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Why the Less Your Children Have, the More Successful They Will Be in the Future

Why the Less Your Children Have, the More Successful They Will Be in the Future

I became a minimalist long before it was fashionable. IKEA hadn’t yet crossed the Atlantic and Madonna belted out tunes about the material world. I lived with an extreme hoarder. My mother kept everything- from cringe worthy art projects to illegible high school French notes, plastic disposable cups to magazines and newspapers. Minimalism became my form of rebellion. When I left home I stoically declared that anything I couldn’t fit in one bag, I couldn’t keep. I kept that stance for years.

When I began my own family, I vowed my children would receive not stuff, but the things money can’t buy, like quality time and experiences, hugs and kisses. Living a good life doesn’t necessarily mean being surrounded by opulence and luxury, but becoming a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your possessions and live in a bare room either. Minimalism actually makes your life richer, albeit simpler.

“The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” -Socrates

Fewer toys mean more creativity in kids

Humans have incredible imaginations. We don’t need excessive external stimuli to bolster that imagination either. I’ve seen kids declare they are bored, even though they have rooms brimming with the coolest toys, while others are happy digging in the dirt with their hands, making pretend roads for their one toy car. The fewer toys a child has, the more apt they are to exercise their ingenuity.

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Take a kid to the beach to see the extent of their creativity. With nothing but nature, a Hogwarts-worthy castle can emerge from the sand, ready to defend itself against the incoming tide. We actually do a disservice to our kids by dulling their ripe imaginations with video games that require little thought and toys that with a mere push of a button keep them amused with mindless lights and sounds. Imagination and ingenuity are two important skills that help kids to succeed in life.

Sharing helps kids practice interpersonal skills & develop empathy

Practicing minimalism means that you have to learn to share. This is a soft skill that everyone needs to learn from an early age. Siblings often have a hard time with this, but if there’s only one ball or one swimming mask, they have to learn to take turns or do without. Their empathy levels can spike along with way, and you’ll find that an older child may hand the toy to a younger one first, or your child may realize he didn’t want the toy as badly as his friend.

Sharing can help your child pick up on non-verbal clues from others, such as body language, eye contact, facial expressions & hand gestures. They can begin to notice when someone is getting antsy, upset or even bored. All from sharing toys. This skill, used by successful entrepreneurs, won’t be found in the classroom, it has to be learned.

Kids are less anxious and stressed in minimalist environments

That messy room is doing more damage to you and your kids than you think: Over stimulation causes stress and anxiety.[1] Clutter distracts and makes you lose focus. Bottom line: it’s bad for your health, mentally and physically.

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A study[2] on Kindergartners showed that they performed better on tests when they were taught in a room with only bare walls as opposed to the children who were in a room with walls decorated with posters and other visual aids. The kids in the bare room were able to focus better and be distracted less than the children in the decorated room.

Many kids and parents tend to overfill their schedules with after school activities, but the pressure can be physically and emotionally detrimental, leading to headaches, stomachaches and even depression.[3]

Becoming a minimalist will help you calm down- you can actually relax and not feel guilty when you don’t have a mess around that needs to be sorted or a practice that your child needs to attend. Give your kids a healthy boost in life and teach them to be calm and focused by decluttering your environment.

Minimalism teaches children to be conscious consumers and more aware of the reality of finances

The only way kids can learn finances is through us- the parents. If they see us splurging on a regular basis- guess what, they will eventually follow suit. If they see us stop and consider purchases first, questioning aloud if we need it or just want it, they are more apt to be weigh the pros and cons before making purchases themselves in the future.

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If you tell them they can’t have something because the dog needs some heart worm pills, but explain if you save X amount of money a week, that by their birthday, such a purchase may be possible, you are teaching them the importance of delayed gratification and budgeting all in one!

Kids tend to think money grows on trees, but by instilling a minimalist approach to finances and involving them, they can learn important life skills that they won’t learn elsewhere.

Becoming minimalist is the best way to teach kids gratitude

Minimalism is the best way to truly teach your kids to be thankful for what they have. Someone who is provided with everything on demand doesn’t know how important each thing is if they are surrounded by a multitude of stuff. Your child will be more grateful for that one toy or video game at Christmas than if they had a pile of them.

Give thanks for all that you do have, because even if it’s not a lot, it may be even more than someone else dreams of having. There are many people in the world who don’t have clean water, something we tend to take for granted. According to the charity Water.org, there are 332 million people without access to clean water in Africa alone[4]. Be grateful for what you have every everyday.

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Kids develop a practical, better perspective on life

Minimalism is not just the act of cleaning out your house, it’s a whole perspective on life. Simplify your life. Borrow books from the library instead of buying them. Spend a night out watching the stars instead of the latest movie. Eat a picnic in a park instead of dining in a restaurant. Live the good life through special moments.

The memories you make with your children are what they will always remember, and even treasure, not the stuff you bought. What you do now will affect how they are in their future. Raise them to embrace simplicity and they will have a better perspective on life.

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle will help your children grow to appreciate the good life – a life defined by strong family bonds, gratitude, and love and experiences, a life where less is definitely more.

Reference

More by this author

Sally White

writer, artist & blogger

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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