More and more people are opting for less instead of more

Over the past few years, a segment of the population has been shifting their consumption habits. Instead of focusing on more, they are now consciously opting for less but better consumption.

The characteristics of those people: privileged, well informed, up-to-date, eager to discover new things, independent thinkers, wanting to distinguish from the mainstream, mostly urbans living in big cities but not always.

Some call them "bobos" in French, bohos or hipsters. Like them or hate them but still, they're generally the ones initiating the trends that become mainstream.

Think of eating organic food, vegetarianism, veganism, fasting, meditation, yoga, cold bath. When those trends started, they were seen as weird, exotic. Now, the masses are gradually becoming interested in them.

As often, trends start in big cities and spread everywhere after a while.

Here are a few example of this "consumption of less" trend.


  • Less meat
  • Less junk food
  • Less sugar, salt, carbs, cow milk, gluten
  • Less processed foods
  • Less additives, pesticides, antibiotics


  • Less antibiotics
  • Less pharmaceutical medications
  • Less tobacco
  • Less alcohol

Technology, news & entertainment

  • Less screen time
  • Less social media
  • Less Netflix
  • Less news, less mainstream media
  • Less notifications

Fashion, beauty, hygiene

  • Less fast fashion
  • Less buying clothes
  • Less beauty products: creams, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners
  • Less chemicals
  • Less cosmetics

Work and business

  • Less hierarchy
  • Less meetings
  • Less fundraising, less investors
  • Less corporate jobs

Less is better.

7 reasons why less is better

1. More physical and mental space

In the consumerist era, we tend to clutter our home, body and mind with useless crap we think we need.

We think we need all those things mostly because we've over-solicited with marketing everywhere we go (physically and online).

On top of that, marketing techniques are getting more and more efficient with modern research on human behavior and technology to leverage that.

The techniques of social media companies to generate infinite dopamine and get us addicted to it is a great example of this.

As a result, we end up with a lot of stuff that takes up place, both physically and mentally.

By identifying and eliminating all the useless things you have and do, you free up space in your life. And that feels damn great.

Less is better.

2. More time

When you consume less and have less stuff, you have much more time.

You spend less time shopping, doomscrolling social media, checking useless news or managing crap that is not really important to our lives.

On average, people spend 4.8 hours per day on their smartphone. Source : App Annie.

That's 144 hours per month. Read it again. 144 hours per month, seriously.

It's 6 whole days spent on a smartphone per month on average.

With that time, you could read between 8 and 12 life changing non fiction books, learn a new skill or language, start a project, explore to know yourself better, etc.

When deciding to consume less, you are more intentional with your time and spend it on more meaningful stuff.

I'm not saying we need use every minute of our life a certain way or live like monks and totally cut entertainment, social media and all that.

We just need to be aware, have more control over it and reduce the time spent passively consuming stuff.

We need balance. 100+ hours per month on a phone is not balance, it's extreme. And more importantly, it doesn't make us feel good.

"Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend" - Theophrastus

Less is better.

3. Better health

A lot of unnecessary (and sometimes harmful) stuff have just been created to maximize profit over helping people and solving problems.

A list of examples :

  • Additives in food: colorants, preservatives, salt, sugar, aspartam and many more.
  • Chemicals in hygiene / beauty products: disrupting the body's natural self-regulation, cancers, skin diseases, etc.
  • A significant part of pharmaceuticals thanks to our caring health industry (or disease industry, as you prefer).
  • Chemicals in clothes like endocrine disruptors that cause cancer, decreased fertility, obesity, asthma and so on.

By being aware of that, you can consume less shitty product and choose better ones that won't damage your health or at least, not as much as the by default crap that is served to us.

Less is better.

4. Better focus and productivity

Less stuff means less noise, less distractions, less stuff to think of, less stuff to manage.

That means much more mental clarity.

Being productive is being focused. To be focused, you need to shut down all the noise and distractions.

How can we accomplish meaningful, significant things and live a deep, intentional life with constant distractions?

We can't, and that's a big problem, because the mainstream modern lifestyle is to never stop consuming information and entertainment.

Today, it really takes courage to resist to the easy and infinite dopamine generated by social media, Netflix, Youtube and all that.

It takes courage to cut the noise and focus on actions that won't only bring short term rewards but produce long term contentment.

"You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things." - Unknown

Less is better.

5. More money

This one is obvious but super important.

By consuming less, you just spend less money. Simple, basic.

And the money you save can be spent in meaningful actions to improve your life.

Some ideas :

  • Launching your own project and/or business
  • Buying books or courses to expand your knowledge and learn skills
  • Traveling with your friends and family
  • Following your passion : boat's licence or whatever
  • Investing the money (real estate, stocks, etc)
  • Going to therapy

Again, consuming those, as opposed to material stuff, bring less dopamine on the short term, but much more joy and satisfaction in the long run.

Less is better.

6. More freedom

The more you own things, the more you're owned by things and the more potential problems you can have.

The more you own and consume, the more mental load you have.

By having and consuming less, as you have less to manage, you simply have more freedom and peace of mind.

Cool thing: when you move to a new location, you don't have to spend 3 months packing your stuff and 3 trucks to move it.

Less is better.

7. More space for creation

When you have more time, mental space, focus, you have what you need to learn, create and progress on meaningful things.

You have a clearer mind to get ideas, work on a project, express yourself, share your work, meet interesting people, learn new skills and so on.

You have more space to create.

That's a double win.

1. You become more intentional, more active and more productive in your life.

2. As a result, you feel much more proud of yourself and confident than just being a full time passive consumer.

Remember :

"You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things." - Unknown

Less is better.

The less is better lifestyle equals going back to natural and essential things

Here's a non exhaustive list of rising habits we can see in those trendy spheres. Nobody checks all the boxes but still, more and more of these are rising.

Rising food consumption

  • Eating organic, non processed foods
  • Eating food that is made locally and according to the seasons
  • Paleo, ketogenic, raw, no/low carb diets (close to what the first men were eating)
  • Growing your own vegetables
  • Buying foods directly from the farmers

Rising activities

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Journaling
  • Playing physical games
  • Hiking / wild camping / bushcraft

Rising lifestyles

  • Living in sustainable / self sufficient houses
  • Living in a smaller house / tiny house / van / nomad home
  • Living as a minimalist with very few items
  • Living in eco villages - communities
  • Living as a digital nomad

Rising health habits

  • Fasting
  • Taking cold showers, cold baths
  • Digital minimalism, dopamine detox
  • Naturopathy, phytotherapy: using natural products to heal ourselves
  • Going to therapy

Rising work / business trends

  • Going back to meaningful, more useful jobs
  • Leaving the big corporate companies
  • Bootstrapping your own company / Not relying on investors and fundraising
  • Being your own boss / solopreneur / indiepreneur / freelance

Less is better brings us back to things we ALREADY had before

I find that very interesting.

After decades of hyper-consumption, buying shit loads of stuff, consciously or unconsciously believing it would make us happier, we're heading back to basic things we already had or experienced before:

  • Consuming the most natural products: the natural state of things without all the artificial crap added. Organic food is the normal state of food, nothing more.
  • Consuming local products or services: products we just have around us and not thousands of miles away.
  • Living in smaller houses, in natural spaces, in communities or being nomadic: the early humans were nomads, not sedentary, living in groups.
  • Being more self sufficient (food, home, energy, money, health) : before, we had no supermarkets, no pharmacies, we had no choice of being self sufficient, or die.
  • Doing simpler and basic activities: crafting our own stuff, reading, journaling, meditation, yoga: simple, mindful activities.
  • Healing ourselves with nature as much as we can (plants, natural products etc.) : it has been done since centuries.

No rocket science. Back to basics. Back to simplicity. Less is better.

How to explain the growing trend of less is better?

People within this trend realized that hyper-consumption doesn't bring happiness.

Consumerism and all the marketing that goes with it encourage people to acquire as much goods and services as possible.

To do that, marketing / advertising is done to convince people that their lives will be improved, their problems solved, and they'd feel happier buying this or that.

The privileged people feeling this "trend of less" have experienced hyper-consumerism and found that it doesn't make their lives happier.

They now need to "look for happiness" elsewhere :)

Easier access to knowledge helps debunking the myths of consumerism

You know this one: *breakfast is the most important meal of the day*.

I've believed this bullshit for many years and told it many times to people around me.

I discovered it was a complete myth, invented by one of the biggest cereal company: Kellogg's. It has been created and promoted to sell cereals. That's it.

Later, Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, father of the modern propaganda (coined at that time into "public relations"), was charged to help increase the sales of bacon for The Beech-Nut Company.

As a "marketing genius", he managed to make 5000 doctors tell publicly that a heavy breakfast was healthy for americans. This breakfast was made of bacon and eggs.

That's how the habit of eating bacon and eggs for the breakfast started.

Eward Bernays is also behind the mainstream adoption of smoking cigarettes and other fancy political operations. A great man, right?

The scams of cereals, bacon and cigarettes are easy examples for well informed people, but there are many more to find out (hint: wars, pharmaceutical industry).

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.

Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.


In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.

It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

- Edward Bernays, father of public relations, from his book Propaganda.

You get it.

Now, even if we live in a very noisy world crowded with over-information, the true stories can be found with books, internet and data.

Independent thinkers are now their own journalists. They can run investigations and get access to the truth behind the myths we have been told to consume more stuff.

And very importantly, share their discoveries to other people to raise awareness.

At the same time, billion dollars are invested in the Metaverse

Needless to say, the Metaverse is the opposite of this trend.

The metaverse is a technological and innovative addition, and it's the most virtual experience ever.

That's virtual reality. As opposed to reality.

My opinion is that, in some way, it's the opposite of nature and life.

But the Metaverse targets "the masses". Which are not yet affected by the "less is better" trend.

The mass is in the "more is better". And that includes more technology and digital stimulation.

I think that if the Metaverse gets massively adopted by people, can become a Netflix multiplied by 10 in terms of negative effects.

Potentially very entertaining, addictive, providing big loads of dopamine but will massively contribute to maintain people in the worst laziness and stagnation ever.

I'll be honest, I hope this will make a monumental flop.

A few inspiring quotes on minimalism and "less is better"

“Minimalism is built around the idea that there’s nothing that you’re lacking.” - Fumio Sasaki.

“You don’t need more space. You need less stuff.” - Joshua Becker.

“More was never the answer. The answer, it turned out, was always less.” - Cait Flanders.

"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” - Socrates.

“The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” - Elise Boulding.

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.” - Harold Kushner.

"Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.” – Tom Robbins.

"The simplest things are often the truest.” - Richard Bach.

“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a life, as defined uniquely by each individual.” - Linda Breen Pierce.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci.

I have myself a lot to learn from these quotes.

Final thoughts

In a hyper-connected world of hyper-consumption, hyper-information and "hyper-everything", the less is better philosophy looks like an universal answer.

It invites us to live better with less and not to be overwhelmed by the endless flow of more.

It starts by being aware that having more is not the answer to our desire of contentment and freedom. 

By gradually removing stuff from our lives, we can free up space to focus on what truly matters : living an intentional and meaningful life. Which seems to be much more aligned with finding contentment. 

This article is also a note to myself, to help me keep and nurture this mindset. I hope it brought some value to you.