1 – 1 = 2.
Said no mathematician ever. But this isn’t a math lesson. It’s a lesson in minimalism. And in minimalism, we firmly believe that less is…well…less, which is (sometimes) more.
On the surface, the concept of less is more functions seemingly as a logical fallacy, the framework of a bad con: Get rid of your stuff, so you can give it to me! This paradigm only holds true from the perspective of an unexamined life. The miscalculation most people make is that: less stuff = more stuff. That’s not the argument we’re making. On the contrary. Less stuff = less stuff. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Is the math still not making sense? Don’t worry, we’ll write out a proof in plain English. Because minimalism means less numbers which is…more numbers?
In a consumer driven economy, the average person makes 35,000 decisions every day. That’s about as many licks as it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Pop — actually it’s about 364 licks, but you get the picture. These decisions vary in (metaphorical) weight and (actual) complexity. From the most simple and mundane — do I really need to tie my shoelaces? — to the absolutely essential — should I wear a blaster pistol today or lightsaber as my weapon of choice?
Studies have shown that the quality of our choices depreciate proportionately with the quantity of decisions made. In other words, the more decisions you make, the more likely it is that they’ll suck.
Let’s get back to the blackboard. To the “math.” If we write these equations out in standard MLA (Mathematical Logical Analysis) format — there is no such thing by the way — we get the formula: Less stuff = fewer decisions, which (in theory) = better choices.
So we’ve done the numbers; Einstein would be so flippin’ proud right now. But how does this serve a practical purpose in our lives? How do we add value to our experiences by taking away excess things? For starters, exercising minimalism. Do a simple experiment: take a quick survey of your stuff, determine what isn’t currently adding value to your life — the items you haven’t used in, let’s say, the last month and you won’t be using again in the next 30 days — and get rid of
it them; one thing doesn’t count. Haul that shit straight to your local Goodwill.
Just try it. Start small. Gain momentum. You won’t regret it. Your closet and your mind will thank you. Count the number of times you think less about the not-so-important decisions in your life (will these wingtips look good with this blazer?) and focus more on cultivating your passions. In minimalism, value is calculated not by the number of things you own, but rather by the quality of the experiences they contribute to.
Math is obviously not a minimalist’s strong point, but, as you can clearly see, we’ve “crunched the numbers” on our sophisticated
TI-84s abacus counting tablets and proven the correlation. Less is less. Which is sometimes more.
Own less. Think more.