Living like a monk - my take on essentialism

Takeaway: In a world of opportunities and options, knowing what’s good for you and what you really need for your well-being can be hidden. The more you can choose the harder your life can get. Options then become distractions and distractions lead you away from your essential being. Inspired by my view on how monks live I found my current best way of living, I’m calling it essentialism.

I’m fascinated by the lifestyle of a monk. Inspired by “7 years in Tibet” that I watched at least 15 years ago and by “The Odd Monk” I’ve begun to implement a monk-like lifestyle since the end of 2016 when I was in the process of working hard to pay back my 6k debt. I didn’t move to Thailand or something, I’m still living here in Germany. I only incorporated parts of a monk’s life.

What exactly?

My version of a monk-like lifestyle entails:

1. No sex (with no friendship as a basis)

2. Following a day and week routine

3. Saturday being my social day, usually with 1-on-1 meetings (my preference), I stopped going out clubbing

4. Sunday being my on my own solo artist date

5. Having a week off from my duties every 7th week (I didn’t apply it consequently in 2018 but want to apply with consequence in 2019)

6. Saying “No” to things by default and selectively consuming stuff

7. Designing my year in terms of its general structure (amount of work/business time and leisure)

8. Being in control of my life - every day - and fully conscious of who I am and what I want to do in every second of my time

9. Valuing my time and not giving it away just like that - my time and attention has a price that not everyone wants to pay

10. Producing much more than I consume (my ideal produce:consume ratio is 10:1)

11. Deciding when I’m available to people. My smartphone is in airplane mode 99 %.

12. Being honest, frank, kind and caring.


Short answer: Minimalism (“essentialism”), selective social contact (following the “who surround yourself with shapes you” approach) and zero distraction that benefits my productivity.

Long answer: Living like a monk and applying some of these aspects helps me identify what’s most meaningful and essential to my life. I’m not a monk because of a religion or a formal belief system. I’m a monk because I live in balance with my center: What I think is what I say and do. I create a lot and I spend 95 percent of my time with things I enjoy doing. That makes me feel accomplished and fulfilled. Therefore, I’m a happy person.

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