From the author:
What is firmly anchored?
The epitome of outside control in your life are things that we call anchors. In English-speaking countries, the term “anchored” is used, among other things, for people who are fully committed to life.
They have docked in the harbor and protected themselves against possible storms with several heavy anchors. However, the anchors have sunk so deep into the seabed that the ship can no longer leave the safe harbor.
Is it normative or self-determined?
Enough of the metaphors. You know what I'm aiming for. A sense of security, antagonistic consumption cravings and certain expectations of society make sure that as you grow older, you bind yourself more and more to things and obligations that ultimately make you strange.
Standing with both legs in life gets a positive association. To have a career, to own property, to accumulate status symbols and to secure yourself in the best possible way is considered standard-compliant, although these very anchors can prevent you from living a self-determined life.
Whenever something holds you - be it contractual obligations, emotional ties or financial restrictions - you give up a small amount of self-determination and leave the decision-making power to a third party. By catching some anchors and taking on more responsibility for your life, you're taking that freedom back.
Minimalism as a life setting
The minimalism approach is very helpful in reducing anchors. Under the motto “Declutter your life” (“simplify your life”) minimalists try to counteract the overload with things. It is much more than clearing out the apartment and swearing off consumption.
The basic idea of minimalism is to assign more importance to the really important things in your life and to free you from everything superfluous. That's what your self-determined life is all about - you take control instead of letting yourself be controlled by all the influences and things in your life.
Which anchors really improve your life?
Look at the following list of anchors and consider exactly which of these things put more strain on you than they give you pleasure and make your life better:
- Financial anchor: Dependency on a source of income, debt, insurance and pension, recurring payments for rent, utilities and service providers, as well as minor contracts such as subscriptions or memberships.
- Material anchor: Statics symbols or expensive hobbies, possessions such as cars or real estate, home furnishings and clothing, gadgets, televisions, memorabilia and paper documents.
- Social anchor: Family, relationships and friendships, club memberships, voluntary activities, social commitments and expectations, such as family celebrations or family tables.
- Emotional anchor: Self-doubt, conventional ways of thinking, fears and harmful habits.
Relationships are not static
Too often we take long-term relationships for granted, even if they strain us more than we enjoy it. We stick to old school friends, although interests shifted completely decades ago. We make new friends based only on local proximity, but not on common ground.
It is time to admit that relationships are not static. We are changing as much as the people around us. As soon as our values, interests and needs do not come to a common denominator, such relationships can and should be questioned.
Like in the crab basket
Do you know the story of the crabs that mercilessly withdraw anyone who wants to escape captivity in the basket? This is exactly how your environment - family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances - usually reacts when you tell them about your plans for a self-determined life and the planned independence.
It pulls you down again, for fear that something will happen to you in freedom, or worse, that you will feel better there than those who stay in the bucket. Instead of getting upset or bickering about your friends' incomprehension, accept the fact that you simply have different ideas about life.
Which anchors burden your life?
Of course, there are anchors that are not bad for you. Relationships, certain possessions and responsibility towards your social environment can add value.
These are the anchors that burden you, bind you to a place, make you financially dependent and take your time without enriching your life at the same time.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965965348
English version: ISBN 9783965965355 (Translation notice)
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