Origins of the Less Is More Quote
The less is more quote is popularly attributed to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He was a famous architect in the 20th century. He believed that there was beauty in simplicity – pushing back against the over-the-top, busy architectural style of the time.
Today, his simple phrase has so much more meaning. Living a simpler life is, in my opinion, a key element to living a happier life. The accumulation of things (extreme materialism) can weigh us down – literally and figuratively.
This simple philosophy has been impactful in my time working with busy mums looking for six figure mentors to help them unlock their full potential.
The Less is More Challenge
Do you hold onto things from your past that have little meaning in the present? Think about your clothes and shoes taking up space in your closet. How many times have you worn them?
If you’re anything like me, there’s a core set of clothes and shoes that you wear at least a few times a month, but then there are the other clothes that seem to hang around.
When I first heard about the less is more challenge, I was intrigued. A mentor pressed me to give up some of my possessions so that I could reclaim space in my home. Oddly enough, as my home became less cluttered, so did my mind.
I agreed to take part in the less is more challenge during a transitional period in my life. My daughters and I were moving into a new home.
I committed to the less is more philosophy three years ago.
I was busy sorting through a garage full of boxes. Inside these boxes were items I had stored, but rarely used. I asked my mentor: “How should I sort through this? There’s so much here, and I don’t know what I should hold onto or let go of.”
Moving is stressful but dealing with this mountain of boxes seemed like the most stressful of all the tasks ahead of me.
He gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. And it was so simple!
“That garage full of stuff has been sitting and taking up space in your life. It’s time to let go. Less is more.”
The only things I kept were some of our clothes, my valuable library of books and some basic necessities.
Everything else I gave away. If you’re ready to follow in my footstep, I recommend reading this guide to declutter your home.
The Less is More Mentality is Freeing!
There’s one other thing I forgot to mention. We were moving into a penthouse. This was the culmination of decades of hard work.
I mention that we were moving into a penthouse because this new space was larger than our previous home. I could have taken everything with me. It would have fit.
But the feeling of moving into a bigger space with less stuff is liberating. We now feel like we have space to breathe.
Great leaders invest in the things that matter and let go of the rest.
Possessions require maintenance. Think about how much time you spend sorting through clothes to get to your favorites. Some people embracing the less is more lifestyle even get rid of their car and rely on rideshares like Lyft or Uber. They just don’t want to worry about parking, maintenance, repairs and all the little time-eaters that go into car ownership.
I’m not parting with my car, but I certainly don’t have the desire to collect additional vehicles – no matter how cool they may look and sound.
With fewer possessions to maintain and care for, I’m able to spend more of my free time creating once-in-a-lifetime memories with my daughters.
I’ve applied the less is more philosophy to my business, too.
As I reflected during one of my overseas travels, I was thinking about how I could move forward in my business.
I wondered how many leaders are finding innovative ways to propel themselves forward – growing faster and enjoying a much better lifestyle than me.
And I thought about my recent moving experience.
Over the years I had let my house get cluttered – all the small little things that we allow into our house really add up over a lifetime.
And the same thing was happening in my business!
I realized how much stuff I do around my business that doesn’t help me grow. They were just small tasks or new things added to my daily routine that made sense back then but were useless now.
I had too many pieces of paper, kept too many marketing materials, too many DVDs and CDs with corporate info. I was filling up my physical space with things that could be digitized.
Get Out from Under the Piles of Paper: Go Digital!
Reflection is a good first step. But action needed to be taken. I committed to simplifying my treasure-trove of information by giving away or recycling the boxes full of paper materials.
In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s so easy to look-up information online. And it’s much faster than digging through files for an answer to a question.
My business mentor encouraged me to use an iPad or Kindle to read – shrinking my physical library with hundreds of books crammed into overflowing bookshelves into an easy-to-carry device.
Reading on a tablet or e-reader is great for a few reasons: Your progress is always saved and you can quickly add notes to the text without ruining the pages of a book. Audible is also a fantastic service for listening to books on the go. And there’s always another podcast episode to listen to if you run out of material during a long car ride.
Your Turn: What Does Your Less Is More Challenge Look Like?
Take a moment to think about your physical environment – your home, your office, your car and anywhere else you spend time regularly.
Is your space organized in a way that helps you think clearly and stay focused? When you look around do you feel inspired?
Simplicity is the Key
When preparing to sell our previous home, I hired a home staging expert. We needed our home to show well.
She did a phenomenal job transforming our space into a canvas for another family to dream and live in.
It’s simplicity. It isn’t expensive. You don’t need to fly in an expert designer. You can transform your space on your own.
Start by getting rid of the clutter. Aggressively part with items that are simply taking up space. If you haven’t used it in the past year, chuck it out!
Our environment determines how we feel and less is more!
When there are too many things around us, clutter makes us feel trapped and uneasy. Haven’t there been times when you just wanted to stop what you were doing and do some cleaning?
Keep your environment simple and clean.
Less is more also applies to what we have going on in our lives.
Find ways to optimize your process – less steps will allow you to better focus on accomplishing your objectives.
Are you taking on too much throughout your day, stretching yourself too thin?
Do you have mental clarity or mental clutter?
Trim down your To-Do List, keeping only a few simple tasks.
Learn to delegate. Once your plate is empty, you’ll be able to focus and perform at a much higher level. It’s your turn to take action. Are you ready to embrace the Less is More challenge? You’ve got this!