The basic concept of minimalism is less is more. I've always thought in speech, in music, and in many other areas of life, being concise and eliminating junk and jargon is best. When I get rid of non-essential items I make room for the things I value most. My closet is a microcosm for this idea, as Greg McKeown illustrates in his book Essentialism, when he points out that we make room for the "trivial many" at the expense of the "vital few."
It's so much bigger than just making space, though. More stuff hinders our ability to foster contentment and gratitude. Have you noticed that every time you get something new (car, house, phone) time passes then you feel a desire for the next best thing? The thing we longed for is now collecting dust or pales in comparison to the latest and greatest. We don't appreciate it with the same intensity that led us to seek it in the first place.
When you are willing to part ways with stuff in an attempt to rid your life of excess, you don't only create room, you grow your ability to enjoy life. You're not constantly ratcheting up the standard, so the beauty of what you do have is so much more apparent.
We also like to control what's controllable. I can make a conscious choice to live with less. In my most ardent striving, though, I can fall short of the mark of getting more. It's easier to give away than to gain, which I think speaks to a deeper truth (for another day).
Don't hear me wrong, though. I don't want to make excuses to slack off and not work hard. I love the concept of goals and having a vision, but I often think too much of goal setting revolves around the acquisition of more stuff: if I earn x amount of money, then I will buy y material item.
I understand people are motivated differently, but there is a danger in always attaching to the idea of more. It's the reason rich celebrities, professional athletes, and lottery winners still have serious personal problems. Getting more never rids us of the desire for more.
I'm determined to do my best to achieve my goals, but I know my contentment can only increase when I constantly reduce what's required for me to be satisfied. Rather than the endless pursuit of more, I want to want less. Our happiness has never proven to be hidden in the folds of worldly success, but rather the quiet peace that comes from gratitude regardless of status or possessions.
So what's the quickest way to be happy in the midst of this rat race? Increase the gap between what you want and what you have.