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 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; 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 we were told at dinner parties as children: "Don't take more than you can eat".

We believe embracing simplicity can help cultivate the following three beneficial preferences or tendencies:

  • 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 face-to-face 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 makes little sense. 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 incessant life tracking simply supplants the frenetic pace of life one is trying to control with another frenetic obsession of making sure he or she ticks 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. This balance recognizes 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 necessary 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 advocated here 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

have additional questions?

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