We've heard it our whole lives – "less is more" – but what does it even mean? Teachers tell us this without background, and little posters of Buddha tell us this without frame of reference – but we seem to love hearing it anyways. How many times have you said "oh well, less is more" as a response – maybe for a joke or not!
Less is more is a phrase used to express an idea that a minimalist approach is better for something than a larger production would be. It's a lot deeper than that, but these days people like to use it to define themselves or justify their lifestyle.
When you think of people who use this phrase as a lifestyle maybe you think of underachievers – people who live in small, basic homes, with little decor and what seems to be little ambition to change. These people are maybe not seeking a physical life of less is more, but maybe they have to adopt it in a frame of positivity because their bank balance won't let them into another style of life. Some people are forced to treat less is more as a happy place because they cannot afford to live another way.
Or maybe we think of the young professional overachiever, portrayed as being a bit snobby, in their fancy IKEA flats where everything serves a purpose, decor is once again at a minimum, and their home looks like the front page of Advertisement magazine. We accidentally tend to be almost jealous of people who can enjoy their picture perfect lifestyle with so little but so much, but again, we never know the full story.
Why is less, more?
1. Emotional relief
It may sound a bit psychopathic, but people who are less emotionally attached to things will also feel the relief of not being so upset when disaster strikes. These people have hardened themselves to be able to quickly recover from breakups or financial concern, while still being able to maintain an air of happiness and gratitude. Less is more for them because they are able to live life without feeling trapped by emotions of the past.
2. The power of summary
We are almost forced to accept that less is more in our social media lives these days. They say the hardest part of journal writing isn't necessarily reaching the word count, but trying to stay under it. Professionally or academically for some people, our text based world of 144 characters these days has a positive contribution in the way we are able to summarize things. We can get the point across without taking up too much paper, and this is something we like to see when we're scanning headlines.
Of course the obvious one is to keep your home looking fresh and clean. We've all seen episodes of hoarders that look like our worst nightmare – are our homes on the same path? Take a look around and open your closet – did 10 pounds of boxes just fall on you? If not, great! If so, perhaps it's time for a bit of spring cleaning.
There are piles of things laying around your house that you don't need. Inside we are all secretly hoarders. Throughout our lives we amass catalogues of interesting thing that remind us of our lives. You don't have to throw things out, but in order to keep your home fresh, consider donating your things to other people, or limiting what you have out on display. Make sure everything serves a purpose and isn't cluttering your view for nothing.
4. The backpacker
Just for reference, what might be the opposite of a hoarder is the backpacker. These are the people living lifestyles we can only sort of dream about from our office – people who travel the world living just out of a backpack or suitcase, with only their possessions to their name. How do they do? Easily. Instead of filling up closets with new shoes, they fill up passports with stamps, and their head with memories. For backpackers, less is more – the less you have, the more mobile you are, and the more room you have in your heart for unforgettable adventures.
5. Your words
We've all gotten in trouble with our significant other for talking too much. Sometimes we just ramble on, losing track of our thought and words, leading us into dangerous territory. We make mistakes doing this and continue to learn about how not to do it again. Sometimes less is more in a relationship. You will learn to say only what you need to when things are on ice, and keep your points concise and confident, keeping your relationship safe. It doesn't take much to recover from a domestic argument – a few well placed words and gestures is often enough to save the day.
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