Does the stuff you own end up owning you? As they approached their 30th birthdays, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus had it made. They had huge homes, six-figure salaries and all the toys you can poke a sharp stick at. But success was not all they thought it would be and a lingering discontent, work stress and too much time in the office was too high a price to pay for material rewards.
They decided to make a change. While most people join a gym, go on vacation or buy more toys to fill up the gaps in their lives, Joshua and Ryan decided instead to give it all up. And by all, I mean EVERYTHING: “And yet with all that stuff, we knew we weren’t satisfied with our lives. We knew we weren’t truly happy. We discovered that working 70-80 hours a week for a corporation and buying even more stuff didn’t fill the void. In fact, it only brought us more debt and anxiety and fear and loneliness and guilt and overwhelm and depression.
What’s worse, we found out we didn’t have control of our time and thus didn’t control our own lives. So we took back control using the principles of minimalism to focus on what’s important in life—to focus on living meaningful lives.”
They gave up their jobs, sold their homes and all their stuff and currently live in a cabin in Montana. If this sounds a little too Walden for you, fear not. What these two crazy kids are proposing is a simpler existence, rather than a Ghandi-esc ascetic’s life.
They spend much of their time writing blogs and books that help people to live lives uncluttered by material possessions and filled with meaning and depth. They propose a 21 day journey to minimalism in which you throw out the junk and streamline your needs. Not only that, but you also stop buying more stuff. It’s amazing what you can do without when you change your focus from meaningless things to meaningful experiences.
When you use (and need) fewer things, you need less money and this frees up your time to pursue activities that bring depth and meaning to your life. It’s really quite simple and the rewards are infinite. While Josh and Ryan focus on improving the quality of life, their experiments have the added advantage of reducing consumerism and thereby creating greener homes and healthier lives.
You can find Josh and Ryan’s 21 day guide to minimalism here.
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