions before adding or removing something from your life.
- Will this remove stress from my life or add value to it?
- Will it allow me to spend more time doing the things I really care about?
- Will it open up some free space in my mind or simply add more clutter?
- How would my life really change if I did or did not have this?
If it doesn't add stress, but it does add value, there are certainly times when you can make exceptions to the minimalist philosophy.
Here are two of my personal minimalist exceptions.
This is the only fiction reading I do. (Although, those who know me best would argue that I consider Batman to be the very opposite of fiction.)
To be fair, I only keep the graphic novels I think are great and I reread them frequently.
|My Batman Collection|
I drive a very, very large SUV.
To once again be fair, I need it to carry around our training gear. Try getting a prowler, a sled, a farmer's walk pistol and 400+ pounds of weight into a Prius.
Also, you need a US Army Abrams battle tank to drive through and around the landmines we graciously call potholes in Staten Island.
|Welcome to Staten Island ...|
I think my Lincoln Navigator is a nice compromise!
How Should You Start
Focus on one thing at a time and don't tackle the entire thing all at once.
For example, I would not recommend trying to remove clutter from social media, your workout program, and your clothing all at the same time.
I would pick one of those things and try to break it down into the smallest subset possible.
For example, if I decided to focus on clothing, I would then chose to remove clutter from one drawer as opposed to the entire dresser.
If you try to go too big, you could get overwhelmed and give up immediately.
The Biggest Side Benefit
To me, the biggest side benefit of removing clutter is eliminating mental fatigue. There are only so many decisions you can make and so many problems you can solve in a day.
This is exactly why a guy like Jim Harbaugh wears the same outfit every day.
Digging for your car keys in a junk drawer or trying to find a shirt that's not wrinkled in a stuffed closet is a total waste of your precious mental energy.
Remove the clutter and you can get the clarity of mind back to make some really effective decisions in your life.
Remember, information by itself is useless.
Don't just read this article and immediately go trolling Instagram for the next two hours.
Find something that is giving you stress and immediately make a plan to slowly remove the clutter.
If you make good progress or have any great tips, please share them below.
We can all benefit from learning from each other.