What’s the one thing you have always wanted?
For me, it’s a Porsche.
Don’t get me wrong – I do aim to live a simple and minimalist lifestyle.
Over the last few years, I have really simplified my life – and I have been madly jettisoning things from my life – from crockery to commitments.
My family thinks I’m crazy not to keep a couple of dozen teacups. They can’t understand how I get by on just four.
Maybe you already know that we don’t need most of the things we accumulate. If not, then here are some Kaizen tips to help you get started with simplifying and streamlining your life.
Excess stuff crowds our space, clutters our minds and separates us from the knowledge of what’s important. And it’s financially draining.
Less is more and clearly less is best.
However, I still love my gadgets and my fancy goods – and I crave a shining toy, the ultimate for me, a Porsche.
Ever since a silver Porsche whizzed past me on a Swiss mountain road a few years ago, I have coveted one.
I mentioned this to a friend recently and she was astounded that a “minimalist” like me would have aspirations of owning a car like a Porsche.
As I said to my friend, being a minimalist is not just about how little or how much stuff you have, but also about having those things that are important to you.
Besides, having a fast car is usually seen as the territory for younger people. But of course, there are many other positively, amazing ways to be young forever.
Minimalism doesn’t preclude or prohibit indulging one’s desires, appreciating an object of quality or purchasing something at an exorbitant price.
If you are a hard-core minimalist that’s great – but that doesn’t mean judging those people who choose to invest their money and dreams in, say, a Porsche.
Remember to be non-judgmental of yourself and others
Why would I want a Porsche in the first place?
I’ve listed my reasons for wanting a Porsche below. See if you can come up with your own reasons for wanting what you want:
- The sheer thrill of speed and excitement. If you’ve ever been in a fast car on an open road, you’ll know just what I mean.
- Having things of the highest quality. Minimalism means fewer things, not cheap or shoddy things. It doesn’t mean that we always have to compromise.
- Not living a life of self-denial or sacrifice, where only completely necessary possessions are acceptable. If an expensive pen, a designer brand bag or even a Porsche does it for you, then why not go for it?
- Experiencing the delicious feeling of abundance that has nothing to do with an abundance of things. It’s an abundant world and abundance is our birthright, or so all the inspiration gurus keep telling us. There’s plenty to go around, though not necessarily a Porsche for everyone.
- Travel in the best, most comfortable way. Luxury is good, and not against any notions of how minimalists should live their lives.
Look at the luxury products you might desire in your life. Ask yourself “Do I need them? Why do I need them? Where do they fit in my priorities, and are they affordable?”
And would Lakshmi, the Indian goddess of wealth approve!?
Here’s my guide to help you decide whether or not you should get that luxury product.
1. Look at Your Values, Priorities and Life Goals
Your purchases must be in line with who you are and what you stand for. If it’s a big-ticket item, ask yourself if it would be in line with your values, priorities and life goals.
Would you rather have a big house or a big life?
Take some time to think about what you are spending your money on – and base all your purchases on these deeper considerations.
At the same time, remember that you do also want some fun and thrills in your life.
You can have it all – and get to live a full life by filling each moment with meaning and purpose.
2. Create a Long-Term Financial Plan
This is all about managing your priorities.
Create an emergency fund and also set aside target sums for retirement, taxes, school fees, etc., before you spend on the fun stuff.
An expensive purchase made recklessly now could mean having regrets for years to come. Consider it well, and never make a decision on the spot.
The value of any acquisition is not what you pay for it, but the value you derive from it.
So ask yourself: Will I derive enough value from say a Montblanc pen, a Gucchi bag or a Porsche to put it above other things on my priority list?
3. Stop Competing with Others
Never ever buy stuff just to keep up with the Joneses, the Patels or the Cohens. Or whoever it is in your community who are seen as the trendsetters.
If you do this, you will end up in a never-ending game that will become more and more costly. You just cannot win.
Buy consciously and look at the bigger picture – and if that picture still allows you to get your Porsche, then go for it.
Or maybe, you just need to slow down enough to find your freedom.
Consider this – maybe it’s time for you to slow down and get inspired in other ways.
4. Ignore the Media Hype and Illusions of Grandeur
People identify high-profile, branded, luxury items with prestige and exclusivity and we are bombarded daily with marketing messages about how what we possess says a lot about us.
I admit that I’ve partly succumbed to media exposure and my belief of what owning a Porsche would say about me.
Are you, too, looking for external signs of success? What do you think your “Porsche” would say about you? Will it be a sign that you have “arrived”? Or will you truly enjoy it on its own merits?
5. Look at Alternate Ways of Fulfilling Your Speed Bug or Thirst for Grandeur
There are various ways of getting the thrills and excitement that you feel you’ll get from your luxury purchase.
Look for other ways to get inspired and find your inner muse.
For example, you could hire, borrow or steal a Porsche, though I don’t advocate the last method unless you also want to be driven away in an almost-as-fast police car.
Kick your obstacles to the curb and live your dream.
Also, remember that your eventual fulfilment from that long-coveted item could be short-lived.
Get clearer in your mind about what you really want – and write a letter to the universe. You may just manifest what you really need and want.
6. Make Sure you Know the Hidden Costs
Whatever you buy, check out in advance the running costs, if any, of your coveted item.
For example, just imagine the hefty insurance premiums and servicing charges on a Porsche.
And that’s before you take into account the instant depreciation that occurs the moment you drive a new car off the showroom forecourt.
7. Look at the Bigger Picture
What impact will your purchase have?
For example, the environmental impact of fast cars has already been documented. If you are concerned about the environment, will you still purchase a gas-guzzling vehicle?
Also, luxury items are a temptation to thieves. Will you be at risk of robbery? And will you be constantly worried about losing them?
The Way Forward
It all comes back to this: what’s really more important to you?
At the end of the day, money is just a tool to help you create and live the type of life you want. If you know what you truly want in your life and that happens to be a Porsche, and you have created the financial means for it, then go get it.
But with money comes the responsibility to spend it wisely.
Yes, be careful how you spend your money, and on what. But frugality doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams. You can be frugal but not give up on some of the things that excite you and make your life more fun.
Always believe something wonderful is coming your way.
Just find the right balance between what you want, your motivations, your priorities, and what you can afford.
P.S. And if you ever see me in a Porsche, please check with me immediately to find out if it’s really mine.Editorial note:- This post was first published in a shorter form on Be More with Less. Images courtesy of Porsche Show Room, Berkeley Square, London
Thank you for showing how minimalism isn’t all about “doing without.” It’s about having what’s important to us, what makes us feel good, without the excess. And sometimes what’s important to us costs a bit more. So be it. The things you’ve listed to consider are perfect!
I totally agree. I think the hard core minimalists, who are minimalist for the sake of being minimalist, often do themselves a disservice. I lead a relatively simple life, as well, especially when I compare it to my family and friends in the US (Spain just naturally fosters a simpler life. Living in the city, I don’t have, need or want a car, for example…)
I believe in choosing our material possessions by the following criteria:
1.) Do you need it? Will you actually use it?
2.) Do you really want it? Will it bring you joy?
3.) Is it truly important to you? Or is it just another shiny toy, something you think you should have because everyone has it…
People often get surprised when I wax lyrical about something materialistic. I really love the Mercedes SLK, the one with the hardtop that slides into the trunk. It’s not a practical car, but it just makes my eyes sparkle. I love my phone (Nokia, with a slide out keyboard, which was the main feature I wanted), my small laptop (which allows me to easily write anywhere, without having to carry anything heavy), etc. I go on luxury spa vacations, because I adore them. And yet, I have a small wardrobe, almost no other expensive possessions or gadgets, no frills, etc. I buy what I really want to buy because I want to buy it. I don’t care what others want, what they might think or what they recommend. I don’t care if it’s new or old or shiny or the hottest thing. I get what I want to get when I want to get it for my own reasons. No more than that, but also no less than that.
Minimalism shouldn’t be about denying ourselves pleasures. It just means not buying into all the hype and cluttering up our lives with stuff we don’t need and really don’t even want. I never look around my life and wonder “Why the heck did I buy that thing?” Everything has a justification. However, really wanting something because I’ll get a lot of pleasure from it, even if I don’t strictly need it, IS a valid justification. If I’m going to buy a toy, I’m going to play with it. 🙂
What a superb post you have written!
I think we are entitled to have what we truly desire in this life as long as it is not hurting others to have it. While I like having nice things I don’t want so much that I become a slave to all that I own either. When I wrote, “Would Your Rather Have a Big House or a Big Life?” I was contemplating selling my home, which I later did. I miss my lovely home but the financial freedom I now have to do more of what I want instead of keeping up that home was well worth it.
Arvind….This post reminds me of the dialogue in the gardening world between those who believe that we should only use native plants in our gardens vs. those who say ‘Loosen up, use some natives and enjoy the beauty of exotic, non-native plants.’
I don’t know the world of simplicity in depth. So I have no awareness if die hard (and/or judgmental) ‘simpliciters’ exist. But your point is well taken. If you want some material possession, think about it. Sit on it for a while and if it continues to enter your ‘I really want’ place, then follow the tips your suggested.
I love how Deepak Chopra talks about money flowing through us.
Thanks for the link Arvind….and for another super Arvind post.:) Fran
Yes, there is definitely a difference between being minimalist and denying yourself nice and useful things.
If you needed to have a porche and 3 other cars in addition, that would be excessive, but desiring a car for your daily needs and wanting one that pleases you is not. What so many forget it do is to think it over. Thanks for bringing this up!
What a great post. I love how you’ve taken minimalism out of the box that so many try to put it in. Way to go Arvind!
If a luxury is in alignment, then why not? You have valid, well-thought out, well-felt points. However, the essential key to anything external in our lives is “within alignment”; it allows us to remain centered and experience inner peace as we continue to create. Delight is one way to open our hearts and embrace life…and as you know, life is as magical as we allow it to be:)
Last year, I really wanted to attend a concert at a local venue, but I didn’t really want to invest so much money into a ticket. With great wonder, in the past year, I have won so many tickets to events there that I have often had to give them away! So, ask away, and allow Universe to surprise you with the answer 🙂
I agree. it’s not about quantity of stuff we have. It’s how much we depend on them that makes us a minimalist or not
If we have more than we need, in huge excess, then it’s a different thing
and if we get jealous of what others have, that’s not cool either
love how you analyze the porsche want. i want a porsche cayenne 🙂