There are a lot of definitions of minimalism out there, and that is to be expected because minimalism looks differently for different people. Minimalism is a personal leadership and corporate leadership philosophy. As we all know, there are thousands of definitions of leadership. Almost every new book on leadership has its own definition. Yet, we all understand that leadership is a real phenomenon and the many definitions simply reflect the diversity of expression and not a discordance in the theories of leadership.

Minimalism is seen in the visual arts, music, architecture, and business. It is also a lifestyle and a leadership philosophy. Even though there is no fixed definition of minimalism, the spirit of minimalism can be seen wherever its principles are applied. At the core (heart or spirit) of minimalism is the pursuit of freedom that is expressed by focusing on the essential and eliminating the non-essential.

I’ve been a minimalist for years now but never really bothered to write about it. Here is my definition of a minimalist:

A minimalist is a values-driven person who is motivated by a higher purpose to pursue freedom and live life to the fullest by decluttering her lifestyle and focusing on the most essential things in life.

Minimalism is a mindset or paradigm.
Minimalism is a philosophy of life.
Minimalism is a lifestyle.
Minimalism is a way of life.
Minimalism is the decluttering of a person’s lifestyle in order to focus on the essential things in life.

Why do people pursue minimalism?

  • To live life to the full by focusing on the few things that really matter. Life is too short with too many distractions. Living a minimalistic lifestyle is removing those distractions so you can live fully.
  • Minimalism brings total freedom. It frees one from and excessive focus on material things. It enables one to focus on the quality of relationships, not simply the quantity.

How is minimalism attained?

  • By removing all the non-essentials and everything that distracts or encumbers.
  • The goal of minimalism is to strip life down to the essentials and then focus on those essentials.

Minimalism will lead a person to own fewer material things. However, fewer material things are the fruits of the minimalist mindset or paradigm and not really the paradigm itself. Minimalism at the core is a way of perceiving the world, of thinking, it’s a mindset. That mindset then helps one to do things in a particular way which inevitably usually involves decluttering.

Minimalism is a focused mindset.
Minimalism is about orderliness and prioritization where the top priorities are pursued and the less important things are forgone.
Minimalism is about the important things.
Minimalism is about focusing on the things that most add value to a person’s life and removing the things that don’t. If something isn’t adding value to your life, it is taking away value from your life.
Minimalism looks different for everyone because we are uniquely created, have unique genes, unique attributes, unique desires, unique callings, and unique things that add value to our lives. The things that are the most essential for me, my calling, my purpose in life may not be the things that are the most essential to you.
Minimalism is living a simpler life.
Minimalism is living a life of purpose, focus, and clarity.
Minimalism is living with only the things we need, not the things we want.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that gives freedom and helps us pursue and develop a deeper inner life.