MEE: 3 Ideas for Delightful Living

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MEE: 3 Ideas for Delightful Living
Delight – a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment

We all aspire to describe our lives like this, yet for most of us, there’s something more required to reach that bliss.  More money, better job, extra stuff, new friends.  It can seem the harder we push, the more it never ends.

We can all get a little lost sometimes.  Maybe we’re bored of where we live, tired of our office job, or just stuck in one of life’s trenches.  Often the solutions are simple, but we make it difficult for ourselves by overcomplicating things.  I’m going to introduce three principles we can all adopt, no matter our circumstance, to help bring that little bit more delight into our lives.

1. Minimalism

Becoming less materialistic in life can open so many more doors than we might think.  The fewer possessions we have to think or care about, the greater attention we can put on the important things.  Those moments that bring us the biggest smile; friends, family, hobbies, work, fitness.  Whatever it might be, it deserves our full focus, without the distraction of ‘stuff’ getting in the way.

Below are just some of the many examples where minimalism can enhance our experience of life:

  • Work – Imagine you get that call you’ve been waiting for, the dream job abroad, or anywhere for that matter. Imagine how much easier, cheaper and less stressful it would be to drop it all and go, because your life is so easy to pack.
  • Money – You know that irritating box on your pay slip; ‘total pay to date’! If we think honestly about how much of that goes on things we maybe didn’t really need. Then think how much more of that pay we could have to spend on doing more of what we love.
  • Space – This seems an obvious one, own less stuff, have more space, but the benefits stretch further than the living room. Our physical surroundings influence our behaviour, everything in our home carries a memory, so pick carefully, and leave space to focus on the future, eliminate the unnecessary.
Eliminate the unnecessary.

2. Experientialism

Our next principle builds on the concept of minimalism, by shifting our pursuit of happiness, status and meaning from material things, to experiences.  Studies have shown the positive feelings we get both in anticipation of, and after partaking in an experience, last longer than if it was for the purchase and use of a material possession.

There are many ways we can turn things we might purchase, into experiences we pursue:

  • Buying designer clothes -> visiting a fashion show
  • Buying a bigger TV -> going to the cinema
  • Buying video games and consoles -> go paintballing / go-karting / to a football match
  • Buying the latest headphones -> go to a concert
  • Buying kitchenware -> go on a cooking course

After all, we don’t reminisce about things we bought, but about things we did.  Just think about how fast time flies, and the potential opportunities that can pass us by.  We should try something new as often as we can, plan things we know will make us smile, and reflect on each year with at least a memory-a-month.

We don’t reminisce about things we
bought, but about things we did.

3. Environmentalism

This third principle may appear misplaced, but is about more than just recycling rates and climate change.  It’s about being a good citizen, caring for the environment around us, and others within it. In a world as agitated as the media likes to portray, knowing we are doing our bit for society, the planet, and the future, is a peaceful pleasure.

The era of the mindful millennial is approaching, with environmental issues finally pushing their way into the limelight.  We have the chance to be part of a generation that leaves the world in a healthier state than when we entered it.  Being part of something greater than ourselves like this can infuse us with passion and purpose to apply to the rest of our lives.  In the end, society grows when we plant trees, whose shade we know we’ll never sit in.

Society grows when we plant trees,
whose shade we know we’ll never sit in.

Balance

Series one has already introduced us to the concept of experientialism, and its potential as a culture-shifting movement amongst millennials.  We have looked in various ways at the power of less through minimalism, in all aspects of life.  Sometimes focussing on lifestyle choices like these can become obsessive, so it’s important to balance it by looking at the bigger picture, at how we can contribute progressively to the world, this is where combining environmentalism to the first two concepts, supports building a balanced life, to be a better MEE.

For more minimalist thinking, exploring the power of less through topics like lifestyle, economy, travel and more, sign up for future series and exclusive content. Join the journey.

Delight – Small is beautiful

 

Little Victories: Why Small is Beautiful

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Little Victories: Why Small is Beautiful
Progress is the sum of small victories – Bruce Catton

Can you remember your last little victory? Maybe smashing through a to-do-list, fixing your own car, or hitting a target at work.  Did you celebrate or even acknowledge what you had just achieved?  I hope so, because you’re awesome, and if nobody else saw you do it, it still deserves a smile.

Little victories in our everyday lives are essential to individual progress, whether its business or fitness, building or baking, every completed task is another step towards our wider goals.  Let’s look then, at why celebrating these wins is all part of the power of less, and why small is beautiful.

Law of attraction

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the law of attraction, the belief that positive thinking can bring positive experiences into our lives, whatever we target our energy on is what will grow.  So, if we focus more of our attention towards celebrating those little victories, we’ll be attracting more of them into our lives.

Over time, this can become a habit that brings more positivity and progress into everything we do.  After all, if slow and steady wins the race, we might as well enjoy the scenery along the way.  That’s not to say the feeling of winning the race isn’t great too, but being able to reminisce on the celebration after each hurdle, that’s a beautiful bonus to be able to look back.

The more victories we celebrate,
the more we attract.

Momentum

Celebrating little victories or even micro-wins on a daily and weekly basis, means we’re continually recognising progress.  This can help keep us on track towards wider goals and avoid plateaus.  If we’ve worked on something for a long time and not stopped to review its development, it could be veering off in a different direction without realising.

Little victories will not only keep us on course, but build our stamina and resilience to the next hurdles.  It’s easier to keep going if we know the next win is just around the corner.  Using these principles, we can balance our lives to not get too high or too low, and maintain focus on what’s really important in each of our lives.

Balance

Of course, the big victories are always sweet when we get there.  Submitting a big report, feeling fit and healthy, reaching for that promotion. Often though, the high fades quicker than we anticipated, and life’s emotional tide drifts away to sea once more.  The big victories can be over-hyped and over-anticipated, we’ve talked about it with friends and family for so long, that we forget to truly indulge in the moment, as it fails to live up to our great expectations.

We can forget to truly indulge in our victories.

Little victories on the other hand, they can surprise us, sneak up and catch us off guard for a rare, raw reaction of joy.  We all have our goals and our dreams to chase, but nothing is guaranteed, so don’t forget to ride the little waves as the tide comes in.  Then at least if we fall, we did some awesome surfing.

For more minimalist thinking, exploring the power of less through topics like lifestyle, economy, travel and more, sign up for future series and exclusive content. Join the journey.

Delight – Small is beautiful

Minimalism: One size fits none

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Minimalism: One size fits none
Design the life you want to live, no more and no less.

‘I’m a minimalist’ is not often something that gets a big response.  The follow up is usually along the lines of: Why? Doesn’t it get boring? Or just simply, oh!  As a commonly misunderstood concept, it’s easy to categorise minimalists as one of the many fringe, hipster or alternative groups, perched on the periphery of mainstream society.

The power of less though, can run deep into the core of our everyday lives.  There is no number of items or style of furniture that makes us minimal, in fact the concept can be applied to each individual.  Prioritising, focussing and organising around what’s important to us, is the first rule of the game, and this can be applied on any scale, to anyone.  Perhaps then, the word is misleading, for it’s not the minimum that we might seek, but the essential.

Essentialism

What’s important to each of our lives is unique.  Therefore, there are no specific items or categories of things that we can rule out as unnecessary for everyone.  We all have our own hobbies and interests that require certain essential equipment to enjoy.

Let’s take sailing, an activity that for the enthusiast, requires a heck of a lot of stuff to take part.  The avid mariner may well own all the clothing, safety gear, and day trip supplies for their regular sunset sails.  Not to mention the endless equipment list that comes with owning your own boat, with maintenance, cleaning, storage and transport all to consider.  The point here is, for a sailor, this list of things is what’s important to them. If they’ve prioritised these by cutting back on unnecessary items in other parts of their life, then that’s minimalism.

We don’t have to have 1 pair of shoes, 2 sets of cutlery, and 3 packs of socks to be minimalist, unless that’s what’s essential to us of course.  We can all achieve greater balance in life through less, applying minimalist thinking to help avoid excess.

Apply minimalist thinking to help avoid excess.

Shades

Search for minimal images on any website, and the clean white spaces and well organised rooms come flooding in.  To some this is beauty, to others boring.  There are, however, so many shades of minimalism.  If vibrant colours are your thing, there’s plenty of delightful viewing to be had and ideas to be stirred over on Instagram.  We’ve curated some of the finest minimal shots from all areas of life and nature,  over on our delightful viewing section.

Colour is just one of many physical ways of dividing up minimalism, but a common theme connecting all shades, from a family of five to a single student, is an appreciation of space.  Whether it’s physical space at home, work and our environment, or mental space with our relationships, health and wellbeing.  Appreciating how the power of less can help create that space, is part of the minimalist mindset.  We can all relate to the lust for more in our individual lives, but that desire will never be met without an understanding of less, of the need for balance.

Balance

In series one, we’ve already discussed the rise of the experiential movement, and how society might be moving away from materialistic consumption.  This means it’s not just a small collection of empty wardrobe and white furniture bearing liberals that are the minimalists.  The principles of less can be applied to all our lives, prioritising and focussing on the essentials, assisting our pursuit for a state of delight.

For more minimalist thinking, exploring the power of less through topics like lifestyle, economy, travel and more, sign up for future series and exclusive content. Join the journey.

Delight – Small is beautiful

Experientialism: A millennial movement

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Experientialism: A millennial movement
Experientialismfinding more happiness and status in experiences than material things.

Suitcase full of stuff, or mind full of memories?  This could be the poster question for materialism vs experientialism.  Finding greater meaning, purpose, status or happiness through experiences is a growing consumer trend.  Some may say it’s a fling; after all the negative news of the last two years, of course we’re going to go out for the evening, or book that holiday, get me a cocktail!  But there’s evidence to suggest experientialism is here to stay.

The Stats

In the UK, a 2017 study by Barclays found that consumer spending on material goods has been dropping.  Spending on cars, household appliances and department stores have all fallen since early 2016, while shelling out for the likes of restaurants, theatres and cinemas has all been on the rise.  Suggesting we’d rather go and see a film than buy a bigger TV.

Some research suggests the trend goes even further back, with a study by environmental writer Chris Goodall proposing we might have reached ‘peak stuff’ as early as 2001.  Even the head of sustainability at Ikea, one of the biggest producers of material goods, agrees with the notion that we may have reached this point already.  If experientialism is already happening, then what next for this millennial movement?

We might have reached ‘peak stuff’.

Millennials

Not so long ago, showing off meant rocking up to an event with the latest car, suit or handbag.  In the modern world of social media however, the video of our awesome experience, will get a lot more love than the picture of what we were wearing.

The fear of missing out has become a powerful influence on the choices of young people, so the more we share our experientialism online, the faster we’ll move away from a materialistic society in the future.  We only need to observe the boom in popularity of festivals, gap years, and holidays, to see that millennials would much rather focus on fun than manage a mortgage!

Balance

Series one is all about finding balance.  Maintaining calm in our hectic modern lives, and parity as we each seek to thrive.  Experientialism is an influential movement for our minimalist thinking, but like everything, should not be taken to excess.

Social media brings joy, builds friendships, and can battle the conventional, yet the pursuit of approval and constant comparison is another path to the same trap of material consumption.

There is however, a noticeable difference.  It’s easy to compare two objects, your car might be faster than mine, her phone might be newer than his.  It is much harder to compare experiential purchases though. Two holidays might be opposite ends of the budget scale, but can bring equal enjoyment.  Each experience is unique to us, and nobody can compare that.

Suitcase full of stuff, or
mind full of memories?

Quiz: Are you an experientialist?

  1. Do you like to collect lots of your favourite things (shoes, jewellery, fridge magnets…)?
  2. Do you compare yourself to others a lot, including celebrities?
  3. If offered, would you choose your dream shopping list over your dream bucket list?
  4. Are you more likely to save for your next car over your next holiday?
  5. Would you rather own your favourite designer’s clothing, over visiting their fashion show?
  6. Do you perceive success and wealth as having more expensive possessions?
  7. Would you rather your partner bought you a watch than a weekend away?
  8. Would you share with someone your best picture, rather than your best story?
  9. Can you think of 5 things you need to buy, quicker than 5 things you don’t use?
  10. Are you more likely to choose your dream house over your dream location?

If you answered no to most of these, you’re probably an experientialist!

For more minimalist thinking, exploring the power of less through topics like lifestyle, economy, travel and more, sign up for future series and exclusive content. Join the journey.

Delight – Small is beautiful