The mind is a powerful tool. It is also an adaptable tool. The best way to develop yourself and find the peace of mind that you have been seeking is by decluttering your mind. If this is something you are interested in, then keep reading as I’m about to explain how you can declutter your mind by adopting mindset minimalism.
I have already covered minimalism in a previous post but this time I will be taking the concept in a different direction. When it comes to mindset minimalism we are not so concerned about becoming free from possessions. What we are looking do to is free up our minds from the mental noise and distractions that have built up over a lifetime.
Let’s examine three different ways you can go about declutting your mind.
BECOME LESS BUSY
Being busy is the norm nowadays. One way of decluttering your mind is to reduce the amount of stuff you are doing on a daily basis. This could mean opting out of your hectic job or just taking more time off.
When you make a point of becoming less busy, you free up space in your schedule to be with yourself. For some people being with themselves might sound like a hellish nightmare (which is a big problem) but spending time alone allows you to contemplate and solve internal issues. You remove yourself from the rat race and suddenly your mind quietens.
Some might argue that ‘not being busy’ is a luxury that only those with money can afford but I tend to lean toward the belief that selecting this type of lifestyle is a choice. There are so many options out there for work that doesn’t necessarily require you to spend your whole life in constant go mode.
It’s not something that will happen overnight but working towards developing this type of lifestyle is what you should be striving for if you want to be in the best position to completely declutter your mind.
I know from personal experience that giving yourself space is an amazing advantage as you move forward in life, even if it’s just temporary space. When you allow yourself the time to reflect, the stresses of your former life begin to dissolve, it’s from this place that you can begin to build up strong foundations once again.
This new-found time can be used to focus on human priorities such as diet, exercise, meditation, human interaction and fun!
BE AWARE OF CULTURAL INFLUENCES
We are living in a world where everyone is out to get your attention and to influence your behaviour. This is especially true when you the consider overabundance of information on the internet and that most of it comes with along with some sort of agenda.
To declutter your mind, you should be selective with the type of influences you are exposing yourself to. Set clear boundaries on the type of information you are prepared to take. If you can do this then not only will your mind slowly begin to drain of all the negative influences but will be replaced with positive influences that can impact your life in a positive way.
ORGANISE AROUND SIMPLICITY
A great way to declutter your mind is to become more organised in your life. A lack of organisation, leads to a lack of direction and a lack of direction leads to clutter.
Try to figure out your priorities. What are the main things you value? What are the goals you want to be working towards?
Once you have figured out the most important aspects of your life, you can concentrate on becoming organised and creating habits around these.
With this being said you should always keep it as simple as possible. Being too rigid with your organisation can also create problems. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t become obsessed with your own routine.
The point I’m trying to make is that having simplified organisation in place will reduce the unknown, reduce mental noise and clear your mind up for the important stuff.
In this post, I’m going to be briefly reviewing what I believe to be one of the best laptops for travelling if you are on a budget – the Asus T100TAF. This is the laptop that I relied on throughout my entire backpacking trip and for six months afterwards as I set up a life in Taiwan.
To get straight to the point, this is by no means the best all-around travel laptop. I’m sure you could find a variety of better products if money is not an issue for you. However, I’m writing this review for people who are planning to travel for an extended period and want to pick up a portable laptop which they can take with them for a minimal investment.
I remember that in the couple of months before I took off travelling I was looking everywhere for a portable device that I could buy for my travels and use on the road. I considered buying some type of tablet but most of the options were out of my price range and didn’t really meet my requirements. I would have loved to take a 13 inch MacBook, but again this was way too expensive for me at the time.
I stumbled across the Asus Transformer T100TAF and realised it was the perfect option for someone in my situation for three main reasons.
First off, it is $200 mark which was very affordable. I had spent the last year saving up and barley had enough money to take off travelling so spending as little as possible on a laptop was ideal.
Secondly, this laptop is small at 10 inches and lightweight at just over 0.5 kilograms. The last thing I wanted was to be carrying around a heavy electronic device in my bag while travelling – it was my goal to be as free as a bird! You can’t even notice the weight of carrying the Asus Transformer in a backpack which is amazing considering the laptop that provided me with so much value. Because the laptop is so small it might take a little while for you to adjust to typing on the keyboard but it really is fine once you get used to it.
Thirdly, the Asus T100TAF has a touch screen that can be detached from the keyboard and used separately. This was fantastic as it allowed me to use the device as a laptop for working and as a tablet for general browsing. I was able to read books and watch movies as a tablet, while also do more serious tasks such as make bookings, write and even teach English online!
Another thing to mention is the battery life which is obviously important if you are on the road. There’s good and bad news here. The good news is that the battery life lasts for a while – but remember to turn on flight mode when you are not using it. The bad news is that it takes quite a while to charge (at least in my experience) I think this is because the device comes with a tiny phone like power adapter. Having to deal with a 4-hour charging time did get slightly frustrating but wasn’t a big problem if you charged overnight.
So, should you get the Asus Transformer T100TAF for your travels? I would say it depends on your usage requirements and the money you are prepared to shell out on a device. One of the main flaws with the Asus Transformer is the lack of space. At only 32BG I found myself running out of storage space often which did get a little bit frustrating. It’s for this reason that I wouldn’t recommend this laptop for anything involving video or any other task that is going to require a large amount of storage.
With that said, this is the perfect purchase if you are in the same poor man situation that I was in before travelling and you are planning to use the device for basic tasks rather than anything that is going to require a lot of processing power.
You can find the Asus Transformer T100TAF here. There is also a newer (but more expensive) model available which can be found here.
Choosing a career path is going to be one of the biggest decisions of your life but what exactly do you base the decision on?
There are normally two standard types of advice given when it comes to choosing a career. One revolves around finding a secure and financially lucrative job which will set you up for the rest of your life. The second focuses on pursing a career based on your personal interests and passions. Both are important but I want to offer a third option which I believe to be a crucial aspect – if not the most crucial aspect – of choosing the right career path for you.
My suggestion is that you take some time to dream up your ideal lifestyle. Once you have an ideal lifestyle in mind you can base your career choices on building this type of lifestyle!
Let’s think about this.
Using a financial measuring stick as the basis of your career choice won’t necessarily make you happy and doesn’t really make sense. After all, the amount of income that is going to fulfil you will be highly subjective and based on the type of things you personally want out of life, in other words – your ideal lifestyle. There is no point blindly going after more money when you don’t want or need it. If you choose your career path in this way you are basically taking one “happiness” factor into consideration and ignoring the rest. To me this seems kind of stupid and will probably lead you to choosing a career path that isn’t right for you.
On the other hand, following a passion can also be a difficult path for a few different reasons. Firstly, you might not be good enough at your passion to compete in a competitive world. If you love doing something but are not good at it then you are going to need to invest a lot of time into getting good at it (time which you may not be want to sacrifice). Secondly, you have a passion which you are good at but that passion doesn’t offer any value in the market place and therefore it isn’t financially feasible as a career, at least not in the short term. Finally, you might simply just not now know what your passion is at this point in your life.
Focusing all your attention on building a career based around your envisioned lifestyle means that you are always going to moving forward towards that envisioned goal rather than getting stuck in a rut. The career you pick should be something that you enjoy but also something with the long-term potential of realising the type of the lifestyle you want. It doesn’t necessarily mean picking a career that is going to offer you all the benefits of your ideal lifestyle immediately but one that will give you the opportunity to build that lifestyle with hard work and patience.
The great thing about this career strategy is it gives you the opportunity to take control of your life and attract the things which are important to you. If you don’t think about career in this way you are forcing yourself into a narrow and well-trodden lane which might not suit you.
If I look at myself as an example, I want the type of lifestyle where I have the freedom to live on my own terms, make my own decisions and create my own work that’s meaningful to me. It’s for this reason that I don’t think a corporate career path is a good fit and I tend lean towards entrepreneurial pursuits. By choosing this path I am sacrificing certain securities, willing to embrace some personal hardships and am prepared to make less money in a trade-off for more time. With this being said, I have never been that bothered about being super rich, I don’t know what I would do with the money, so this is a choice that makes sense for me based on my lifestyle preferences.
It seems to be that when you base your career choices around your perfect lifestyle everything seems to fit nicely into place. If doing something your passionate about (or finding your purpose) is important to you then your ideal lifestyle will allow the time to practice or search for that thing. If being extremely wealthy is important to you then your ideal lifestyle will reflect this and the pool of potential career choices for you to pick from will narrow. If you feel spending time lots with your family is a high priority, then certain doors will close but to you these will be worthwhile sacrifices.
By focusing on lifestyle when choosing your career path, you allow yourself to embrace the bigger picture. Making the important choices becomes simpler because while you may not have an end game in mind, you do know that the lifestyle you are building will allow you to use your precious time in a way that best suits you as an individual.
What to know what to bring backpacking? In this blog post I am going to briefly cover the items that I feel are good to bring for a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. This list is based on my backpacking experience and is flexible depending on the type of person you are!
Travelling alone isn’t as scary as it might sound. There is nothing wrong with it at all. Over fifty percent of the people I met when I was travelling around South East Asia were also travelling alone. In fact, I’m prepared to put my head on the chopping block and make the claim that travelling alone is a far more authentic traveling experience than traveling with friends. It’s something you must do!
I’m this post I am going to list the five main benefits of travelling alone. I hope this convinces any potential solo traveler reading this that traveling alone is a great idea for them too.
1. You make every decision.
One of the main benefits of travelling alone is that you are in control of every detail of your trip. There is no need to compromise on what you want to do, where you want to go or how long you want to stay. You make every decision which means you can completely plan the trip around your personal tastes. Travelling alone allows you to be very self-indulgent. I love it!
2. Forced to meet new people.
It’s funny because I’m kind of anti-social and before I went on my backpacking trip, I didn’t really think too much about meeting other people. Sure, I thought it would be nice to have some company now and again but that was never the reason I was doing it. Now looking back, I feel that the encounters I had and the experiences I shared with the other people I met where some of the best and most memorable moments of the trip. Who would have thought?
Travelling alone makes it far easier to meet other people. There are plenty of other solo travellers out there and everyone is keen to meet others– just like you. You can hop from one group to another and befriend some cool people in the process.
Of course, you can still meet people when travelling with others but it is a little more difficult as you have a friend to rely on. When you are alone you are almost forced to meet new people due to the situation you’re in. Just say hello!
3. Time for yourself.
Some people may appreciate this more than others but personally I loved having the time to myself. I don’t know if I could deal with three months constantly being with the same person or people without my own space.
When you are travelling alone you have plenty of time to think about life, read, listen to music and really take in the things you are seeing and the experiences you have having. This abundance of alone time made the trip that much more rewarding for me.
4. More booking flexibility.
When you are travelling alone you have so much more flexibility. You can easily turn up in a new town or city on a whim, without booking and easily find a place to stay. This relaxed attitude toward travelling becomes harder and harder to pull off with the more friends you have travelling with. You may find yourself having to book each hostel in advance to make sure that you are guaranteed a room together. The same applies for other types of bookings such as activities and transport too.
5. True freedom.
The final and greatest reason to travel alone is the experience of true freedom. There is no doubt, at least for me, that this is the most rewarding aspect of travelling. I love the feeling of being in a strange place with nothing to rely on but my own hands and mind. The challenges you face are yours alone to conquer and conquering them makes you feel unstoppable. You can go anywhere. You can do anything. There is nothing there to stop you. When you travel alone you walk on the earth as a modern-day human unshackled from obligation and society. You are free…until you run out of money.
If you have been following my blog, I’m sure it’s clear to you by now that I am bullish on reading books. Before last year I was never a big reader. I normally manged to read a Stephen King novel if I was going on vacation and I had started reading some of Eckhart Tolle’s books – which were very eye opening books for me – but that was about it. Nowadays, I promote reading in the same way I would promote breathing oxygen. I think reading is important and it has been a major factor in improving my mindset over the last year. In this post I want to explain why reading is important.
A couple of days ago, I saw a post on Instagram which inferred that reading is no longer important in a world where we have instant access to countless hours of free informational video online. I couldn’t help but to be a little miffed at this claim. Here’s the thing. Reading is not for everyone, I get that. Many people gravitate towards learning from experience or by observing others – and I do too! However, too many people write off books simply because they have never thought of themselves as the type person who reads them.
I honestly believe that most people out there don’t understand exactly how reading books can help them. It’s for this reason that I want to create this post. I’m going to talk about why reading is important and how building a reading habit won’t merely help you become more knowledgeable about certain specific subjects that you may or may not care about but has the power to transform your life in very real ways!
You should read books to cross-reference your experiences.
Stick with me. I want you to think about your whole life experience from birth up to this point in time as you are reading this post. What exactly do you know about the world we live in? How do you know it?
Let me make some assumptions on where you get your information from.
Obviously the most reliable source of knowledge is experience. You experience certain things in the world and then use what you have learnt through these experiences to guide your future decisions in life. The problem is that you are only human (I think) and the amount of first hand experiences you have is limited. It’s probably more limited than you even realise. It doesn’t matter how much of a varied life you live; your experiences are still going to be a tiny slither of the range of perspectives available.
It’s for this reason that you need to cross reference your experience with second hand information too. Where do you get your second-hand information from? Well much of it comes from what you were told as a child (from your parents while some of it from friends and other people you associate with in your life. The issue with this is that these sources of information are based around people who most likely have very similar experiences to you in terms of the type of world they are living in. Your parents have enforced their values onto you and you have accepted them without question – not to say that these values are necessarily wrong but you have still internalised them blindly.
It’s a similar deal with friends and co-workers. You are living in the same environment as them, you have probably internalised similar values from your parents, school and life situation – what this means is that you might well have fallen into a group think mindset without realising it. You parrot back the same predictable response because you believe it is true and this truth is naturally reinforced by those around you who hold the same truth – but is it true?
This brings me onto the media, which is huge factor in shaping what you think you know. Maybe you watch TV? Read the news? Watch Movies? Netflix? Advertisements? Facebook? Guess what. These things are influenced by the same modern culture that you and everyone else around you have become wrapped up in. Each of these mediums are haunted by the same Zeitgeist. For people living in western countries, a big thing to watch out for the Hollywood narrative. You have most likely been consuming Hollywood movies for your entire life and because of this, you don’t even see how your values are shaped by the engaging stories being pumped out by the same six companies. Really? Yes, really.
There’s an invisible narrative running through everything you consume and the best way to realise this is to break out of it and view it from the outside. Like a curious observer looking in. You can start asking questions like:
Why exactly do we do that?
Why does everyone I know take this so-called truth for granted?
How do I know what I think I know?
The reason why I would recommend cross-referencing your experiences with books is that they are diverse in perspective. You can spend a week reading a book on left-wing politics and then another week on right-wing politics. You read a book on scientific perfectives and then a book on a religious perspective. You can find books that tackle topics that you have never really considered before and may just find yourself finishing the book with a completely different perspective on reality.
This is exactly what I have been doing for the last year and I can tell you that it has really changed the way I think about the world in a variety of different ways.
Cross-referencing your experience in this way is an amazing thing to do because it gives you options. You are no longer tied in to one perspective but can choose elements of each perspective to build a more detailed mosaic of your life and the world we live in. The greater variety of books you read, the greater your field of vision becomes and with time you will be able to apply this abstract knowledge to your life situation.
You can change your life with books.
I have been reading self-help books recently. There is a stigma around self-help books. Not every self-help book is all that enlightening but if you can pick out the good ones, you will gain so much practical knowledge that can be used to shape a vision of your own life. I have found that reading these types of books have opened my eyes to things are crucial to my life that I never really considered before. Some examples for me include: work ethic, health and mindset optimization.
Of course, you can learn a whole lot of practical information from videos too and to be honest I have probably learned more overall from video content than I have from reading books, but one of the advantages that books have over video is that the format allows them to go deeper into specific topics rather than just giving surface level details. A great thing to do is use video content to explore different ideas and perspectives and then find good books on the topics you are interested in learning more about.
Remember the online world that we are living in is jam packed with people and organisations trying to get your attention in whatever way possible. You may be drawn in with a catchy headline but it doesn’t mean that the information provided will be of any use. Books on the other hand, because they are longer in form, tend to contain more thought provoking information. This isn’t always the case though – there are plenty of videos out there which are amazingly eye opening and plenty of books that are a waste of time. You need to work out which is which.
Also, keep in mind that video content is very new. Which means that pretty much all video content is influenced by modern biases in some way or another. On the other hand, you can go back and read books which are hundreds of years old – learning lessons from history and escaping the influence of the modern zeitgeist.
That’s about it for my views on why reading is important.
The things I’m talking about here are very real and are important to consider if you want to start living the type of life where you can think for yourself and make the right decisions for you own situation rather than being unknowingly influenced by external forces.
Going forward the main purpose of this blog and my YouTube channel is to promote and provide information on this self-directed way of living. A lifestyle that encourages individuality, creativity and independent thinking. I want to become a person who has a vastly open mind while simultaneously has a strong sense of personal boundaries. Someone who considers all perspectives but bows to none. I hope you choose to follow my journey!
I have never been one to own a lot of stuff. This was not something that happened out of circumstance but was a choice I made from a young age. The reason I have been able to make this choice and live a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle up to this point is that I understood the benefits of minimalism.
Before I talk about how to become a minimalist, I want to briefly discuss what I see as being the main advantage of living a minimalist lifestyle:
For me the greatest advantage of living a minimalist lifestyle is the freedom it gives you to easily take your life in any direction you choose. I would say that for me personally, the most important value in life is freedom. Without the freedom to make choices and change your situation, you are pretty much living as a slave. In this case, you are not writing your own story but are allowing it to be written for you by external forces.
You may have heard this Fight Club quote:
“The things you own end up owning you.”
This is so true and something to be very wary of.
The key issue here is that people don’t like change. Once someone becomes comfortable in their situation, it becomes difficult to break out and to choose a path that may provide less initial comfort but a far greater opportunity for growth and overall satisfaction in life. People literally become addicted to what they have and can’t see a life for themselves where they don’t have access to these luxuries which they have become accustomed to. This type of reliance on possessions and other creature comforts hold people back from achieving their full potential in life. They are scared to lose the things they have attained and therefore live a restricted life.
Another Fight Club quote:
“It’s only when you lose everything that you are free to do anything.”
People who take the opposite route and accustom themselves to a life with fewer possessions – or even the bare necessities – have an advantage over everyone else because not only do they not have physical possessions weighing them down but they are also more mentally resilient to the hardships of life as they have built up the reference experience of living without the luxuries that most other people rely on.
How to become a minimalist?
First, let me start my saying that you shouldn’t pursue this type of lifestyle if you don’t want to. There’s no point trying to live as a minimalist just because someone else told you that it’s a beneficial thing to do. You should assess your own life as it currently stands and work out whether living as a minimalist would improve your life in the long run. If the answer if no, then don’t do it. It’s only worth pursuing if you can see the benefits it would have on your own life.
After all, every person is living in a different situation and everyone person has different guiding values. In my opinion, the younger you are, the more valuable living a minimalist lifestyle becomes. A guy in his early twenties with no responsibilities and big ambitions is going attain a serious advantage for the rest of his life if he can train himself to live as a minimalist. However, a guy in his forties with a family to take care of might find this type of lifestyle to be more difficult and less essential to pull off. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a family man (or woman) in his forties can’t and shouldn’t move towards a minimalistic lifestyle – he probably should.
The main thing you should to do if you want to become a minimalist is to separate the possessions you NEED from everything else. And if you want to take this seriously, you should be strict when it comes to what falls into the need category. Don’t let the media and the years of being forced fed advertisements brainwash you into thinking you need something when you don’t. For every item that you put into the need category you should be able to verbalise its specific purpose.
To help you out here I will list out the items I am currently living with:
That’s it! Obviously, this list is going to be different to each person but I hope that my example above shows you that it’s more than possible to live with minimal possessions – I have relied on these items for the last year.
The important thing is not to get sentimental and not to get attached to those items you really don’t need.
If you don’t have many possessions in your life yet, resist the temptation of buying more for the sake of buying more – you will regret it. Only buy what you need to buy.
If your life is already jam packed with possessions, then you will need to start decluttering. After you have separated the needed items from the non-needed items you can focus on getting rid of everything on that second list. If you are hesitant about just throwing items away, you could take the opportunity to try and make some extra money for yourself using eBay. Sure, it’s a little bit of work but it will be completely worth it when all it said and done. Check out Gary Vaynerchuck’s video for more information on selling and profiting from your non-essential items:
It’s also worth considering down-sizing or down-grading bigger items in your life. Consider these questions: Do you really need a large house, or would you be just as happy living in a smaller apartment? Are you truly satisfied with your brand-new car? and I don’t mean satisfied for five-minutes but will that satisfaction sustain itself over a long enough period to make the car worth it for you?
There really is no right or wrong answer but these are just options for each individual to consider. Remember to base the choices on what YOU need and not what society says YOU SHOULD need. This is vital. Not just to live a minimalist lifestyle but to live a life you can truly call your own. A life that you find personally fulfilling. This is the main message I am trying to get across in every post I make here on my website…
And minimalism is just one slice of a much larger pie – the self-actualized life.