Until three years ago, I only cared about becoming a “rags to riches” success story. You’ve heard the story before. A black kid from the hood overcomes many barriers to become successful.
I envisioned many guest show appearances from Oprah to MTV. People all around 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 could earn it. I became 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 had two closets full of designer clothes I didn’t wear. None of that stuff made me happy.
Then three 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 can’t remember the book’s name, but it introduced to me the concept of minimalism. It focuses on removing clutter and distractions from one’s 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:
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.
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 made it possible to do things that interested me. My next job doesn’t have to be higher paying or equal to what I’m currently making.
This means accepting less money today to develop a skill that could lead to riches tomorrow. I’m more strategic with my activities instead of letting bills determine my future course.
I find that business ownership provides work I like; plus, I get to engage with capable people every day.
Spend on High Quality
I still buy things like everyone else, but I prefer quality over quantity. I’d buy three $80 pairs of jeans that I wear all the time instead of 12 mediocre pairs that hang in 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 tried to include any minimalist elements in your life? If so, share in the comments below…