The Minimalist Life
To be a good minimalist, you've to be good at calculus. How does calculus have anything to do with minimalism? Well, if you ask me, it has to do with this idea of reduction.
For some time, I've felt like the whole idea of minimalism, and the minimalism movement has been misunderstood. To the untrained eye it looks like something it's not. For example, people look at a monk and wonder, "Why would anyone choose to live like that?" Most people see minimalists as people who give up "X" for a more simple way of life. Wrong. There's more to it than just giving up stuff. The way I perceive minimalism and how I apply it to my own life isn't giving up anything, rather, reducing things down to their essence.
I want you to derive your life. Derivation in mathematics looks for the simplest form of an equation. When applied to your life, this concept can it can help you toss out the excess and find the beauty in the essentials. To the outside, you might appear to be living with very little, but you won't notice any difference.
Building A Foundation
To me, minimalism is about building a foundation on which I find fulfillment. What do I really love? What really makes me happy? These are important questions whose answers often appear in unsimplified forms. I might think, "If I had a Ferrari, I'd be so happy". Why? Well, then I'd be able to drive places really fast and impress my friends. Why would that make me happy? Well, if I could drive places, I'd experience new things, and if I impress my friends, they'd like me more. Why would that make me happier? I like novelty and appreciation. See where this is going? I'm deriving the root of my desires. Then, when I reach the end of the 20 question game, I don't really need a Ferrari to make me happy, what I really want is to travel and friends who think I'm awesome. Two paths to the same destination.
Living Like A Minimalist
Living like a minimalist doesn't mean you have to live like a monk. Monks have trained themselves over many years to relinquish desire. Monks are extraordinarily disciplined. When I talk about living like a minimalist and the way I apply this philosophy to my own life is by deriving my desires to their essence. From there, I can add back the garnishes, much like a chef tops off a plate with a flower. A Ferrari probably would make me feel happy, but my point is that there are much easier ways to find the same fulfillment. That's minimalism.