Why I Chose the Minimalist Lifestyle

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Until five years ago, I mostly cared about becoming a “rags to riches” success story. You’ve heard it before. A black kid from the hood overcomes countless barriers to achieve success.

I envisioned guest show appearances from Oprah to MTV.  People everywhere would admire me along with a hint of envy.

To achieve this dream, I needed a Fortune 500 CEO gig or to play basketball for the Houston Rockets. After all, the adults in my life told me to dream big, so why settle for anything less.

Well…reality made it clear that my dream wasn’t going to be easy.

In 2010, I graduated from college during the pits of the global recession. I knew people who couldn’t secure employment for twelve months after graduation. Others took any job they could even in fields unrelated to their degrees.  

Luckily, I was a bit more fortunate. The Air Force hired me and offered better compensation than what was available in the market.

As time progressed, I became used to a consistent income and was spending money faster than I earned it. I was the ideal consumer who’d buy things to impress others which is the absolute worst position to be in as a buyer.

I bought cars, luxury furniture, and stored two closets full of designer clothes I didn’t wear. None of that stuff made me happy.

Then five years ago I took a hard look at what I wanted in life. While looking for financial books at the library, I stumbled onto one that would change my life.

I honestly can’t remember the book’s name but it introduced to me the concept of minimalism. The author advocated eradicating clutter and distractions to live a freer life.

The idea resonated with me and helped me find a level of peace that I’d now fight tooth and nail to keep.

Here are a few ways that the minimalist lifestyle has helped me regain control of my life:

Simple Living

The first thing I did was to stop using my home as a storage facility. I got rid of all the physical objects that weren’t useful, giving me more living space and less cleaning.

Zero Debt

Generally, there are two kinds of debtors. Businesses and investors use debt to create income-producing assets while consumers seek to fund a lifestyle.

As for me, I hate owing money to anyone! You may have heard the saying, “time is money.” So, why sell my future at a discount?

Purpose Driven Work

Learning how to control expenses makes it possible to do things that interest me, so my next job doesn’t have to be higher-paying or equal to what I’m currently making.

Developing a skill that leads to riches tomorrow becomes an attractive option.  With this in mind, I’m more strategic with my activities rather than allow bills to dictate my next move.

Business ownership rewards me for delivering value.

Spend on High Quality

I still buy things like everyone else, but I prefer quality over quantity. I’d take three $80 pairs of jeans that make me look my best, over 12 mediocre pairs that never leave the closet.

The same idea applies to my sleeping setup. Health research suggests that people should get eight hours of sleep to fully recover. Since I’ll spend a third of my life in bed, having the most comfortable setup is an investment to me.  

Experiences Over Things

I’ve noticed that when I don’t have physical and mental clutter, it’s easier to live in the moment. I could be giving 110% on a work project, enjoying a meal with a beautiful woman, or watching a mountain sunset from my balcony. These small things begin to mean so much more.

Previously, I thought I had to climb the corporate ladder for more than forty years before achieving this level of peace. All I needed to do was change my mindset.

I’ve shared some insights into my minimalist lifestyle. Now, I’m interested in hearing from you.

Have you included any elements of minimalism in your life? If so, share in the comments below…

Freedom is a Choice,

Lee Miles