I have a confession to make…I never call myself a minimalist. That’s a bizarre statement for someone writing an article on a minimalist website but it’s true. By labeling oneself a certain “ist” or following an “ism” you immediately open yourself up to scrutiny and criticism. If you stand up and declare, “I’m a Minimalist” your actions will immediately be put under the microscope. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus say once you claim to be a minimalist suddenly everything becomes steeped in irony.
“You’re wearing makeup? I thought you said you were a minimalist?”
“You have two guitars? That’s not very minimalist of you.”
“Woah, Mike! Is that your fourth piece of birthday cake!?! Leave some for the kids!!”
Ok, that last one might be legit. But you see my point. The moment you draw a line in the sand by declaring you are this one particular thing people start trying to poke holes in it.
This is especially true when it feels like a way to improve your life. Some people will react like it is a threat or an attack on them. It’s almost a natural reaction to hear someone say they are eating healthier or starting a new workout program and then think, “So…you think you’re better than me!?!?!?”
Believe me, I get it. You are excited about this new lifestyle change and you want to share it with the ones you love the most. After watching Graham Hill’s Ted Talk I could not wait to share it with people and start talking about living a more meaningful, minimal life. The problem is these ideas will come out of the blue and feel like unwanted preaching at a time when they are not ready to hear it.
Let me suggest this instead. Seduce people with your newfound happiness and peacefulness. Demonstrate that it is a lifestyle and not some phase or passing fad. Maybe they will stop by your home and notice how much lighter and more comfortable everything feels. Maybe they will be having lunch with you and notice a newfound calmness and confidence. This will be palpable and they will be drawn in by your positive energy and start asking questions. This will allow people to discover minimalism at their own pace and they will be much more likely to be ready to absorb the message.
photo at top of page credited to ilovemnml