Get inspired by the Minimalists

I’d seen Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, the Minimalists, on a TED talk online one day. Is life better with less? It triggered me to do a little more research and I found the trailer of their documentary on YouTube. That triggered me even more. A few weeks ago M and I finally sat down to watch the whole documentary.

Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus // photo by Joshua Weaver

If you’ve never heard of them, please check the trailer in the link above to get a first impression. They share their own inspiring story about being happier with less (all that stuff!) and of climbing the corporate ladder and expecting that the success and the money that comes with it would increase their levels of happiness. Spoiler: it doesn’t.

In the documentary there’s also a Wall Street broker, who you only get to meet for a few minutes. But his story stuck with me. Not because I can relate. Not at all. He was offered a big promotion and right there it struck him. He didn’t want to be the guy he had become. “I realised that I was completely and utterly trapped. And that I would never be able to walk away from that amount of money ever in my life. And any dream that I had of living a life of purpose, those were gone.” He walked out and that was it.

It was never about the extra t-shirts of course, but it felt like a symbolic start. A new state of mind that I want to hold onto.

I’m not quitting any job – I actually just landed a new one, more about that later – but after watching the full movie I felt like I had so much more than I need. And that’s a good feeling. I have everything I need and then some. M was equally inspired and we decided we could act on this right away. It was late at night, but we pulled some piles of clothes out of our closet and started throwing things out. It was never about the extra t-shirts of course, but it felt like a symbolic start. A new state of mind that I want to hold onto.

photo by @kharaoke
Photo by @kharaoke

A few weeks have passed and in the meantime I’ve cleaned out my bookshelves, put an old iPad that was gathering dust up for sale. But most of all, I am so much more aware of what I buy and if it’s worth the hard work I did to earn the money I am about to spend. We’ve watched ‘Fight Club’ as well recently and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) says at one point “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” I had seen this movie before years ago and that line has always been somewhere in a little drawer in my mind. It’s exactly how I feel and exactly what I need to be reminded of sometimes as well.  I value my free time so much more than my money. Buy less = work less = more time. Right?

I have a new rule when it comes to throwing things out or buying new stuff: Is it coming with us to Italy or not? If it’s not, why is it still here?

With Italy ahead of us, I have a new rule when it comes to either throwing things out or buying new stuff: Is it coming with us to Italy or not? If it’s not, why is it still here? Am I actually going to use it in the meantime or is it just taking up space? Same for buying stuff: is it going to be loaded into that truck when the time has come? Or will I be throwing it out in a while?

Check out the documentary Minimalism, a story about the important things at their website: theminimalists.com.

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