“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton, General U. S. Army

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Mark Twain

"The ancestor of every action is thought."

Emerson

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought."

Buddha

"When you are not told what to do you begin to think what to do."

Roger Cohen, Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."

Voltaire

"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

"You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think."

Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course

"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?"

Winnie the Pooh

"Time to think matters ─ at least if we’re interested in getting the answers right."

Stephen L. Carter

"Thinking is always out of order, interrupts all ordinary activities and is interrupted by them."

Hannah Arendt, Life of the Mind

"Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

John F. Kennedy

"The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds."

Will Durant

"Thinking is like living and dying. Each of us must do it for himself."

Josiah Royce

"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory."

G. Behn

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Albert Einstein

"Pursuing our thoughts in silent contemplation takes an investment in time that few can spare."

Stephen L. Carter

"A moment’s thinking is an hour in words."

Thomas Hood

"Sometimes I think and other times I am."

Paul, Variete: Cantiques spirituels 192

"To think is to differ."

Darrow

"To think is to live."

Cicero

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

William Jones

"What we think, we become."

Buddha

"Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking."

Anonymous

"The person who thinks before he speaks is silent most of the time."

Anonymous

"Think ─ and you will be very lonely."

Anonymous

"Thought is action in rehearsal."

Anonymous

"We live in a world that leaves very little time to contemplate."

Anonymous

"Don’t worry too much about what people think because they seldom do."

Anonymous

"Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest."

Anonymous

"One cannot think crooked and walk straight."

Anonymous

"Think Differently + Do Things Differently = Better Results"

Anonymous

January 10, 2017

A Year of More with Less

Tags: General,

This is the photo that took my breath away as I was reading my daily newspaper a few days before Christmas. It shows a FedEx warehouse filled with packages that still needed to get where they had to go in time for the holiday. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about one: Gross.

My visceral reaction to this photo had me thinking about stuff. Too much stuff to be specific. And how my life (your life?) is cluttered with things to use and wear and flaunt, but mostly to store, fund, maintain and complain about.

How fortunate am I?

During my Christmas staycation, I treated myself to one movie a day. After seeing this photo I found myself questioning how I could downsize my Big Life which led me to that day’s film selection: Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things.

Here’s what I learned from watching:

• Achieving the American Dream has come to mean acquiring material things.

• It is possible to live in a very tiny one room home and love it.

• We spend way too much of our valuable time “on the hunt” for things.

• Giving away things is actually quite liberating.

• Constantly improving technology makes us constantly dissatisfied...bring on the next new thing!

• There is a growing movement known as Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge that asks you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months (includes clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes!).

• You won’t find happiness by consuming more.

• It’s not about getting rid of your stuff; it’s about taking control of your life.

• Love people. Use things.

But most of all I learned:

• You will never see the word minimalist in my obituary.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t aspire to live more simply. 

The fact that a picture of excess affected me so means that I am aware there’s a problem and supposedly that is where this quest for having more with less begins.

When I was telling friends (who endured manic international shopping trips with me) about Project 333, one responded, “You first...!”

I think I’ll back burner the fashion challenge for a while but I am already planning how to maximize my New Year by minimizing my surroundings (a more spare work space), commitments (“no” is an answer), and possessions (how many black sweaters can one own?).

At a minimum, this should leave me more time and focus for family, friends, business colleagues, strangers, experiences and the lost art of thinking about stuff, not just acquiring it.

Anita Alvare (bio)/Alvare Associates/610-520-6140

Minimalism  New Year  Project 333

Since establishing Alvaré in 1981, Anita has guided the agency through more than 30 years of steady growth and success. A marketing communications entrepreneur who has done it all, she remains deeply involved in strategic planning and creative direction, bringing extensive knowledge and insight to each client project.

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Comments (4)

01.11.2017
Richard Robinson

Is it just me, or does the photo above bring to mind the closing scene in “Citizen Kane?”

01.11.2017
Susan Sauro

Anita,
I just love reading your blog! On the subject of minimizing…. we currently have a friend from Uganda living with us, and has shared many things about his culture. For one, he has noticed how materialistic Americans are. He noted that in the US, children have playrooms filled with toys, where as in Uganda children generally have only one toy and will make more toys from things they find in nature. And yes, I have too many black sweaters as well.

01.12.2017
Patricia Presto

Great article.  I’ve followed the Minimalists for a while (http://www.theminimalists.com/) and went to a bookstore here in town where the duo spoke about their minimalistic lifestyle in Montana.  The picture you featured also made me cringe.  For the past few years, my (grown) children & I have exchanged “time with each other”.  This year, it was a trip to San Diego, whale watching and Kayaking the open ocean (“you can do this Mom”)...it has been a true gift to join together to think of something “just the three” of us journey on together. Memories & experiences are a way better than a pile of presents any day of the week for me!  Great post!

01.16.2017
Steph

It is so true that we all want more. I made a decision 6 months ago to not buy anything unless I got rid of something in exchange. It’s working! My credit card bills are lower and I am appreciating more what I already have. I am also trying to give away some of what I have each season. I don’t have all the black sweaters but I do have many of similar things and colors. They are the first to go! Thanks! Steph