“We are not seeing the world, we are seeing our state of mind’s version on the world” Mara Gleason
There’s been a lot of talk about minimalism over the last couple of years.
Maybe you’ve seen The Minimalists documentary on Netflix or heard of Marie Kondo and her strategies for tidying up and sparking joy. Or maybe you’ve read about the tiny house movement or considered building a capsule wardrobe.
There’s a growing appeal for less in this world of more that we live in.
At work this world of more looked like more courses, experts, books, business plans, information, competencies, tools, techniques, strategies, experiences, projects and approaches. And, if I’m honest, it all felt so very important and so very urgent.
I kept cramming as much of it in as I could, but it never seemed to slow down despite how much I was getting through. There was always, well, more.
On the surface this minimalist movement is a shift from addition to subtraction but beneath the surface maybe there’s more to it.
Without a shadow of a doubt the planet benefits and there’s never been a time when that’s more important or needed than now.
But what might be appealing to us is that on some level we all know that we do better when we have less on our mind. This is part of the design of the human mind.
Let me demonstrate. Imagine your mind is a snow globe and each piece of snow in it represents a thought.
The more mental activity you’re involved in – analysing, judging, rehearsing, regretting, considering - the more the snow globe gets shaken up and it becomes harder to see. In the middle of a thought storm life feels tougher and more stressful and we’re far from being at our best. We can’t seem to access our capabilities and the results sadly speak for themselves.
Conversely, the less mental activity you’re involved in the more the snow settles and the clearer our mind becomes. As a result, life feels easier and we find ourselves performing at our best.
When we understand how our mind works, we see the futility of worry and judgement and analysis and all forms of psychological interference and we naturally see it fall away. And, to use Marie Kondo’s term, it sparks joy in us!
Not only that, in this unburdened mind it’s not just joy we tap into but creativity, connection, openness, leadership and a whole lot more. From that state of mind the world already looks a lot more minimalist without needing to do anything!
So, we can tidy our wardrobes, downsize our homes and get rid of our possessions but without understanding how our mind works, will it really have the benefit we’re looking for?