From decluttering to finding your life’s purpose, here are the most inspiring TED talks on minimalism.
Whether you’re looking to build a capsule wardrobe or to re-evaluate your purpose in life, here are the most inspiring TED talks on minimalism.
1. Minimalism For a More Full Life, by Grant Blakeman
Grant Blakeman lays out the hyper-connectivity that creates a constant barrage of distractions in our lives and makes it difficult to focus. With emails flooding our inboxes at all hours, it’s easy to spend all day just keeping up.
And it’s easier to not make any choice when we’re faced with abundant variety.
Do you lose focus when there’s too much in your life? Blakeman argues we all need negative space and time to process our thoughts. It’s not about stripping everything away. Instead, it’s about curating our lives and setting priorities.
2. The Magic of Not Giving a F***, by Sarah Knight
Be forewarned: this contains a lot of swearing. But it’s a funny look at how the principles of decluttering can apply to our life and relationships.
We end up with more time, energy and money for the things we care about when we calculate our decisions. This means politely saying “no” to the social events we feel obligated to attend but don’t actually enjoy.
Tasks, events and even people can impose on our time and leave us drained. But choosing what to care about leaves us more energy for what’s important. We’re less burdened when we stop caring about these supposed obligations.
3. Get rid of the unnecessary to get down to basics, by Colin Wright
Colin Wright is an author and full-time traveller who moves every four months.
He says that once we define what we want, acting intentionally means looking at our life and seeing what helps us get there. And the less we spend on what doesn’t matter, the more time we have for what does.
Being intentional with relationships means asking ourselves if the most valuable people in our lives are getting the attention they deserve. At work, doing things on purpose means looking at our big goals and then questioning if our work moves us towards them.
4. From Clutter to Clarity, by Kerry Thomas
Clutter is not just stuff. It can be digital, emotional or spiritual clutter. From an overflowing garage to our self-doubt, clutter keeps us from the life we want.
All the different types of clutter are just postponed decisions, Thomas says. Clothes that don’t fit are postponed decisions to lose weight, for example.
If we stop postponing these decisions, we’ll move past the overwhelm that clutter brings. And the decisions we make determine the quality of our life.
5. The ten-item wardrobe, by Jennifer L. Scott
In this TED talk on minimalism, Scott lays out the lessons she learned about a minimal wardrobe from a French family she stayed with while studying abroad.
The more thought we put into our wardrobe, the easier it is to get dressed in the morning. A smaller wardrobe helps us define and fine-tune our style.
We can completely change our life by putting thought into our daily routine. We hone our personal style and become more discerning. And we’re inspired to always look presentable.
6. Adventures with Minimalism and Happiness, by Marty Stano
Stano lists his experiments with minimalism in this thoughtful TED talk. He decided to live homeless for a semester in college. He experimented with his diet in Puerto Rico. And in Chile, he worked as a teacher and learned about the local community.
We should ask ourselves what we really need to be happy, Stano says. Then it’s time to experiment by temporarily getting rid of things and asking ourselves if we’re better off without them.
Stano’s travels lead him to re-examine his values and create an intentional life governed by meaningful experiences, community and relationships.
7. Quit social media, by Cal Newport
Newport doesn’t have any social media accounts. Yet he’s up-to-date, has friends and a fruitful career. Newport isn’t just doing ok. He claims he’s happier without Facebook or Instagram.
Social media isn’t a fundamental technology in life. It’s entertainment that’s designed to be addictive.
But it’s not exactly harmlesss fun. Social media brings well-documented damage. Our capacity for concentration is permanently reduced when we break up our attention. Psychological damage includes loneliness, depression and anxiety.
Life without social media is difficult at first. But when things settle down we find ourselves more productive and relaxed, Newport says.