Kelvin Kiptum recently broke the unbelievable fastest marathon record of Eliud Kipchoge. It made me wonder whether it was a purely manual effort or the magic of the recent scientific approaches to running. These include rigorous drafting, super shoes, and customized nutrition. Without diminishing this long-distance runner's efforts, I wanted to dig deeper into the approach itself.
Are these approaches transferable? Of course, they are. Transferring these approaches to other sports would be a natural thought. But what I would like to consider is the use of scientific approaches to minimalism. Being an engineer in my full-time profession, I have learned to take any theory logically. Common steps to test a theory are to conduct surveys, experiments, and field observations. So let's have a look at how we can practice Scientific Minimalism.
A survey requires the evaluation of something and the recording of data about it. Using surveys to gain insight into minimalism means, preparing questionnaires, posing those questions to the relevant crowd, and gathering conclusions. My way of doing this is through my blog and my group interactions on Facebook. When you are stuck on a decision while minimising, these groups could help with suggestions on alternatives. For example, how can you reuse certain items, or how do you let go of certain items close to your heart?
Controlled experiments require a fixed set of rules and the elimination of factors that may influence them during the course of the experiment. My book Need Over Want comes with a chapter on various experiments possible to perform based on your level of experience in the minimalism philosophy. There is something for beginners and for pros as well. Some examples of experimentation are a 30-day minimalism game and Project 333. These games and exercises help you practice your muscle of letting go. After any of these games, you can keep doing what works for you, the original idea or a variation of it.
Field Observation requires the observation of relevant persons or events in their relevant environment—and then to learn from their behavior. Social media and expert content creator channels like The Minimalists and Becoming Minimalist can provide these. Though social media is demonised for its addictive qualities, this is a great boon from it. The education it is capable of providing is endless. It is easy to find content creators who are living various minimalist experiments and philosophies. There is an ocean of knowledge to gain from. There are books written on the various consequences and learnings from it. Some of the books I would recommend are Everything That Remains, Essentialism ,and of course, my book with ten stories on minimalism, Need Over Want.
I hope this journal induced some structure into your approach to minimalism. I am always deriving strategies from running to minimalism and vice versa. Share your strategies for making the minimalism journey exciting and interesting.