Shortly after I became aware of Subhorup Dasgupta's blog, I began to admire him because not only is he a good writer but also he and I seem to share the same "less is more" philosophy. More recently, we started corresponding by emails. In a recent one, he surprised me by asking me to consider writing a guest post for him. I had heard of this concept, but I had always thought of it as being a waste of valuable time. After all, I am concerned about maintaining my own blog. Moreover, I did not know the mechanics of it; I did not know in what manner or format I could send a post to him. Nevertheless, because I felt honored by the request, I considered it.
I thought that I had two options: 1) I could ask him to replicate either My Life in Boxes post or My Life in a Suitcase post which describe my minimalist philosophy, or 2) I could write an original post elaborating on these concepts and showing how they can be applied and of benefit. After reading his Guest Posts page, I decided that the latter was more appropriate and better.
|Grace is a state of mind, of being able to see that receiving is really the other side of giving, that without one, the other cannot exist.|
I realized, though, that I did not know how they can be applied and of benefit in other situations and for other people but I knew that I would arrive at a solution. I believe that I have done so now. I believe that because I believe that. I believe that it is best not to harm other individuals. If I believed otherwise then it would be incumbent upon me to change my belief. After all, why believe in something that is objectively not good, or not as good or better than something else? Moreover, I have come across some statements that verify the veracity of my approach.
The first is to "kill them all and let God sort them out".
Well, maybe not literally. However, the idea behind it is to get rid of everything and let the chips fall where they may. I did that when I worked for Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco. I became aware that there were four or five different places to store things, such as deposit slips. This often made it difficult and expensive when it came to ordering supplies. Someone may order more deposit slips because he/she did not see deposit slips in one place, not realizing that there were many more deposit slips in other places. I decided to organize everything. To do so, I had to throw away many other things. I remember finding forms from 1964. They were obviously no longer needed. I remember finding forms that were completed by customers and which needed to be retained by the Bank for six months, but which were seven(+) years old. I also threw away some unique and somewhat mysterious forms. About a month or so later, I overheard a colleague looking for those forms. I did not say anything because I did not want to get into trouble, but I do believe that an alternative was found. Out of the thousands of items that I threw away, this was the only one that had any impact at all by its absence.
I did that also when I moved to India, when I got rid of a tremendous amount of things in order to fit everything into three large suitcases. I did that also after I arrived and realized that many things (primarily CDs and DVDs) were no longer needed or wanted.
Of course, you may not have the authority or the interest to get rid of things in your business environment, and you may not be shifting/moving halfway around the globe, but you can do things in your personal life. In addition to unwanted and unneeded CDs and DVDs, you can get rid of books. This may seem to be strange advice coming from a writer and someone who was enormously influenced by books. I think that my life would be completely different had I not read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and I had decided to read that simply because I had always been fascinated by thick paperback books. However, although there may be good reasons to read books, there really are few good reasons to keep them. Growing up, I remember seeing rows and rows of books throughout our home. My mother had apparently read all of them but, even as a child, I never understood why she kept them; I never saw her reading the same book twice. Moreover, today, you can read many books (and, of course, blogs) online. I do not know if Atlas Shrugged is available online, but I do know that The Mahabharata is available online and I was tremendously influence by Everyday Anarchy by Stefan Molyneux which I read here (although Stefan--as do I--would appreciate a donation if you have found his work informative, admirable and beneficial). Virtually any book that you can find online can be downloaded, usually at amazon.com.
The second is to "pay it forward".
This is what Caroline (my wife) and I strive to do. In shifting from the U.S., I gave many things to the local Goodwill store--a chain of stores that accepts donations and sells them (primarily to poor people)--at very affordable prices. After her mother's death, Caroline has been redoubling her efforts to give things away to the poor people. Caroline has always felt that you can not take it with you (i.e., when you pass away, your possessions will no longer be your possessions).
Of course, there are some possessions that you do need and want. There may be some possessions that you may want to give to your children or grandchildren. There are some possessions such as clothes and toothpaste that you need today, tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that. However, all the things that you neither need nor want will be appreciated and utilized better by others.
|Paying it forward is the law of nature. Every component of it is focused on thriving and letting thrive.|
The third is, "Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff".
I am not sure if this is the exact same quotation that I have heard before, but I was surprised when I found that it was made into a book by Richard Carlson. I am also not sure if this is truly applicable. After all, and as I mentioned in the paragraph above, there may well be some important stuff. There may be some things that you will want to leave to your heirs. There may be some things that you urgently need in the foreseeable future. However, if you rid yourself of everything else then you can focus on the truly important things. The unimportant things in our lives are often the things over which we have little control and which often cause distress in our lives. The important things are often the things over which we have more control and which often results in happiness. By minimizing the stuff in our lives, we can increase our success.
The entire philosophy of expats and PTs (Perpetual Travellers, Permanent Tourists, Passing Through, Prior Taxpayers, etc.) is to increase options. Instead of having a book, you can read blogs (preferably Subhorup's and mine) or read books online or by download. Instead of CDs and DVDs you can watch or listen to youtube. Instead of buying and maintaining a car, you could take a bus, taxi or train, or ride a bicycle (still a possession, but a much smaller possession) to your destination. Instead of the enormous time, effort and expense of preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards, you may want to consider doing what Rob Rhinehart has done. In all of these examples, and others, you can continue to do what you want to do but without all of the accoutrements.
Perhaps the last could be, "Life is a journey, enjoy the ride".