One of the core reasons to simplify our lives is to clear out the extraneous chaff we don’t have any desire for so those pieces we actually enjoy can come to the forefront. The basis is “if I’m not spending time on the stuff I neither want nor need, then I have all the more time to devote to those aspects which bring me joy”. So what happens if we want to do more in life than we can fit in to the years and/or resources we have? This is when the cost-benefit analysis game gets a bit more focused. At its heart, the mentality of minimalism to bring joy in to your life is about getting the most sustainable joy your efforts will provide for you. In my own life, this translates in to always trying to pre-determine how much happiness a given expense will provide for me. Do I want to expend my evening out with friends on my hobby, or would I rather stay home with a mug of cocoa, a cuddly kitten, and music (the later won out earlier this week)? Would I rather a new (expensive) piece for my hobby, or are there more pleasing activities I could do with the same money?
The idea of maximizing the personal worth we get out of what is available to us is not a new muscle to train for minimalists; it is an extension of the same practices used to pare down our lives since day one. The processes I used to find what should be taken out completely from my life are the same ones I use to decide between two choices I am confronted with. Is there a parting sadness to the process of accepting I won’t be having a given activity and/or object in my life? Sometimes, yes. However, it is rarely long-lasting, as the feeling of departure from one option is superseded by the clarity of action on another goal. When I have come to the choice to strive for option A over option B, I gain a feeling of focus on the steps I need to take towards A. This is how I regularly feel about paring down in my life, either in possessions or in undertakings I’m considering. Every time I can focus my time and resources a little bit more it brings me a sense of calm I don’t find elsewhere.
Life is better with direction and focus. Minimalism brings me both every day, so long as I practice what I preach.