Thought Catalog
December 9, 2016

The Art Of Doing Less

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What is the issue?
Veronika Balasyuk
Veronika Balasyuk

We often lose touch with our authentic selves in a time when we are defined by what we do and how we look doing it rather than whom we really are. Dissatisfaction through competitive comparison is heightened, as social media has become our best friend. We are so busy updating our networking profiles that we have no time to actually meet people. We are so busy documenting our lives that we forget how to live it.

Spend less time plugged in. Go meet a friend face to face. Take a walk. Read a book. Mix a salad.

As we plan out every detail of our lives, we have lost the spontaneity of being. Give yourself the time, and the space to dream much bigger than cozy homes, picket fences, cool cars, extravagant vacations and popular friends. Embrace your childhood idealism, and the desire to use your unique talents to help better the world and yourself in some way.

Write down your crazy child-hood dream. If you don’t remember it, browse through an old album. Think about all the non-essential commitments in your life. How much time and energy do you invest seeking attention from others? What is your motivation behind achieving something, purchasing a product or even as simple as sharing on social media? Is it to add value to your own or someone else’s life?

Are you encouraging personal growth and intellectual curiosity, or are you spreading superficiality and envy? Most of all, are you pretending to be someone you think others will admire? The next time you share something, ask yourself if you let social media become more important than the moment itself.

Image crafting has become such a daily part of life today with the glossy sheen of technology painting such a pretty picture, that one can hardly tell it is an illusion.

We have become works of art, beautiful but lacking in originality, winding a web of deception within our subjective worlds. We seem to be dissolving our individuality, blending into a mass of consciousness that does not know itself.

It is this force, which is taking over as we grapple with information that overwhelms us, and influences the way we view others, and ultimately our own outlook in life. We are being conditioned to see what we can use and how. It’s uncommon to mind your own business, because everybody is a potential business opportunity, a measurement statistic and a comparison
tool.

Happiness has become an obsession, and people place too much value on it today. The higher we rate something the more we think about it, and analyze whether we are actually as happy as the people we see on beautiful billboards or perfected advertisements.

What if we stopped rating the pursuit of happiness so highly? What if we started accepting the impermanence of life, the uncertainty, the calmness and the chaos without clinging to those few moments of ecstasy as a desirable state of constancy?

Profit-driven companies convince us that we need things to make us happy. So we shop and shop but it’s never enough. How much money do you really want and how much do you actually need? If you spend your life locked in a cubicle, when will you find the time to enjoy it? If we try to live simpler, slower and uncluttered lives, we would have time to figure out what is really valuable. The most meaningful things in life cost very little or they cost nothing at all.

Materialism is a necessary part of enjoying life, however consumerism is extravagant, exploiting the temptation of the ego.

Imagine you had all the money in the world, and you could buy whatever you liked. Then imagine you already had all of it, the beautiful house, expensive clothes, a fancy wedding, that snazzy car, the hottest girl, the perfect husband, smart children. What now? When we get what we want, why do we lose interest in it? It is because we’re attached to the image of perfection in our heads. If we stop living according to preconceived notions, we cultivate gratefulness, and create space for new ideas to broaden our perspectives.

We are too scared to stop and think, because it is in those moments of quiet we realize that we are not living the lives we would like to. Worse yet, we are not even trying.

When the mind is calm, we discover parts of ourselves that we never knew existed. Self-reflection helps us assimilate our experiences and understand them. If we are constantly overwhelmed by the world, we don’t comprehend it especially in our fast-paced age. If we are always productive, we will never be passionate. If we are always consuming, we will never be creative.

Try simple ways of being in the moment. When you are eating lunch or dinner, chew slowly and focus on your food. Don’t watch television or call a friend. When you are in the subway, instead of plugging in your headphones, or playing a virtual game, observe people and watch yourself. Sometimes it’s good to do less, think less, buy less and give yourself the space to listen and grow. For this to work, you must have faith in whatever force you believe in but mostly trust in yourself. Trust comes from intimacy, and intimacy takes time.

Give yourself some time. You’ll be surprised by what you find. Spend time with yourself doing the bare minimum. Breathe. Less is more. TC mark