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Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists

Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists

It’s really easy to get bogged down in pointless decision-making.

Nowadays, we’re faced with a barrage of pointless decisions merely by turning on our computers. They cause us stress and they only serve to waste our time.

Have you ever been late to meet someone because you were stressing at home about things that, on the surface, are actually pretty superficial? Or ever stopped working on an important project because you were distracted by something that wasn’t worth your time?

Well, there are some pretty successful people out there who serve as an example for the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism Reduces Decision Fatigue

As Charles Chu of Marketmeditations.com puts it, “The Zuckerbergs, Bransons, hedge fund managers of the world are wearing the same few things, eating the same few things and trying to work in the same few places.”[1]

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Look at old videos of Steve Jobs and he was always wearing the same black turtleneck. Minimalism seems to be a trait of many tech leaders. Famous singers and artists have the time to look flash, CEO’s of massive companies often don’t.

It’s not simply a matter of not having time, though; a minimalist lifestyle allows more time to be spent on the important decisions. Want some proof? Have a look at Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe, posted on his Facebook page:

    Facebook/ Mark Zuckerberg

    Slightly crazy, yes, but effective nonetheless.

    Zuckerberg has actually elaborated on his gray t-shirt wearing, which on the surface might simply come across as an unhealthy proclivity for mundane colors. There’s more to it, though. In a 2014 interview[2] Zuckerberg said,

    “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.

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    I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

    As Chu emphasizes, we should be saving energy on choices about material things and using that energy to do great work instead.

    Caring About Less Will Give You More

    It may sound counterintuitive but again it comes down to how much energy you’re wasting on things that aren’t important.

    Mark Manson wrote a bestseller on this very subject, called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

    “The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”

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    Manson writes in an acerbic, and frankly profane, style. But hey, recent research has shown that there is a correlation between profanity and honesty[3] so we’ll take him at his word!

    An excerpt from his book, available on his website[4], contains the following advice:

    “[When] we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.”

    As Manson makes sure to emphasize, it’s the “fucks not given” that make the real difference. Again it comes down to taking a minimalistic approach that will save us from caring too much about things that simply aren’t worth our time and energy.

    Caring about things less makes failure a less terrifying prospect, rejection less painful and unpleasant necessities more pleasant.

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    This doesn’t mean that one should simply not care about anything, though. Manson isn’t preaching indifference or nihilism. As he puts it, “not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.”

    So don’t care so much what people think, don’t stress about things that simply aren’t important, but are just a huge waste of time. Only good things will come of it.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr/ Alessio Jacona via flickr.com

    Reference

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    Christopher Young

    Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

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    Last Updated on December 17, 2018

    Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

    Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

    We live in a time of productivity overload.

    Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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    This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

      Is this you?

      Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

      When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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      Take a deep breath/change your body posture

      When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

      Focus on right now

      Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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      Take Action

      Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

      Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

      Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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      yoga-422196_1280
        Relax and enjoy the moment

        Stop feeling guilty

        Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

        Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

        Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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