An adage suggests that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
In other words, hard times bring out the best in resilient people.
With rising food, gas, and housing costs, individuals best prepared to weather economic storms flourish in the long run.
But flourishing requires a strategic mindset and minimalist lifestyle reminiscent of the introverted lifestyle.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines minimalism as “A style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.”
As creators who can produce problem-solving innovations through imagination, minimalism is within the wheelhouse of many introverts.
Strategic introverts don’t merely do a lot with a little; they are content with a little being enough.
These introverts view minimalism and frugality as strategies for succeeding in life.
It is easier to pivot or change direction when the situation requires a light load.
Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection posits that organisms most adaptable to changing environments are apt to survive.
And the long game is remaining competitive until an objective is achieved.
But to do so requires that participants use viable resources to gain small wins.
These small wins add up to cumulative success. Consequently, success in life is a collection of small wins.
A Psychology Today article titled, “Can Minimalism Really Make You Happier?” Dr. Mark Travers points to research led by Joshua Hook of the University of North Texas that suggested:
…The link between minimalism and psychological well-being has to do with the fact that minimalists are better able to control their desires to consume. Minimalism may also encourage people to focus on psychological needs — such as autonomy, competence, and relatedness — that have been shown to promote psychological growth.
I discovered the concept of minimalism decades ago as a struggling college student. Anyone who shares my college experience knows about Ramen Noodles and cheap fast food. I came from a family of modest means and had to make every dollar count for four years. Because I had developed this minimalist lifestyle during difficult and emotional times, I never departed from its rudiments well into a mature age.
As I began writing articles geared toward introverts, I discovered that minimalism was a core trait of many introverts.
This is mainly because introverts are inwardly driven and don’t require social acceptance and conspicuous consumption, often demonstrated by extroverts.
As society goes through the ups and downs of pandemics, social unrest, and global wars, strategic introverts discover opportunities that allow them to flourish during these times.
Also, minimalism is a state of mind rooted in focus, order, and systematic thinking. One of my requirements when I make a purchase, is that when something comes in, something must go out.
In my world, purchases are investments or replacements that eradicate clutter.
A cluttered mind creates a chaotic environment.
Libby Sander, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Bond University Business School, said:
A study on the effects of clutter in the home found that individuals who felt overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in their homes were more likely to procrastinate. Other research has shown that a cluttered home environment triggers coping and avoidance strategies involving snacking on junk and watching TV….
If Professor Sander’s premise is correct, we can draw a correlation between minimalism and success.
Consequently, the less attachment we have towards material possessions, the freer our minds operate in ways that allow us to succeed during crises.
So, what is the process for introverts to use minimalism to flourish?
If minimalism is a strategy for achieving goals, all resources should be geared towards goal attainment.
First, the objective of minimalism is to create a life of freedom and independence. You have constraints that manifest stress until you have financial independence. Stress hinders growth. Initiatives that allow you to generate revenue create more options and opportunities.
The core of minimalism should allow you to create a body of work with economic value.
Strategic introverts are not trying to have less to do less. They use frugality to create value in solving critical problems. Financial stress is the bane of intellectual creativity. Minimalism takes the financial stress out of meeting responsibilities to do meaningful work.
Secondly, minimalism pays the cost of ambition. Frugality allows you to bootstrap or pay-as-you-go towards your aspirations. Strategic introverts who are entrepreneurial are less likely to borrow money from family and friends when they have the resources to self-fund ventures. These introverts are self-reliant and can recruit people to facilitate projects without creating formal partnerships or divesting ownership shares.
Finally, minimalism allows you to maintain a consistent and systematic lifestyle. As many extroverts pursue the latest bauble or trinket, strategic introverts can always be above the fray. For this introvert, every item must justify its existence.
In this vein, strategic introverts may be described as “Late adopters,” They are the last to align with technology until it proves to be better than what currently exists. The “bandwagon effect” is nonexistent for strategic introverts. They will not embrace ideas, philosophies, or technologies merely because they are popular.
History has shown that hard times tend to worsen before they get better.
Strategic introverts don’t wait for better times. They use minimalism to maintain happiness, productivity, and upward mobility despite hard times.
In the end, strategic introverts flourish when everyone else is grieving during hard times.
Sander, L (2019, Mar. 25). The case for finally cleaning your desk. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3G7sFgg.
Travers, M. (2021, Nov. 9). Can minimalism really make you happier? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3PElwsm.