Posts Tagged ‘frugality’

Minimalism vs. Frugalism

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Minimalism is primarily an aesthetic, hence why minimalists generally like Macs and iPhones due to their simple and elegant beauty. Minimalists’ decisions about how simple to be often seem arbitrary because they are based on aesthetic concerns, not practical ones — but minimalists often confuse the two. For instance, many people rave about how usable the iPhone is, but in fact it is a mixed bag — what it is, is beautiful. But Apple makes many design decisions to choose beauty over usability, which is why iTunes is so confusing and hard to use for example. Living with less than 100 things is another example — what constitutes a “thing” is arbitrary, “100″ is arbitrary (but a nice round number), digital “things” not counting as things is arbitrary, etc. It’s more about a feeling that is generated from the aesthetic in a specific person who likes that aesthetic than about saving money, conserving resources, not being owned by one’s stuff, focusing on what’s most important, etc. which are also concerns but are subject to the overall aesthetic. So when Leo Baubata says “stop buying the unnecessary,” what he really means is “don’t buy ugly things or too many things such that your minimalist aesthetic is ruined.” For what is truly unnecessary to the minimalist is that which ruins the simple aesthetic.

Frugalism on the other hand is about getting more out of life by maximizing value for one’s dollars over time, since life is time and time is money. (more…)

How Much Would You Pay for a New Habit?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

If you’re a regular reader of Beyond Growth, you already know that buying things isn’t self-help. If you aren’t doing the free or cheap version of something (e.g. pushups), than buying something expensive (e.g. a weight set) isn’t likely to magically bring about positive changes. The hard work remains either way.

Which brings me to a new $497, 28-day course “worth thousands of dollars” in changing habits called The Habit Course, from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and friends. (Hat tip to @7breaths_.) Personally, I think the most important habit to create in your life is the habit of avoiding overpriced personal development products, of which there will always be more. The chances are for most people who purchase this or any other program, compliance will be very low, the forums are likely to be dead, and the added “bonuses” will likely lead to overload and analysis paralysis.

In addition, anything other than just working on your habit is not working on your habit, and fundamental changes simply take time. While it can be helpful to learn a few things about successfully forming habits, it is all too common to become an armchair expert in the theory of success without doing the actual work. Just as it would be ridiculous to eat a menu, confusing it for the meal, we consumers of personal development often eat up the inspiration instead of being nourished by the actions required to make real change—most of which are completely free. (more…)