(photo: Robert Krauspe)

Having less – fewer things and encumbrances – can often mean having more in life.

The last few years I have come to understand that less is more. Most of our lives we strive to collect as much as we can and then to show it to the world around us (spirit) in order to gain approval and admiration, earning the external reward of perceived success.

This is very much why I feel that spirit and/or the attention we pay to our external world is indeed extremely important regardless of the fact that we control our internal worlds. Yes, if something bad happens in your life you can choose to find a way not to let it control your mind.

But truth be told, this isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to say that money isn’t the solution. It isn’t easy to say you wouldn’t like a new pair of shoes or a comfortable bed to sleep in. It isn’t easy to give up what the world tells us we should have: bigger televisions, faster cars, or bigger houses. However, sometimes you just have to tell the world to take a hike. And when I say, “world” I mean all of those people who are telling you that you should be judged by your belongings.

I equate our collecting material goods to going through life on a quest of constant collection. Before you know it, you have a huge burden to carry around. What you collect becomes heavy, it cost you more and more money, items often break and have to be repaired, and you have to find a place to store them physically and often mentally. Some of them are not as pretty as you thought they were when you picked them up.

One day you realize that you could very well do with much less. You begin to get rid of your stuff; throwing them away, selling them, even giving them to others. This is often called “downsizing” in today’s vernacular.

But wouldn’t it have been a better idea to not have picked up all those items in the first place? To have lived life more simply, cleanly, and be less encumbered by “things?”

In the movie Civil Action, John Travolta plays a hotshot lawyer who was at the top of his game. He was financially secure with a supportive team of lawyers and a status that placed him within the top 10 most eligible bachelors in the Boston area. But he let something he felt was more important than money get control. In doing so, he risked it all. At the end of the movie he is in the bankruptcy court where the judge is asking, “Where did it all go? After 17 years where did all the things that we measure our life by go?”

You have to think about how we measure success in life and how the world is relentless in making sure that each and every day we adapt to the commonly-held belief that more is better.

Well, we are NOT our things, and you need to tell the world to leave you alone. This also isn’t easy. The year I decided to focus on the Less is More strategy, I had lost quite a bit of money. I certainly wasn’t a stranger to this end-of-the-year realization. I often joked about how I spent an average of $200,000 a year and wasn’t really sure where it went. But I was also very happy on many levels. The money just didn’t matter much to me. I could sit and complain and start tossing out lawsuits or pointing fingers and getting mad like many people suggested. But the truth is that money is paper and life is more real to me than a bunch of numbers and recycled wood.

None of this meant I wanted to throw away all my possessions and curse life. It just brought me to the understanding that we spend and buy and accumulate “stuff” and the world is keen on us continuing to do so.

You will need to find your own solutions and strategies for enlightenment, but to me it was just a point where I had to say, “Stop, no more.”

I am used to making a good income when I am working. But so much of what I was doing was focused on how I wanted to please the outside world. I have always (for the most part) been very internal and clear on using money as a tool and that success is what we believe it to be. It still doesn’t change the powerful influence that people can have over us. We do things to make other people smile and toss out a thumbs-up. So I simply ask you to consider that maybe you don’t need all the things you have. Maybe you could be very happy with just a few of them. Maybe when you have less, you will feel less stress. Maybe when you have less you will have more space, time, or a clutter free environment that allows for better focus. It’s just something to think about.

I thought about having many businesses to run when I realized it was not the right thing for me. Less was more – more enjoyable, more fun, more rewarding, more spiritual, and more sustaining.

Winjitsu Work Out

Make a list of all the things you have – things you have accumulated over time. Now draw a line through those things you think you could live without. Next to the item, jot down what it would mean for your life if you got rid of it. What could replace that item in your life? Would it be a gain or a loss?

And finally, sometimes it is not your choice to have less, as you will learn in an upcoming section. I want to introduce another concept; one that deals with how we respond to others versus how we can get motivated. Although the philosophy can be used to fuel our efforts, I want to focus attention on two ways we deal with our external world.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

Scroll Up