When it really comes down to it, minimalism isn’t anything new. The concepts and ideas behind the movement are self-help staples which have been around for years. Taking control of your life, focusing on whats important, surrounding yourself with supportive people, breaking bad habits-these things are the basics of the psychology of success.
So why then, if these concepts are so basic and widely known, do most people fail at them? Minimalism says that it is because people get distracted by their stuff. The worries, cares, and possessions of everyday life get in the way of achieving your goals. After all, how can you take control of your life when you are burdened down with debt? How can you receive the encouragement and love you need to succeed when you are surrounded by unhealthy relationships?
Minimalism isn’t anti-capitalist, or even anti-ownership. What it is is anti-distraction. When you have so much stuff (even stuff of value and importance) and are so busy (even with good things) that you lose sight of who you are and who God wants you to be, your valuable, important, good “stuff” becomes a hindrance.
The analogy of “analysis paralysis” is a good way to explain what I mean. Analysis paralysis occurs when you have data and spend so much time analyzing, researching, and theorizing with the data that you don’t ever take any action. You become paralyzed and afraid to do anything. The analysis itself might be good and accurate, but if you never move beyond it, then what is the point?
Similarly our possessions and everyday activities can be good, helpful things. They can help us live better, more fulfilling lives. However if we spend all our time acquiring better ways to live, new toys to play with, or that new gadget that everyone is talking about, and don’t actually live our lives, then what is the point?
Are you living your life? Or are you paralyzed by the very things that were designed to help you? As with analysis paralysis, sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.