As an artist, designer, and educator I have benefited from applying a reductionist approach to all three areas. I always thought the basis for this was a preference for the beauty of minimalism.
Over time, I have realized that this preference is not just about aesthetics, but more about removing barriers in my life. An example of this is in relation to my dyslexia, which initially I thought was all about letters and words, when actually it had more to do with how I organize my life, and in particular, my thoughts. I discovered that organization became a challenge when there was too much “stuff” around me. To alleviate this, reducing the amount of “things” helped. This could be anything such as clutter on a table top, what was in my pockets, or the contents of a bag. Taking steps to reduce helped me to manage stress related to my dyslexia, and to excel in organization.
Another example is how to manage a normal life when autism is a 24/7 component. In this instance, it is my son’s severe autism, and its impact on him, his sister, his mother and I. With autism in your life, everything takes longer and is incredibly challenging. Leaving the house with your keys, wallet, and integrity is a challenge for most people, but add in a stressed child struggling to understand the world and the challenge is multiplied. Over time, I began to understand that clear spaces are important. Through my son’s education I learnt about the removal of “antecedents” in an environment to help him not only learn but keep calm. Too many “things” around him are stressful and confusing and keeping it simple helps.
I did at one point think that having less in my life would somehow lessen me as a person. However, as the years have progressed I have realized that being more content with less not only allows my mind to breathe effectively, but also creates more time to help those around me.