I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are “minimalists” go through a familiar path. They cut back and see significant benefits, then they expand again and need to “rediscover a life of less” or something similar.

I’ve tread this path myself.

Perhaps it’s just part of our natural cycle. When you try to balance on a beam, you have to shift your weight from one side to another as you counteract the forces from yourself and the outside world. Sometimes a sudden rush of wind blows you off-kilter, and you have to make a dramatic readjustment. Sometimes you can’t keep your balance well and then have to readjust. Both happen with minimalism as well.

But I also wonder if there isn’t an issue at the heart of minimalism. Perhaps it is only diagnostic of the symptoms and doesn’t prescribe a cure.

Minimalism is about clearing the way for what really matters, but it’s rare to hear minimalist actually advocate what matters — it’s your objective to identify what matters. Other philosophies, don’t just say what is wrong but also offer a path forward.

Many habit coaches will tell you that it’s much easier to replace a bad habit with a good one (drinking water instead of cola) than just cutting a bad habit. In the bible, Jesus says that if you don’t replace an evil spirit that is expelled with the holy spirit, the evil spirit will come back with 7 friends. I wonder if this adds to why minimalism is so tricky to keep following.

If you only cut out the unnecessary but don’t fill the gap, the stuff you kicked out will eventually come back. Then you have to start culling again.

I’m not saying Minimalism is wrong, but maybe it’s just not enough.

p.s. These thoughts were prompted by Greg Morris but this is not criticism of him. I’ve certainly been on and off the minimalism bandwagon.