Today as I was getting a haircut, I started thinking about why I was doing it.
Due to not having a lot of hair left, it’s something I do every 3 weeks. For me, I’ve found it just looks and feels better when I keep my hair neat and closely cropped.
The act of cutting hair is something most humans do to make themselves look respectable. Rather than look like Tom Hanks in Castaway, we all choose to spend money and time to keep our hairstyle in check.
But when it comes to other areas of our life, we often neglect to do any cutting. Instead we hold onto old stuff, old activities and old relationships long after they are no longer useful to us.
For the past 7 years of my life, ever since I moved to the United States, I have lived as a minimalist. I started doing this after selling almost everything I owned when I left the country. I arrived in California with one suitcase of clothes, and my trusty macbook. Everything else I sold or gave away.
I realized after a few weeks of living without all my old stuff that none of it really mattered to me. I thought I would soon collect a bunch of new possessions, but I never did. That was when I decided to self-label myself as a minimalist.
Now, you may not want to go to the extreme I did and sell everything you own, but I think it is worth doing a regular review of your life and seeing if there are some elements that might need to be cut.
It seems to me that there are there main areas where humans tend to get stuck because they are too afraid or too lazy to make some cuts:
Possessions: we keep way more ‘stuff’ than we need, simply as a comfort or because we think that it is more valuable than it is. The truth is that most of your possessions have little to no value for you anymore, and you wouldn’t miss them after a week of not having them.
Activities: this one is harder to take inventory of, because it is dictated by habits. We start out doing things in our lives out of interest and they eventually become habits that controls us. Doing a regular review of why you do the things you do, and then stopping doing some of them is extremely useful.
Relationships: this is by far the most difficult to assess and then to decide to make cuts. People in our lives are very often there because of random events that bring us together. Sometimes these relationships are meant for a season, and instead of letting them go, we try to hold onto them out of neediness. If you are willing to cut away old relationships, it makes room for new ones that can help you grow to a new level.
Doing these three different ‘stocktakes’ can be an eye opening exercise. It will bring you clarity, but also a sense of power and control. Remember that you don’t need to cut away things, activities or people in a harsh way, it can be a gradual reduction.
I think you will find, just like I did, that the act of ‘life cutting’ has a lot of value if you choose to do it consciously and regularly in your life.