Life has a wonderful way of giving you lessons when you least expect. I was so used to all the clutter on my desk that I didn’t even realise it was a distraction until I started working on a completely empty desk. The realization hit hard. I need to declutter. Less stuff equals fewer distractions. I was no longer distracted by the toys on my desk or had the urge to untangle the wire. That is the magic of less!
We are often defined by the choices we make. What’s unfortunate is that we live in a world of choice overload. Choice therefore becomes a burden and not a privilege.
We think we are smart, but at every turn, we are seduced by materialistic things. Big hoardings everywhere you look, whether that is while driving or walking. All sorts of brands are trying to create needs that we didn’t know existed. Need to separate a yolk from the rest of the egg? Amazon lists 288 different ones for you to buy! And this is just on Amazon! Go on other websites or go to some supermarkets near your house and see the different ones that are listed there (As of this moment, I have been distracted by the dust that has accumulated over the chopsticks I don’t use and by the lid of my laundry basket being open).
There is a study which proves that the more choices we get, the less likely we are to make a decision. I think they are onto something because I decided to give up making pasta because I just couldn’t fathom out which sauce to buy! If you have ever walked into a supermarket, you can relate to this mind numbing experience. Stuff is everywhere! Most of us need only the pasta sauce but when we walk in there, we find ourselves walking out of with 10 other things that we didn’t really need, which leads me to my next point:
The fewer things we have, the lesser we worry in life and the happier we are.
There is value in simplicity. If everything available to our senses, demanded our attention at all the times, how are we supposed to get through the day? How are we supposed to do things that matter, with people that matter? More money, more things and, more success, often gets in the way of actual good things that we need more of: relationships, moments and memories.
There is no limit to excess. We can never have enough of things we don’t need and yet we are busy fighting this constant battle to have more, do more and accumulate more. We have started defining ourselves through the things we own and not through our beliefs or our values!
On the other hand, fewer things equal less effort. Anything we buy needs room for storage and to be taken care of. With only 24 hours in a day and hundreds of other things to do, why not reduce the number of things to take care of so that we have more time and more room? We won’t be needing a bigger house or a bigger closet or a bigger shoe rack! Imagine the effort that goes into keeping 10 pairs of shoes clean and spotless!
By having less, we are not only eliminating distractions from our lives but also reducing the amount of stress and worry we undertake. Things break and need to be taken care of. Just by not owning a car, I don’t have to worry about oil change, maintenance, insurance, loan payments, keeping the car clean, filling the tank, emissions testing, taxes or finding parking everytime I go out, which gives me more time to appreciate the little things in life.
It has been 2.5 years since I moved to Bangalore, India from Los Angeles, California and I remember being proud and happy that I only had 3 suitcases worth of stuff that I was lugging around. Since I consciously made an effort to make do with less, I moved away from Los Angeles knowing I had with me, the memories I lived through and the people I met. Not once have I missed anything about my lifestyle there and that to me is the magic of less! Everything I used, came with me in those 3 bags so there wasn’t a reason to lament. So, I want you to imagine a world with less…
This story was first published on my blog here. You can follow my blog if you want to keep up with my writing.