I owe my life to Bruce Mau.
Very early in my a career I found graphic designer Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, a list of more than 40 pithy suggestions for a successful and happy career as a professional creative. He cautioned young designers, “Don’t borrow money” as did Frank Gehry before him. “By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control… it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.”
Minimalism is rare. Minimalism among designers is rarer still. I once joked that design school is a great idea if you want to develop a taste for things you can’t afford.
“The things you own end up owning you.”
-Tyler Durden, Fight Club
I’ve found that living well below one’s means is one the most important strategies you can practice for reducing stress in your life. Minimalism is not just an aesthetic choice for me and it’s more than a reaction to unchecked conspicuous consumption. By both owning little and consuming even less, I give myself an ability to make my own decisions about the kind of career and life I want to pursue, how I want to spend my time and who I want to spend it with without compromise. I can take creative risks in my job that others can’t because I’m not dependent on it. I don’t resent it when things are challenging because I know I’m there by choice and not some self-induced indentured servitude.
Tyler also said, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we’re free to do anything.”
Less is more. You hear that all the time.
To me, above all else, minimalism translates to less stuff means more freedom and more choices and more happiness.