The Subtle Art of Minimalism

William Law
6 min readNov 30, 2019
Photo by Olia Gozha on Unsplash

Being in the education system for the last 14 years has opened my eyes to different perspectives. For the most part, I’ve always wanted to be that kid who gets attention. Seeing others around me doing bigger and cooler things that I couldn’t do, just made me want to do it even more. It started off with the small things.

In grade 2, seeing high school kids have bigger backpacks and doing all this homework made me want to be in their shoes, too. Later in grade 6, seeing people on YouTube building computers made me want to build one.

Fast forward to now, seeing others doing big things with AI, blockchain, any cool buzz word made me want to be in that situation as well.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

— Jim Rohn

It’s surprising how well this quote reflects the majority of my life as I’ve constantly strived to keep myself occupied by following others. Don’t get me wrong, following others can be helpful for guidance, but like many others, I followed down the wrong path. This path led me down a rabbit hole of materialistic success and doing it for the sake of doing it.

This whole pursuit has 1) caused me to seek unnecessary attention and 2) blinded me from all the intangible success that I could’ve achieved.

Looking back at this journey and seeing all the mistakes that I could’ve easily avoided, I made a commitment to maximizing my personality/habits by practicing minimalism. I wanted to view my life through a different set of lens and view my life based on experiences (intangible) rather than tangible assets.

Lately, minimalism has been gaining a lot of traction on social media. If you aren’t familiar with minimalism, here’s a pretty accurate description:

“For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions”

A lot of people, including myself, often get this mixed up with eliminating the things that we find joy from. For example, if your collection of clothes brings you into a state of happiness, by all means, keep those clothes. The main point is to differentiate between instant and long-term gratification and eliminate the…

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William Law

swe // trading — prev: @MLHacks, eng @ early-stage startups | Twitter @wlaw_