Minimalist Lifestyle Experiment?

“Lifestyle experiment!” I love the effect when these two words are combined. It sounds like a scientific method of life. I first heard the term of ‘lifestyle experiment’ from a TED talk of a young man who moves to a different part of the world every four months. I’ve heard a lot of lifestyle experiments such as a family not having sugar in their diet, a man who tried to live biblically, a Tech savvy guy who did not use the internet for a year. There are a lot of ideas on how to twist life but what I want to try is what I call “minimalist lifestyle experiment.” The principle behind this lifestyle experiment is to prioritize what matters most to you and eliminate what you do not need. The concept sounds simple but the execution is extremely difficult, especially if you are living in a highly urbanized city. In a world highly driven by commerce and appetite, you are a survivor if you can maintain a minimalist lifestyle

My interest on minimalist lifestyle experiment stems from how we define success and happiness. Today, we define success by excess. We live in a world where we celebrate abundance. We have an irrational obsession over accumulation which is influenced by our consumerist behavior. While we commend people with multitasking skill and with multiple roles,  we should pause and contemplate, is it worth it to have it all? It seems we define success in quantity. I was once obsessed of acquiring a  lot or doing a lot.  For every new task, new role, new item in my bucket list, I examine if this can make me happier or will this be an additional problem.

It takes calamities and life tragedies for us to realize that all the wealth you acquired and the status you gained in your lifetime are meaningless.

 

But….

 

I don’t subscribe to extreme minimalist lifestyle such as the vegetarian lifestyle, or full-time monks. I can’t imagine myself living in the woods with no wi-fi and electricity. I still believe in moderation. As what Confucius philosophy teaches:  The key to happiness is moderation. We don’t totally eliminate, we just prioritize.

 

Here are some of the things I try to work on to have a minimalist lifestyle.

Focus one thought at a time

This is probably the hardest thing to do. I describe my thoughts like tangible things that fall and break into pieces and my friend tells me that my thoughts are like waterfalls. And sometimes my thoughts are like raindrops I cannot catch them. It’s a challenge  to concentrate. I am learning to be on focus by living  in the present and by setting limits on the things I have to do in a day.

stop the busy

Stop being futuristic

I try to be less obsessed about the future. I keep a mental note that the future does not hold a promise. Thinking about the future gives me too much stress and anxiety. As what I wrote in my last blog post: “Brilliance is seasonal. Let go and let God decide when.”

It does help to be less futuristic. It minimizes expectations. I enjoy my trips, events and activities more because I don’t have pre-existing feelings of excitement or tension.

Savor the moment

savor the moment

Sometimes, we think about dinner while watching a movie. Sometimes, we think about our plans over the weekend while talking to our friends. This kind of habit is not a wise way to maximize your time. I learn to savor the moment by paying attention to details. When I walk on the street, I observe the random strangers along the way. When I talk to someone, I notice the person’s gestures. I have one particular subject at a given time to focus.

Declutter

I’m a trash collector. I’ve been keeping a lot of trash for sentimental reasons. Now I am brave enough to give up that things that used  to hold value to me such as my favorite shirts, my worn-out jeans, my college readings. Because I have no permanent address, I learn to have less. I don’t have a lot of room for everything.

Have self-control in social media and internet

This is very hard. I can’t live without the internet. This is where I learn a lot and share a lot of things. I try to fight the urge to post a lot in a day in my FB. I just made a simple rule that the maximum number of posts is two, that also applies to the links and photos I shared on Facebook.

 Have a minimalist gadget

Having a gadget does not sound minimalist at all but it helps to have one gadget that can do a lot of things. I like my Samsung Note 10  because it has many functions. I stopped buying paperbacks, spreading sticky notes around my room, having notebooks and planners because of my gadget. I become more organized and must I say environment-friendly.

samsung~2
Samsung Note – a mobile phone at the same time a picture frame hehe

 Turn off the TV

It has been a while that I really spend hours to watch TV. I just realize the TV causes thought pollution from TV commercials with wrong values to exaggerated news. I am taking in a lot of unnecessary trivia on my head. Though, I do like arts and entertainment, I just want to filter what entertains me and what I want to be informed of.

Eat clean

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My friends are teasing me that I am a goat because I have so many photos of leafy vegetables in Instagram. I do eat a lot but I always aim to choose the lesser-evil food. I want to enjoy food but I don’t want to feel guilty and bloated that I feel like I want to sleep after a big meal. I want to feel light and energized so that I can move quick and vigorously.

 Walk

walk

Walking is a real minimalist habit. I used to ride a jeepney to reach MRT station but later on, I replaced it with a 20-minute walk. Like most office worker, I spend so many hours sitting on front of the computer. I want to challenge myself to do something for my body and for my savings.

Save

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Photo source: http://www.news.com.au/news/editors-view-tax-cuts-a-family-affair/story-fn6bl84v-1225988288310

When you don’t know what to do with your money, save. It does not sound believable that people don’t know what to do with their money but in reality, people don’t. They are not the richest people in the world but they are overwhelmed by the amount of money they have. People have a tendency to splurge. When they have extra money, they buy an extra phone, extra shoes. My rule: I think ten times or more (and sometimes months)before I buy something I really like.

 Cut the bills  you don’t need

I always have regular calls offering postpaid plans. Because I can’t find the necessity and urgency of a postpaid plan, I decline. Having a lot of bills and material things makes life complicated. Money can give or take your freedom. Most of the time, when salary increases, our expenses increase. That should not be.

Change how you reward yourself

Rewards do not have to be in cash or possession. We always say that the most valuable things in life don’t come with price tag but this does not reflect on how we spend our time, money, and energy. When we want to reward ourselves for a job well done, we buy a new phone or a new piece of furniture. Instead of shopping, why not reward yourself with vacation or quality time with friends and family? Or learn something new? Take classes? Look for a new adventure? Invest on experience and learning. These are priceless.

falls

Enjoy life’s simple pleasure

When our aspirations seem impossible and when we fail ourselves, we add an emotional baggage. We want to eliminate baggage whether it’s in kilograms or feelings. My remedy is to gain appreciation on the things around me. Watch rom-com or laugh at your friend’s corny joke. Bring out your 16 year old self.

deny

 

Less is more 🙂

Miracle Art Exhibit

My friend and I  toured around Binondo, Manila. One of the highlights of our tour is the Miracle Art Exhibit in Lucky Chinatown Mall.

A picture paints a thousand words. For this, I will stop writing from here.

Positive

balloon gaSometimes I cannot contain my happiness that I tend to laugh and smile everywhere. I smile in front of my computer screen. I smile all by myself when I’m walking in the street. Some people smile back at me because they think I’m smiling at them but in truth I’m just smiling at myself. I laugh inside the elevator. I laugh at people’s corny jokes but I am actually laughing at myself. I think I smile more when I’m alone than when I’m with the company of others.

There is always a way to be a positive thinker. This is a reminder to myself because I know I am going to have blue days with my self-centered problems and talk to the plants and animals, “Why does the universe conspire to make me miserable?”

But right now, I just need some tranquilizer. Let positive vibes reign in me.  Let me magnify weirdness. And have faith that God is bringing pieces of my life together.

Here are some of the laws, theories, principles in my search of irrational happiness.

WARNING:  If you are allergic to selfies and other narcissistic type of people, please do not continue reading.

Law of Gravity

Keep yourself grounded. It’s very tempting to envy people of your own age group, of your own clan, of your own environment who are better than you. But you gain knowledge and get inspiration from people who are younger, less experienced, more successful than you. It’s not wise to compare yourself with them. Don’t compete but learn to admire people who are better than you. Admiration is a proof of humility . Envy is a proof of insecurity.

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11: 2

Receiver Theory

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receive—- receive——receive

I have one simple rule that I’m trying to apply in my life: Just receive and receive. When something is laid in front of you, you just receive it freely. You don’t question if you deserve it. You take it even if you think you are not prepared. You take it as it is. You don’t wonder if there is a better choice because the chances are you don’t. Instead of using the word, “accept,” use “receive.” These two words may sound synonymous but they can change how you think. “Accept” is often combined with negative thoughts. “ I accept failure.””I accept rejection.” “Receive” on the other hand, is more related on positive things. “I receive a gift.” “I receive a letter.” “I receive a blessing.”

Belo’s Law of of Attraction: The best attracts the best

I DONT LIVE TO PLEASE YOU
photo from http://mypinkvisions.com

This is my version of sour grapes and sweet lemon. If it is not attracted to me, then it is not the best for me. It is a better way of saying  “If you do not make it then it’s not meant to be.”  We often think that we are lacking something when we don’t get the job we want, the person we like, the school we want.  It’s like this: If a guy/girl does not like you, don’t think you are not good enough. Instead, s/he is not good enough for you.  Why do we have  to find flaws in ourselves?  Similarly, if a rejection letter comes in your door, do not grieve too much as if all your hopes and dreams lie  on a single life event.  It’s not just the best event that could have happened in your life.

Reuse, Reduce , Recycle

I have a lot of baggage but I learn to let go and run away from all the negative vibes. So what do we do with negative thoughts and feelings? We reuse, reduce, and recycle.  Stage fright is negative but  you can get your energy on stage out of it.  Jog, box, exercise if these can take away bitterness. You burn calories when you burn negative thoughts. There are so many things you can get from a bad memory. You can convert it to life lesson.

“When I look back on my life, it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened, it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And truthfully, the lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it. ” -Lady Gaga

Belo Principle for Beauty

If you think you’re pretty, thank God that you enjoy looking at your face. And if you think you are not pretty, cheer up. At least, you don’t attract people who are very superficial.

SELFIE
A real selfie should look like this