Less but better
These years what I have done the most is to “reduce” or “give up” something, rather than getting more and more. Having less is only the means, not the end. I don't think I have changed my ultimate goal of having more, but the act.
In Hong Kong, everyone is in a fast pace. They wanna get the most they want. As time is money, they finish everything in a shorter period of time than others in order to do as more as they can. When you work you need to be hurry up. When you have a buffet you need to take most of the food. When you travel, you have to visit as many spots as possible. Don't think and be quick quick quick!
I used to live within this attitude because all Hongkongers are doing the same. I was told by my family members and school teachers with the help of the examination system. This is the only standard answer without any alternatives.
I used to, but not now since the world is becoming more global and open. Thanks to the Internet so I read more English know more how people outside Hong Kong perceive the same thing in different ways. I meet the notion of something like “less is more” (although I first heard it in a TV commercial by Fancl which doesn't really link to a life attitude). I also read a book called Essentialism this year — calling us to seek our meaning of life and take care of the use of our energy — through selecting our best and saying no to something we don't want. We can't grab everything.
This means we need time to look more, play more and sleep more other than just hardworking to seek our real life goal. Otherwise, we get stuck in an endless war of (meaningless) comparison — we are never satisfied with what we have. We can be easily frustrated and exhausted, but not happier than when we lack resources. We can be busy forever and we don't have space and time for us to see other (better) possibilities.
Ways towards "less"
Thus I did a lot to reduce in my daily life, to allow more time and room for me to explore self with other possibilities I haven't noticed. For example,
- Starting from reducing the number of people I follow on Instagram and Facebook: I used to include a lot of people (about 400 which is too many for me). However, I became a robot in Instagram to scroll feeds quickly and give out likes without really understanding their works and being inspired. I also didn't know why I followed those people (although their works are outstanding). We don't have real connections and exchanges of ideas. I need to ask myself why I follow some people and who are my masters. Social media is a place for me to learn something but not an entertainment tool.
- I am so determined to delete Facebook app in my phone and tablet. I logged it out in the browsers of every device. It's a waste of time here to read some rubbish articles (which are written to meet the algorithm of search engines and social media but not for people) shared by friends from content farms. To keep in touch with my friends, let us chat together outside but not in Facebook and even WhatsApp.
- Travel is one of the ways to let the world inspire me. What is the most important to me is to learn something during my trip in my life. Thus it doesn't matter how many sightseeing places you have been to. Just wander around the community and see. Besides, carrying less on travel can make my trip easier.
- Reduce material stuffs I have. I used to have two cameras because I was always fear that they could stop working one day and I could have one more as a backup solution. Now, I only have a smartphone. I don't think I can't live without a camera. If I lose it or it doesn't run (say in my trip), I would sketch things I see.
- Sometimes dare to say “no” (politely) in some options are necessary. If you get involved in those opportunities which is not suitable for you, you will in turn waste a lot of time and energy. Declining an offer can allow better chances coming in!
Less always comes up with more. Not doing something (or doing less) means more focus on one thing, and free time like sleep, play, read, look and even travel. But free time isn't useless, it's always unexpectedly good for one (you realise something, and you meet some amazing persons...). The word serendipity can explain why some other possibilities you haven't thought of are allowed to come in this way.
If you get lost in your life, try to reduce something first.