But what about the rest of the world? The mass populace that has no IDEA what minimalism is, let alone simplifying their lives and decluttering?
I travel the world, currently in Southeast Asia, and have seen some of the poorest of poorest live happily, freely, smiling and laughing with their friends and family in mud/straw huts no larger than someone’s walk-in bedroom closet.
Like the little girl pictured above. I met her in Battambang, Cambodia, where she was happily and talently making beautiful bracelets and rings out of coconut leaves. Climbing the trees themselves, she would fetch electric-green leaves taller than her small body’s length and make simple accessories for those who wanted it.
Not for money. Not for recognition. But because she wanted to.
This little girl seemingly has nothing, when compared side-by-side to her foreign counterparts.
But what are we comparing, in the end?
Is it money?
Is it tangible goods, such as televisions, furniture, vehicles, clothes?
Is it food? The gross amount of it, or more aptly, the lack thereof?
It isn’t any of these and yet, it’s all of these, especially in the minds of wild-eyed and bewildered outsiders.
While Westerners are heavily troubled with learning how to pare down their simple necessities in life, frustrated over how to declutter their messy desk drawers and over-flowing kitchen cupboards, those in third-world countries are living their lives as best as possible, naturally without the clutter, since they have not much to begin with.
Let us learn to adopt such simple principles. Let us go back to the basics and learn how to be free, something with which we are so very capable of.
But what are the basics?
If you answered shelter, food, safety and love, then that’s the basics.
Not your latest iPad. Or designer sunglasses. Or that sleek and sexy Audi TT of yours.
Having more things does not mean you have more happiness. Poorly equate it and you will find yourself wanting more and more, yet gaining less and less.
Be assured that all you need from life does not rest in things. In reality, all that you need, you already have.
Climb your own coconut tree and learn how to be free.
About the Author: Creating a world far from apathy and false promises, Nina Yau is leading others as a prolific writer, traveler, thinker and philosopher. She's the author of The Radical Minimalist, Minimalist Freedom and her third book will launch summer 2011. Nina lives from anywhere in the world, most recently Chicago, Illinois and Taipei, Taiwan.