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Day 25: The Only Prize – Learning to live with less

“What’s left to be prized? This, I think—to limit our action or inaction to only what’s in keeping with the needs of our own preparation . . . it’s what the exertions of education and teaching are all about—here is the thing to be prized! If you hold this firmly, you’ll stop trying to get yourself all the other things. . . . If you don’t, you won’t be free, self-sufficient, or liberated from passion, but necessarily full of envy, jealousy, and suspicion for any who have the power to take them, and you’ll plot against those who do have what you prize. . . . But by having some self-respect for your own mind and prizing it, you will please yourself and be in better harmony with your fellow human beings, and more in tune with the gods—praising everything they have set in order and allotted you.”

MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.16.2b–4a

Mark Zuckerberg, a billionaire has 20 identical 20 grey t-shirt which he wears every day even in important meetings, Warren Buffett, whose net worth is approximately $65 billion, lives in the same house he bought in1958 for $31,500, John Urschel, a lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, makes millions but manages to live on $25,000 a year. So many billionaires live so frugally, and we on a middle-class earning strive to live a more lavish life. Are we missing something here?

The basic idea is that the more thing that you have around you, the lesser you are distracted. You need to take lesser decisions and hence you invest your energy, time, and attention to something more important and more impactful. As told by Ryan Holiday in his book:

The more things we desire and the more we have to do to earn or attain those achievements, the less we actually enjoy our lives—and the less free we are.

I am very much inclined to adopt a minimalist lifestyle for quite some time, the only hurdle being the effort to clean up. But I guess since I am relocating to a new home the opportunity is here to finally adopt this principle in life. I am not completely sure about how I will embody the principle in action, but I have some insight into which direction I will start

1. Read a book

I think being a book lover for me, the problem of every solution is a book. For I have really heard some good reviews about this book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book is so popular that there is a Netflix adaptation for it too. It is basically a Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. I am not sure how much of the book I can adapt in my life, but I definitely want to take some inspiration from here.

2. Get rid of things

Now, the idea is that if I haven’t used something for the last 6 months or a year, the probability that I am going to use it is even less. Now, I know it is hard to get rid of things, there are a lot of emotional attachments and other things. But I will try to divide it into few categories:

  • Discard: Things that have gone bad and are of no use to anyone. I am just going to throw it away
  • Donate: There are things that I won’t use but they can be used by someone else
  • Devour: Find out ways to consume in daily life
  • Deposit: Things that are of too much value, but not being consumed regularly. I will put all of them in a box and put them in storage.

3. “One-In, One-out” Rule

Now, this is a bit ambitious endeavor, but I don’t want to fall back into old patterns after decluttering once. I want to make it a rule to get rid of one thing if I am getting a new one. This will make it harder for me to buy things that I don’t really need. I am not really sure that I will be able to put this restriction on my books too because that’s something I love most, but I will try to adapt it for sure for other things in life.

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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