In any event, situation, relationship or interaction there are minimum requirements or standards (i.e. principles) that we consider necessary for it - any relationship, situation or interaction - to be acceptable and productive. Minimum standards are different from our expected ideal or perfect circumstances, but at least it provide a sound foundation that can be applied as stabilizing parameters (i.e. good enough) to initiate, develop and sustain productive interactions and/or relationships.

Minimum standards - steering, directing and controlling our interactions - are formulated (compiled), established and maintained as a means to an end and not as an end (or goal) in itself. All the while that we constantly strive to obtain the ideal relation, interaction or circumstances; we define our minimum standards to establish a yardstick (some kind of a norm, or benchmark if you will) to measure the quality or performance (i.e. efficiency or successes achieved) as being either above or below our minimum acceptable standards.

Minimum standards ain't something that were “discovered” recently, nor is it something new. Minimum standards is part and parcel of human existence for eons of years and continuously direct our priorities, choices, decisions and actions. Naturally we all formulate minimum standards for all situations, circumstances and relationships throughout our life's. Such minimum standards - which is part and parcel of our personal philosophy of life - are formulated and dealt with consciously, sub-consciously and unconsciously. Our minimum standards is detrimental to either establish, develop and sustain compassionate and harmonious interactions (nourishing) or interactions characterized by arrogance, selfishness, assumptions, misunderstandings and conflict (toxic).

Minimum standards aren't static and are continually, dynamically adjusted or adapted to reflect the natural process of life and to accommodate our constant changing circumstances, which also serves as a valid negotiation platform to formulate, establish and sustain a suitable legacy statement. Minimum standards develops and grow as we evolveI.e. self-actualize. in life and gain more and more experiences and insight (i.e. as we mature and become wiser).

The basic foundation of minimum standards usually focus and reflect on the following psyche “components” and corresponding value and believe system reference hierarchy…

  • LOWER SELF (Physical-Materialistic Realm - also known as the id and child)
    • Survival and Psycho-Spiritual: SELF AWARENESS.
    • Feeling Secure & Safe and Psycho-Spiritual: SELF RESPECT.
    • Personal Power and Psycho-Spiritual: SELF-WORTH
  • SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN the Lower and Higher Self (i.e. Physical and Spiritual Realms - also known as the ego and adult)
    • Give & Receive Love and Psycho-Spiritual: LOVE/SELF LOVE/OTHERS
  • HIGHER SELF (Spiritual-Transcendental Realm - also known as the super-ego and parent)
    • Communication and Psycho-Spiritual: SELF EXPRESSION
    • Insight & Understanding and Psycho-spiritual: SELF RESPONSIBILITY
    • Transcendence & Service to Fellow man and Psycho-Spiritual: SELF KNOWLEDGE/SPIRITUAL AWARENESS

As already indicated… minimum standards can either be nourishing (allowing for development, growth and prosperity) or toxic (resulting in blockages, derailments, stuckness and poverty) based on the following…

  1. Unconscious minimum standards - no choice - automated life scripts that can easily reset as sabotage programs when events/circumstances change.
  2. Sub-conscious minimum standards - limited choice - semi-automated life scripts that can be dealt with through reflection and meditation.
  3. Conscious minimum standards - freedom of choice - ideal circumstances allowing us to deal with life in a balanced and effective manner.


When watching the following TED-talk, please keep in mind that the main purpose of the talk isn't to explain nor to provide answers with regards to minimum standards. The main purpose and reason for the talk is to provide an extended perspective and understanding with regards to the significance, purpose and value that minimum standards have for our everyday lives… in a personal, professional and communal capacity. Something which often is the little jackals responsible for establishing numerous psyche wounds as a result of the prevailing and collective capitalistic-consumerism philosophy that impacts negatively on our future aspirations.

Advantages of minimum standards

1. More opportunity to pursue what’s most important. Our lives are important. Why would we waste them pursuing things that aren’t? Physical things perish, spoil, or fade. But love, joy, purpose, contribution, and compassion stand eternal. Our lives would be better lived pursuing them and owning less provides that opportunity. YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

2. More of your finite resources saved. The reality of life is that it is made up of finite resources: money, time, energy, attention, physical space. Even relationships, mental capacity, physical capacity, and natural resources. A minimalist approach to living frees up all of them. It puts more money in our wallet, time in our calendars, and focus in our endeavors.

3. More intentionality in all areas of life. Countless voices and messages seek influence in our lives. They desire to shape what we believe, what we buy, what we watch, what we eat, and how we live. Intentionality brings life back under our control. Owning less jumpstarts intentional living by forcing us to identify our values—decluttering always forces introspection. As a result, we can better identify how we have been swayed by artificial influences.

4. More space to live our fullest life. Our lives require space. But in a world of ever-increasing speed, time for reflection becomes more and more difficult to discover. Owning fewer possessions means less cleaning, less organizing, less repairing, and less financial burden. It frees up space—space that can be spent examining life to make sure we are living it to the fullest.

5. More focus on contribution. Even if for selfish reasons, it is wise for each of us to evaluate where we seek meaning. Happiness found in living life for personal gain is short-lived, never fully satisfying. On the other hand, using our resources for the purpose of improving life for someone else offers lasting joy. Moving our focus from personal gain to personal contribution is not always the result of embracing the pursuit of less, but it does become much easier.

6. More flexibility for life change. Over the past ten years, our family has made some significant changes. We have changed careers. We have moved to a smaller home. We have discovered new hobbies. We have changed the way we spend our money. And we have changed many of the habits that define our lives. In each of the examples listed above, minimalism helped make the change possible. One of the greatest benefits of living with fewer possessions is freedom—freedom to live and change and improve—even if the specific changes are up to you.

7. More inspiration for others. Our world is losing itself in consumeristic pursuits. Home sizes are growing, but happiness is not. We chase paychecks rather than influence and success rather than significance. The results of these choices have proven detrimental: stress, anxiety, fatigue, and regret. We need new inspiration. We need more people rejecting consumerism and choosing life instead.

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  • Last modified: 15 January, 2019 @ 5:15pm
  • by Jan Viljoen