The Ultimate Minimalist

Five Powerful Lessons from Gandhi



“You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi
 

Political and spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi practiced total simplicity and minimalism, leaving an admirable legacy of how to live. Born into a prosperous family, he enjoyed a privileged upbringing and studied law at University College, London, in England. When he left Earth, he had fewer than 10 possessions.

In contrast, most of us tend to spend a lot of time and energy accumulating and looking after possessions; by having less, life naturally becomes simpler. We can take up author Dave Bruno’s The 100 Thing Challenge and start cutting down to bare basics by recycling, refusing to accept more stuff and giving away or selling unwanted possessions.

Accumulate little. Gandhi believed in possessing only the clothes, sandals, watch and spectacles he wore and some cooking and eating utensils. He would give away or auction any gift he received.

Eat simple food. Gandhi never had a problem being overweight. He followed a strict vegetarian diet and frequently cooked his own simple, locally produced foods. He ate from a small bowl, a reminder to eat moderately and mindfully, often accompanied by prayers.

Dress simply. Gandhi wore simple clothes, often just a wraparound cloth, for modesty and comfort. A simple hairstyle can shorten daily grooming. Gandhi shaved off his hair.

Lead a simple, stress-free life. Gandhi meditated daily and spent hours in reflection and prayer. Though he was a revered world leader, he led a simple life with few distractions and commitments and would interrupt political meetings to play with children. Gandhi insisted on doing his own simple tasks. He advocated self-sufficiency and simple work.

Let your life be your message. A prolific, concise writer and powerful speaker in public; in private, Gandhi spoke quietly and only when necessary. He preferred to let his life talk for him.

By living a simple life, Gandhi was able to devote himself to his chosen higher purpose and focus on his commitment to his people and the world. Accordingly, consistent focus determines anyone’s success and the potential for leaving one’s own inspiring legacy.


Arvind Devalia is the author of the bestselling Get the Life You Love, an inspirational coach and prolific blogger. Connect at ArvindDevalia.com/blog.

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