Minimalism and Ego: 4 people, 1 tiny boat, 3 months

If you ever want the ultimate minimalism challenge, take a 27-foot Albin Vega sailboat and tell 4 adults they have to live in the tiny vessel for 3 months. There's no room for frilly redundancies. One pair of shoes. One coat. One roll of toilet paper...just kidding. Two.

Everyone who hears our sailing story asks, "You mean you spent all this time together in a small space and DIDN'T kill each other?"

No we didn't, because we knew that living in a small space called for a different kind of minimalism. We all needed minimal egos.

You could live in an enormous McMansion and a big ego would fill the entire house. Egos take up all the space, no matter how big--or small--the home.

Now, I'm sure everyone has a general idea of what ego is, but for now, we'll say ego is the part of you that ties your own self worth to irrelevant things and ideas. A good example is debates. Arguments and debates happen all the time in our family, but instead of fighting to prove we're right (hello, ego!), we strive to find where we're wrong. It's more likely that I've missed something, and I'm not understanding correctly.

If I puffed my ego and stood my ground, nothing would get accomplished. They're wrong; I'm right; and I need to convince them of how right I am. They need to change, not me. Two egos arguing is like two goats butting heads. Both goats get hurt.

Ego minimalism says, "I want to understand what you're saying, even if it's uncomfortable. I know I'm wrong sometimes, and this could be one of those times. I want to fix what's wrong and come to a happy agreement, because we're kinda stuck together."

I'm not sure who's reading this, but if you've ever met me, Sierrah, and my sister Morgan, you'd know we are tight friends who do a lot together, but it wasn't always that way. Before our first time sailing the Bahamas, we used to have petty little sibling fights, always trying to one-up each other. We were family, sure, but we weren't very good friends.

Then, our parents stuck us on a tiny boat together and--LITERALLY--within a week, we resolved to stop fighting and to work with each other, not against each other. We were stuck with each other, and we had to practice some ego minimalism for the trip to be enjoyable.

The hot, new thing is minimalism. Less is more and consumerism gets out of hand, that whole gig. I like the idea, but I think ego minimalism is far more powerful. And I'm living proof of the benefits of ego minimalism. Actually, all four of us are living proof, afterall, we didn't kill each other.


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