A Minimalist Secret: Your Stuff Is Talking To You! | Silent To-Do List

Psst…pick me up. Let's go see 
if you have a new Instagram like.   You were gonna do this laundry three days 
ago. I knew you couldn't be trusted…  Hey, you worked so hard today, you totally deserve a 
sweet tasty treat. Why don't you just have one?   I recently embraced minimalism and decluttered my 
entire apartment. In the process, I discovered a   minimalist secret: your stuff is talking to you! 
Have you ever felt overwhelmed, just looking at   all the stuff you surrounded yourself with? Maybe 
you weren't conscious of what was causing it,   but you just felt a sense of dread, a lack 
of inspiration as you looked around.

Well,   I recently had this insight, like a light bulb 
went off in my head. Every item that you allow   in your space isn't just an inanimate object. On 
the surface it is, but everything that captures   your attention leaves an imprint on your brain. 
Especially the things you see on a daily basis.   And with those things, it's as if they take on a 
personality. They want to be cared for. If they   are neglected, their message only becomes louder. 
I first learned about this concept in the book   'Goodbye Things' by Japanese minimalist Fumio 
Sasaki. He calls it: the 'silent to-do list.' This list consists of all the messages our stuff 
sends us.

Like the messy desk which wants to be   organized, or the dishes that need cleaning. 
The idea is that, with each thing we acquire,   we add a new item to the silent to-do list. 
This list gets longer and longer as we   accumulate material possessions. And it starts 
to affect our ability to focus. At some point,   the list becomes so long that it's just 
overwhelming. We're surrounded by so many menial   tasks that are fighting for our attention that 
we can't get around to doing what's important.   The easy way out is to just ignore it, 
and we become lazy and unmotivated. In my video 'How Minimalism Has Changed My Life', 
which I will link to up here, I spoke about the   time when all I had was a mattress and a lamp, 
for a few weeks. It was a liberating feeling!   There was nothing around to send me silent 
messages. However, I'm not here to tell you that   you should get rid of all your things to regain 
mental clarity.

I own a bunch of things myself,   even though I consider myself a minimalist. 
Sometimes I think the term 'minimalism' is a   misnomer. 'Essentialism' would be more accurate. 
It's not about not owning anything, but about   eliminating distractions and excess, so you can 
focus on the things that are truly important.   A way of looking at all your access stuff is 
imagining having a roommate that doesn't pay rent   and also doesn't help out with the household 
chores. If this was an actual person, you would   have kicked them out a long time ago! Yet, we 
tend to treat the things we own differently.   One explanation might be what is called the 'Sunk 
Cost Fallacy.' In economics, this basically means   that when you are invested in something, you 
overvalue that thing. This is why it's so hard to   pull the plug on a failing business venture, or on 
a project you've been working on for a long time.   But this idea equally applies to letting go 
of that old chair that's just gathering dust   in the corner.

It can be hard, right? So is the 
goal to end up with an empty silent to-do list?   No. As long as you have things, there will always 
be items on your silent to-do list. But by cutting   down on our possessions, you eliminate tasks from 
the list. And once you strip all the clutter away   it will become easier to prioritize the messages 
that remain. Also, open space, when left empty, brings   about a sense of calm or freedom.

It opens our 
minds to the more important things in life.   An interesting side effect that I noticed 
is that the nature of the silent messages   also changes. Through the process of decluttering, 
we remove things that don't actually spark joy,   as Marie Kondo suggests, and are merely taking 
up space. It's often those items that send us the   silent messages we dislike the most. The mess 
in the closet, the chaos in the living room.   Once those items are removed, the things 
you really care about can take center stage.   And since you now attend quickly to the needs 
of the things you have chosen to keep, it's   no longer just silent to do's coming your way. 
When your eyes go across the room, you will now   also be rewarded with positive messages. Ones of 
appreciation. Oh thank you, we look so organized! Another way of looking at it is that 
if you don't shape your environment,   it will shape you. If your work or living space 
is really cluttered, all that stuff is fighting   to get your attention and you will need to exert 
a lot of willpower to ignore those silent messages   and stay focused.

pexels photo 4050424

However, if you are serious 
about achieving your goals, willpower isn't   what you will want to rely on. Your willpower is 
like a muscle: it depletes by using it. And when   it's exhausted, you can't focus anymore and you 
will most likely give in to your lower impulses.   In his best-selling book 'Atomic 
Habits', James Clear writes that:   Similarly, in his book 'Willpower Doesn't Work,   Benjamin Hardy argues that if you 
really care about achieving your goals,   you need to shape your environment. For example, 
let's say you want to quit smoking, but you keep   one pack of cigarettes for emergencies. Now, with 
each urge, you will hear those silent messages   coming from that pack of cigarettes.

You'll 
need to use a lot of willpower to resist those.   There are only so many times that you can do this 
before you give in to the urge. If willpower was   all you needed to get rid of bad habits, there 
wouldn't be a billion-dollar weight-loss industry.   But if you throw out all your cigarettes, now 
you have a shot at it. At least at home, your   environment is now propelling you forward toward a 
smoke-free existence. And, ultimately, not smoking   becomes your default behavior. After decluttering 
your work or living space you can take the concept   of environmental design to the next level by 
adding something that will be a positive task on   your silent to-do list. For example, right now 
I'm in the middle of a 30-day yoga challenge.   Before I go to sleep, I roll out my yoga mat 
on the floor. When I walk into the living room   the next morning and look down, I immediately get 
the silent message that I need to do yoga. Let's   recap: your stuff is talking to you.

And it can 
be overwhelming. But you can take back control.   By getting rid of the stuff that doesn't spark 
joy and only keeping the things you truly value.   That will already do amazing things for your 
mental clarity. But if you want to supercharge   your improved ability to focus, you can shape 
your environment to create conditions that make   your success inevitable. In my case, I want to 
live more slowly. One thing I did to help me get   there was changing something in my environment. I 
made a simple poster with the word 'SLOW' on it   and framed it.

Now, every time it catches my eye, 
it serves as a gentle reminder of this intention.   I hope you found this video helpful. It was a 
real game-changer for me when I first heard about   this concept. Let me know in the comments 
below: what is on your silent to-do list?   Thanks so much for watching. And if you 
liked this video, please give it a thumbs up.   And consider subscribing, to see more content just 
like this.

And I will see you in the next one!.

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