What Is Minimalism?
People often wonder what minimalism is. I’ll do my best to explain minimalism–or at least, minimalism, according to me. So, what is minimalism according to me?
Minimalism starts with the goal, because minimalism is an approach, and you can’t have an approach without knowing where you want to go.
So you get clear on your goal and you get clear on what it’s going to take to get there. Minimalism is then electing the shorter path from A to B. Maybe not the easier path, but the more efficient path, and always the more effective path. Here we could use some definitions: Effective is doing the right things. Efficient is doing things right. Minimalism, therefore, is the the cross-section between the two. Minimalism is doing the right things, in the right way.
Enough ambiguity, let’s give an example. You want to lose weight so you decide you’re going to start running or jogging or taking spin classes at The Y. Maybe you follow a low fat diet. Will that work? Yes, I would imagine it would–eventually. But would it be the approach of a minimalist? I can’t say that it is.
The minimalist would decide to spend their time exercising on the extremes–very high intensity, and very low–and not spend so much time in the middle. This means heavy lifting, metabolic conditioning, and walking briskly. On the nutrition end, perhaps a controlled fasting approach would be the best approach. Nutrition is not as easy to nail down, because what makes for a minimalist eating plan depends largely on the person following it.
But we can be sure that the minimalist approach of “exercising on the extremes” would amount to faster fat for less time invested in the gym. There is hardly any way to imagine otherwise. Physiology denies it.
What Minimalism Is Not
Now this next part is important. Because here is what The Minimalist is not: Lazy. And here is what The Minimalist doesn’t do: Look for shortcuts.
Minimalism isn’t about doing very little. It’s about doing the least. The person looking to do very little looks for easy ways and quick fixes. This is hardly minimalist, because this is hardly the effective approach. There are no easy ways, there are no quick fixes.
But when you find the most effective way, and do it efficiently, the amount of work you do will be less than any other ineffective, inefficient approach. Because it HAS to be. Doing the least is not the intention, it is an outcome. An outcome of the intention of being effective. And that’s what makes it minimalism.
PS – If the idea of minimalism speaks to you, you may enjoy being a part of my email list. Everything we do–from working out, to starting a business–centers on the idea of becoming more effective and efficient in our efforts.