Essentialism: Experiences Over Things
The best things in life aren’t things.
Experiences > Things
The newest iPhone costs US$999, or S$1,648 here in Singapore. For that same money you could get 6 round-trip flights to Bali, or a 10-night stay at a fancy resort on Batam Island, or even a round-trip to New York City with some extra cash left. Of course, in today’s age we all need a phone. But let’s be honest, most of the time we buy a new one when our “old” phone is still perfectly working. It’s not broken, it just doesn’t have the newest features.
Sure, your current phone works fine, but the iphone X looks super sleek and it’s features would help you get your work done even faster, right?! Well most of us don’t have unlimited funds, so when we give in to the ads and decide to purchase that new phone, we basically decide have the newest gadget instead of going on an all inclusive 2-week vacation to Bali with our “old” (completely fine) phone. Put like that, the iPhone X doesn’t sound as good anymore.
Own less. Do more.
Of course there are instances when this principle of Essentialsim doesn’t make sense, like when your current phone actually is broken beyond repair, or when you decide to opt for a new phone that is not as expensive as the iPhone X. However, looking at our overall budgeting, every time we decide to spend money on something, we prioritize that thing over other things or experiences. And sometimes that’s totally fine! We just have to keep our priorities in check. Replacing the broken washing machine will have to take priority over going to that concert, but similarly, saving up for a weekend-getaway won’t work out if we keep roaming through malls.
SIDENOTE: This is the third article in the Essentialism series. To understand what Essentialism actually is, check out this post first!
Are we too materialistic?
Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College, says: “Actually, if you think about it, in some ways we’re not material enough: We are too materialistic in the everyday sense of the word and we are not materialistic enough in the true sense of the word: We need to really care about the materiality of goods! Instead, we are in a world in which material goods are so important for their symbolic meaning.. what they do to position us in a status-system, based on what advertising & marketing says they’re about.”
Fill your life with experiences, rather than things.
Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
The best moment to embrace Essentialism
When you travel, you go weeks with way less than you have at home – often just one (big!) suitcase. One could argue that anything you leave behind for those weeks could be left behind forever. That sounds a bit radical, but when I come home after a longer travel and unpack the few items I have worn for the last few weeks, I see my massive closet with all the EXTRA clothes that I have perfectly lived without over these last few weeks.
Those are the moments where it becomes very easy to straight up do a sweep: I go through my closet and donate all the clothes I don’t actually like or wear very often (TIP: Do it straight away, before you become accustomed to having such a wide variety of clothes again!). But it also makes me realize that I really don’t need any new clothes – I’d rather be able to go on another great travel.
By Linda Rinn
If you want to know more or get that essentialism inspo, check out these medias that I have come to love:
Instagram accounts: @minimalistbible and @livingbetterwithless
Book: “Essentialism – The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown (yeah, I know, the irony of buying a book on essentialism! ..Maybe get the kindle version instead?)
Netflix documentary: “Minimalism: A documentary about the important things” (2016), 78min