by Leo Babauta
Fear stops us from being minimalists.
Why do we keep things even if we don’t need or use them? Because we’re afraid we might. Afraid of what could happen if we get rid of those things.
For years I had a car because I worried about emergencies and not being able to do the things I wanted or needed to do. Then I discovered that I could do everything I need and more without a car. And that 911 is better in real emergencies.
This winter in San Francisco it was shockingly cold for an island native like me. I bought much more stuff than I’ve had in awhile (almost all from thrift shops) because I don’t know how to live in cold weather. The uncertainty of what I don’t know caused me to allay those fears with more possessions.
First: as we get to know something better we become more confident that we don’t need as much as we once thought we did. As I learn about living in cold I begin to realize that a few smart items are all I need. As I learn about traveling I learn I need almost nothing. As I learn about blogging I learn I don’t need ads or stats trackers or comments or widgets or Facebook buttons.
Second: fear can be conquered through small tests. Try going without something for just a little while (a day or a week) and see what happens. You’ll find that fears are not as justified as we thought.
Third: sometimes being naked with fear is a good experience. It teaches us a lot about ourselves and about life. It is scary but it awakens us. Live with the fear and without the safety net and see what it’s like to be alive and uninsulated.