In my definition, the minimalist fulfills his needs in life while the maximalist tries to fulfill greed. Most of us grow up from middle class families and it is but natural to be aspirational. I think there is nothing wrong with that. We need to work hard and look to a brighter future in our career and life. We tend to start accumulating material wealth and look for ways and means to fulfill our dreams.
As students, we mostly cannot afford to live our dreams as we do not want to burden our parents. But, as we get into a job, we look for every occasion to save and realize our dreams. It may sometimes not happen when we want it to happen but as and when it happens, it is a moment of joy. I still cannot forget as to how I used to aspire to buy a world class music system of a particular brand and it took me almost 5 years to realize it. I used to visit the show room of this brand on every occasion I could and admire the system from the window till the day I could afford it.
As our responsibilities increase, we try to balance our income and expenditure. We do try to save and thereby look for fulfilling our life long wishes. As long as one works honestly and hard, there is absolutely nothing wrong to dream for anything. It is but human to have needs and as Maslow taught us long years ago that human needs are hierarchial. It starts with physiological needs, then safety, social, esteem and finally self actualisation. Interestingly our behaviour today validates Maslow’s theory on motivation.
We first try to fulfill our needs of food, shelter and clothing. We then want to secure our family and safety. We then look for love and belonging by being social, then need recognition to enhance esteem and finally we want to attain nirvana or self actualisation. This could also be linked to different age groups and career stages. In our twenties and thirties we are focussed on fulfilling physiological and safety needs. In our forties, we are looking for social,esteem and recognition. After we enter our fiftees, we tend to move towards attaining self actualisation.
When we reach the stage of nirvana, we all want to be minimalist. We want to give back to society more than we have got from it. But this may be easier said than done. Let us take a simple phenomenon like shopping. If we enter a mall, we end up buying clothes or other accessories of our interest even though we may not need them. This is inspite of the fact that we have enough clothes and accessories we need but we cannot resist the temptation of shopping. I call this phenomenon as minimalist in thought and maximalist in action.
I have been no different. I have gone through all the stages of fulfilling my needs as I have stated above. Today, I am moving towards the stage of self actualisation. However, as I said earlier, I am still tempted to buy things which I like although I may not need them or already have them. For example, I recently bought a new camera since I love photography and this is the latest in terms of technology. This is inspite of my having three other cameras in my possession.
As in the photo above, we all want to eat less and maintain our health( like a minimalist) but end up gobbling away(like a maximalist) and impact our health adversely.
The only way I have learnt to get over this temptation is to give as much as I take. So, I decided to give away two of my old cameras to people who will need them after I bought a new camera. Similarly, I try to donate old clothes as many as I buy new ones to people who need them more than me. This is no way the best way to be a minimalize but may be aless guilty way.
Life is a journey and we need to learn to live every day.
S Ramesh Shankar