March 14, 2014
These two concepts are often linked, and understandably so. What prevents many unhappy workers from making a change is the fact that such a change would require a temporary or permanent lowering of their accustomed standard of living. This is truly the realm of “trade-offs” which are made consciously or unconsciously. I may hate my job, but the trade-off there is that keeping the same house, car, vacations, schools, etc. is often more important than easing the work-related unhappiness. To complicate matters further, a brave decision to leave the drudgery of the present to follow one’s bliss may offer no guarantee that the new and longed for vocation will bring the hoped-for satisfaction.
As a society, we may indeed be fortunate that the Minimalism movement is still only in its infancy. The forces of “more is better”, fortified every day by endless marketing onslaughts from every imaginable source, may yet be balanced or at least tempered by the common sense appeal of scaling down. It may yet happen that Minimalism will turn out to be not merely a necessary and unpleasant means to follow a line of work that is more in line with one’s calling. Minimalism itself may offer a more satisfying lifestyle for many that accompanies a work choice that is in keeping with one’s bliss. The small, anecdotal reports coming from those who embrace or explore Minimalism would indicate that it can be its own reward and does not nearly need to be a means to a vocational end, which is our context here. Many will find that it is not only their un-blissful vocational choice that is making them unhappy. Having “too much stuff” may be a contributing factor as well. Thought leaders in the Minimalism movement will surely have more to offer us in years to come.
There are some excellent blogs on Minimalism. The Minimalists are two guys who moved to Montana to live more simply and Leo Babauta ( Zenhabits ) is a blogger I follow who is married with six children. So there are clearly various flavors of Minimalism. It is nothing new to see that vocational choices are greatly affected by the standard of living a person wants to or is willing to embrace. What is new is that there is a specific body of knowledge and shared experiences that are being written about in this area. People who are aching to follow their bliss can now tap into these resources to help in decision-making. I expect that Minimalism will have a great deal more to offer us in years to come as we get more and more ill from our consumption.