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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 February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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