Self-determined life: Living Minimalist


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Text comes from: Das Handbuch für digitale Nomaden: Selbstbestimmt leben – ortsunabhängig arbeiten (2016) by Sebastian Kühn, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Even if you think that the accumulation of material things adds no value to your life, follow a very simple rule: disconnect from anything that you do not use regularly or that does not enrich your life. minimalism

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Sebastian Kühn Autorenfoto_Sebastian Kühn_ (c) ShanghainFocus Photography 2Sebastian Kühn is an entrepreneur and digital nomad.

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The environment also changes with the lifestyle

Listen to the well-meaning Criticism but do not let yourself be pulled down by her just because the others do not (want to) understand your unconventional plan. Because one thing is very clear: As soon as your lifestyle changes, your environment will also change. New people enter your life and long-term contacts break off. This is the natural course that change brings with it.

Jim Rohn put it aptly:

"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." - "You are the average of the five people you are closest to."

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How close relationships affect our lives

Regardless of the exact number, you can confirm that for sure. Our closest relationships have such a huge influence on us that they can either bring our lives to a halt or change them.

Therefore, you should gather a group of people around you who are already living your desired lifestyle or at least encouraging you and helping you to make changes. As painful as separations may be, you will find new friends who will enrich your life in many different ways.

Hard decisions are needed

Unfortunately, you will not get around making tough choices between your selfish plans and your family responsibilities. Of course, you should fulfill your responsibilities to relatives in need and, of course, take into account the interests of your family, but do not commit yourself to it out of pure habit. Do not make the mistake of feeling unnecessarily obliged to do something.

Also think about whether your newfound freedom can not even have a positive effect on family members. Can not it be that the unconventional education has a good influence on children, that your sister would like to visit you in exotic places of the world and that your parents are filled with pride and happiness, when you shape your life according to your ideas?

Use less, use more

This will be much easier for you if you do not think about possession of things, but about their benefits. If you prioritize the benefits, it's no longer about giving up. Because you do not sacrifice anything if, for example, you switch from owning a car to using it in car sharing or carpooling and using a gym instead of your own fitness room.

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For almost all material possessions in your life there are good alternatives that are more flexible, take less space and can be taken anywhere. Photos and documents can be digitized, PC and TV can be exchanged for a small laptop and the landline phone can be replaced with a Skype landline number.

Adjust your consumer behavior

It's the cycle of income and consumption that keeps you from earning enough. You will not break this cycle with more and more work, but through a conscious consumption behavior. As much as you like to give in to your short-lived consumer lust, so much do you give up a little bit of freedom with every purchase, since you only have to earn those expenses again.

The following advice should help you to resist your consumption cravings:

  • Be aware of the total cost of a purchase (insurance, storage, protection, maintenance).
  • Buy things because they are useful, not to find affiliation and recognition.
  • Ignore deliberately the advertising industry, which tries to arouse needs in you that you do not actually have.
  • Do not depend on your possessions (materially as well as psychologically).
  • Rent things (and services) rather than own them.
  • Exchange things instead of buying them.
  • Do not give away useless stuff, but time.
  • Decide against short-term satisfaction through consumption and for long-term independence.

Fixed monthly debits

In addition to the one-time purchase of things, there are these nasty amounts that are regularly deducted from your account. The problem is that most of the time it is a long-term contractual obligation.

Contracts are the absolute epitome of dependency. Whether a contract of employment, an insurance policy or a telephone contract - what you are sold is a supposed security, which usually has to be bought at a high price.

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Examine the edition carefully

One often misconceived assumption is that the longer a contract runs, the cheaper a service becomes. This has changed drastically in recent years, not least because of greater competition in many markets and on the Internet. In many areas, you can use a service on demand (if required) or at least as a monthly cancellable subscription model.

With a look at your statements from last year, you can see what fixed amounts are leaving your account on a regular basis - mobile and Internet contracts, gym membership and tax assistance, subscriptions, insurance, account fees, and credit cards.

What do you really need?

Think carefully about whether you really need and want to continue to make these long-term financial commitments, and stick to the following two principles:

  1. Benefit before ownership (on demand instead of permanent availability)
  2. Flexible solutions before long-term contracts (independence instead of supposed security)

The same is true, of course, when you think about the conclusion of a new contract. Sometimes it's just a small monthly amount that not only costs you a lot of money in the long term, but also binds you or mentally strains you.

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