This is an account of day 3 of the 21-Day Daily Stoic Freedom Challenge, for accounts of other days please click here.
The task for day 3 of the 21-Day Daily Stoic Freedom Challenge is to develop a daily outfit. By introducing consistency into what we wear on a daily basis, the goal is to reduce the number of decisions we’re required to make and thereby allow another bit of freedom into our busy lives. Today’s instructional email from Daily Stoic says developing a daily outfit allows you to distinguish between what’s necessary and what’s nonsense:
Yesterday, we made the decision to reduce the number of decisions we have to make by confining food choices to one diet. Today, we take another step towards freedom from the minor decisions that can quickly and unknowingly consume our days. Your challenge today is to develop a daily outfit. The Steve Jobs strategy. Your signature style.
Our routine, our choices about what we do and what we own, can be pared down and turned into a source of strength. When you stock your life with things you can depend on and things you can trust, it frees up precious resources. You can say, this is who I am and what I do, I don’t need to put any stock in all that other nonsense. You can experiment with important things, not how you look.
The question you find yourself left with is well, what is important? When you limit your choices and variety down, you not only form a more resilient core—an inner citadel—but you can prioritize further still. It allows you to clearly distinguish between what’s necessary and what’s nonsense. You have more time for others. For your duties. For other, more, important decisions. For the real work required to obtain what all philosophers sought: the good life.
Owing to my work environment, my daily outfit is already quite consistent. In a warm office with limited air conditioning, and with an employer that allows a casual dress code, there’s little option other than to wear jeans and a t-shirt every day. Having a rotation of a few of each means there’s always a clean combination to put on in the mornings and there’s really no decision to be made.
I think I have already carved out quite a bit of freedom in this area – although I take care to look respectable, I have no real interest in fashion and trends and so don’t spend a lot of time deliberating on what to buy next.
So with this part of the challenge effectively taken care of without having to do much, I’ll use it as an excuse to clear out (donate to charity) some old clothes that don’t get worn enough to justify owning them. In the spirit of the challenge this should achieve additional freedom by limiting my daily choices/decisions even more.
Another challenge participant, Johnny, posted his thoughts in the group Slack channel and also captured the spirit of things brilliantly (that is, the quest for freedom):
For my daily clothes at home and going out, I have 7 gray t-shirts, and 7 dark blue/gray shorts. I switched to this since March, and it lifted my life in a lot of ways:
– Saving time and mental energy not to make decision of what to wear after waking up
– Wardrobe is very simple and minimal
– Saving money, when I go to the mall, I wouldnt stop at clothes section, I wouldn’t consider buying
– I compare myself less of others, and more confident of what I wear. Feel unique, and simple at the same time
– I take care of my clothes more, and gratitude of what I have
There’s a certain hint of minimalism I like about developing a daily outfit, and given the goal of that movement is also ultimately freedom, it’s a fitting connection. There are a lot of time-sapping activities in this area that end up being of no discernible consequence – browsing clothing stores on and offline, keeping up with the latest trends, comparing your fashion sense to others, and just deciding what to wear on a daily basis. The more of those I can eliminate the better.