Hello and thanks so much visiting! I created the Minimal Mode literally on the hunch that there were people out there who, like me, were overwhelmed by the information age and felt that there was a simpler, more rewarding way to live.
Hundreds of conversations and emails later, I have a strong feeling that my hunch was right. So many of us today are disillusioned by the trappings of modern progress; we have a nagging, irrepresible feeling that there is more to life than constantly buying stuff and going on the next binge vacation.
Throughout my time as a corporate lawyer on Wall St., I had the opportunity to meet some of the brightest and wealthiest people in this country. But some of these rich and talented people were some of the most unhappy people I had ever met. It puzzled me because they had every conceivable advantage in life: stellar educations, unmatched career prospects and incredibly high salaries, all of which could enable them to acquire anything our society valued.
That was until I realized how warped our society's values could be. Unlike poor countries, the problem wasn't a lack of stuff. Here, in the land of plenty, the problem was too much of it. In a consumer society, having more means that you are doing better. But I began to realize that contentment was not about having more, but was really about having less. To be more precise: being content revolved around having more of the right stuff (gratitude, genuine learning experiences, creative effort and healthy relationships) and less of the bad stuff (boundless material consumption, constant entertainment and other "sedatives").
I began wondering why many of us fill our lives with things that ultimately do not make us truly happy and had a small epiphany: people are afraid to confront themselves. We're afraid to look honestly at our existence; why we're on this planet, where we are going and what our purpose is. It's scary to think about those questions but once we answer them, what we can achieve and the impact we can make is limitless. Unfortunately, the pursuit of money, "stuff" and other distractions help us avoid the silence; they help us avoid that most critical conversation with ourselves. It's almost like we are afraid of the greatness that lies within us.
I knew that in order to change, two things would be needed: first would be figuring out how boil life down to what was essential, stripping away all that we've accumulated to distract us and cover our true selves up and second, would be figuring out what someone should do once they got to that minimal, undistracted stated.
Slowly, I began distilling the best I could find from hundreds of books, seminars, lectures and observations on productivity, minimalism and spirituality. Eventually, I decided to boil down my own "self-help" notes into a simple, two-step method that would enable anyone, no matter where they were starting from, to begin to implement change in their life immediately. The Minimal Mode was born.
I never did any fancy market tests for this website. I simply created it because I felt the message was too important not to say; as a tiny counterbalance to the forces in the world which tell us that the only way to be happy is to consume more, spend more and pursue more diversions. For me, this is more than a way to express my thoughts and earn a living; it's something I had to do. The world does have a lot of problems that need solving but let's clean our own houses first.
Thank you again, for visiting this site and taking the time to learn more about it. Anyone that knows me knows that it means the world to me.
A Deeper Look Into The Minimal Mode
The Minimal Mode was a system borne out of a deep desire to eschew excessive frivolity and to live with purpose. Far from being a stoic philosophy on meditating in the mountains, it was designed to help us regain sanity in a world saturated with information, corporate messaging and consumption. The system is built on two very simple principles of "living light" and "doing better". Let's look at each principle in depth:
1. Living Lighter
Living simply embodies a notion that we ought to live light on this planet while trying to make the most impact; trying to squeeze the most juice out of the orange. We have a phrase for this at the Minimal Mode: "minimize footprint, maximize impact". Great figures throughout history from the Prophet Mohammed to Mahatma Gandhi (among many others) have demonstrated the incredible societal change that can be achieved with very little material wealth. But we don't even have to go that far; at its most basic level, this principle is simply what our mothers told us at dinner parties as we went to get food: "Don't take more than you can eat".
We believe embracing simplicity can help cultivate the following three beneficial preferences or tendencies in someone:
- A preference for experiences over things
- A preference for simple approaches over complex ones
- A preference for creation over consumption
Of course, these are only preferences: it does not mean that you never purchase things from the store or have a tub of ice cream. All that we are saying is that when you embrace simplicity, consumption is not your "steady state".
Most of us living in the developed world have amplified consumptive patterns and muted/numbed creative patterns. For example, many people will consume televised human beings all day (a consumptive pattern) but not actually interact with one at all through a genuine conversation (a creative pattern).
Everyone has a different starting point so what "embracing simplicity" might look like for one person might be totally different than what it is for someone else; but they key here is the mindset.
2. Doing Better
Simply doing more for the sake of doing more is so last century. The cult productivity has everyone believing that mind-mapping, perfectly scheduled naps, and meticulously manicured to-do lists are the key to bliss. But for many, this incessent life tracking supplants the frenetic pace of life one is trying to control with another frenetic obsession of making sure we tick every box.
We have a different approach. We actually address productivity by first providing a meditation on death. That's right: dying. It's not the most pleasant thought in the world but it's also reality. We're all not going to be here forever. Starting from this simple truth, we begin to work forwards to your present day situation and allow you to see for yourself, how you are spending your days. If you aren't happy with the results, we give you ideas on how you can improve the state of affairs while retaining a sense of balance in your approach. The balance that we speak of is the balance to recognize that the majority of your life should not occur inside your computer, on your smartphone or in a fancy life planner. What matters are people, conversations, hugs, smiles, helping hands and encouragement; we will try to help you find what's real. We think our existential approach to productivity is neccesary if you want what you "do" to have any meaning in your life. Otherwise, why do it, let alone do more of it?
Of course, we also address everyone's concerns with getting more day-to-day tasks done, like doing our laundry or taking out the trash. Our mortality shouldn't result in us with piles of dirty clothing or living in a landfill. But our system clearly delineates these "hygiene" tasks from other more difficult or aspirational ones. Once you see this difference and learn to interpret it intelligently, you won't approach your days the same ever again.
Although we believe humans are fundamentally goal oriented, many of us are actually in a state where we are not working towards anything but are merely "existing". As a result, we use the following things to fill the void that is left in our lives:
- Material Goods
- Money (i.e. the primary reason a vast majority of us work)
- Distractions (name any website or TV show)
What is ironic is that each method of "filling the void" directly contributes to the negative trends we see today:
- Material abundance but lack of corresponding satisfaction
- Work that does not inspire us
- A lack of progress on things that matter to us
Many people live completely "disengaged" for their entire lives, constantly filling an interminable void with more things, with more money and with more distractions but never quite finding true contentment in any of them.
Fortunately, this can be reversed. There is a way to live fully awake and in a way that is re-engaged with reality itself. The best part is, you'll change the world in the process.
3. The Network Effect of Purpose Driven People
A key principle underlying the entire Minimal Mode system is: the improvement of self is directly correlated to the improvement of others.
Each method that we advocate has a positive social externality associated with it. In other words, by becoming the best version of yourself, you actually help make the world better for other people.
When you've been "activated" successfully, everyone that comes into contact with you becomes a beneficiary of the fruits of your brilliance. The people around you will benefit from your embrace of your inner genius.
We think that's awesome.
If you were to sum up our approach, the following quote by Tim Ferris comes pretty close:
…have more quality and less clutter…recognize that most material wants are justifications for spending time on things that don’t really matter, including buying things and preparing to buy things. You spent two weeks negotiating your new Infiniti with the dealership and got $10,000 off? That’s great. Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing anything useful to this world or just shuffling papers, banging on a keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends? - Tim Ferris
Frequently Asked Questions
What about having "fun"?
The issue isn't with entertainment. The problem we're trying to get at is that many people use diversions as numbing agents for the misery of their day-to-day lives. In other words, if you took them away, many people would actually be fundamentally unhappy. Many people work jobs they detest and they will plan their whole lives around their weekends ("Friday to Friday" syndrome). What we're hoping to show you is how to live for the other 70% of the week (aka the majority of your life). So by all means, let your hair down and enjoy life as much as you can: don't be a productivity freak. But don't let 70% of your life be a meaningless slog either.
What is the difference between you and [Insert Site Here]?
There are two main differences between us and most people in our space:
There are minimalism blogs out there with hundreds of pages dedicated to simplicity. For example, one of the biggest blogs on minimalism on the web has over 1400+ articles. Beyond being slightly contradictory to us, how are you supposed to absorb all of that?
We like to "start at the beggining": and blogs are just so frustrating when it comes to the self-help space. There may be some gem of an article buried thousands of pages in that I will probably never get to read. In what order should I read everything? FOMO? Maybe...but we think there is a better way to present this content.
At the Minimal Mode, all of our content is condensed and consolidated into two PDFs, that's it. Once you purchase our guides, you'll have everything you need. And whenever our guides are updated, you get a free updated copy.
So no matter when you visit us, you know that you are always receiving the freshest information we have, presented methodically "from the beginning".
Many websites sell a “one size fits all” approach to life improvement and productivity. The sites don't care whether 99% of their content doesn't apply to you as long as they can get you to look at one article that supplies them with traffic (which they can then show to advertisers). Although they may be well intentioned, the proprietors of these websites are not really in the business of selling a life changing solution, but rather in the business of selling ads.
We have no ads on this site. Zero.
There's also no "click-bait" (i.e. "Here are the 10 best ways to do X" or "20 Secrets of Y".) We don't believe in trying to hook our users with catchy content. We want to give them tools to change their lives and those tools should be obvious and presented simply, period.
If I have additional questions, what should I do?
If you have any questions about anything related to MinimalMode, don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be honored to speak with you!