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Having Less Gives You More

Minimalism: Having Less Gives You More

By Julia Fiendt

Have you ever felt like the things you own, own you?  That a big part of your identity is your material possessions? Technology and material items could be decreasing your quality of life and inhibiting your ability to feel deeply connected with those around you.  So ask yourself, what would your life look like with less stuff?

One trend that has been sweeping the nation for the last few years is Minimalism. Many people don’t know exactly what it means or believe it to be a bizarre concept because we live in a society that places high value on material items and money.  These tangible items have become a symbol of status and even self-worth. The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has become widely popular as it speaks to this concept.  It covers why we have such a hard time keeping our homes clutter-free and how to discard things by category. It will even give you a glimpse of how your life will be transformed after your tidying marathon session.

Furthermore, you may have heard of the recent documentary Minimalism on Netflix. In this movie, filmmakers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus profile many different people from different walks of life, all pursuing minimalism and the benefits and sacrifices that come with it.

Fields Millburn and Nicodemus have helped over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through by spreading the minimalist message their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR, so Minimalism is clearly an up-and-coming concept that is catching peoples’ attention. Click on the link for their quick overview of minimalism called the minimalism elevator pitch. On The Minimalists Podcast, Joshua and Ryan discuss finding a balance between quality and quantity, products and services for minimalists, fighting planned obsolescence in technology and more.

However, don’t be mistaken. The Minimalist lifestyle is not about just getting rid of material items. The deeper reason that people choose minimalism is to fulfill the pursuit of a meaningful life that focuses on the intangible things that money can’t buy. The idea is that when you clear your life of material items and things you don’t need, you are freer to focus on what matters and what brings you the deepest joy.  This includes family, friends, hobbies, experiences, education and more.  Here is Josh and Ryan’s take on it from their website:

“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom. Minimalism has helped us…

  • Eliminate our discontent
  • Reclaim our time
  • Live in the moment
  • Pursue our passions
  • Discover our missions
  • Experience real freedom
  • Create more, consume less
  • Focus on our health
  • Grow as individuals
  • Contribute beyond ourselves
  • Rid ourselves of excess stuff
  • Discover purpose in our lives

Here are some examples of people that are living happy minimalist lives:

The goal of Minimalism, and the goal of virtually every human being, is to find lasting happiness and a life of fulfillment. Unfortunately, many believe that having an expensive car, a beautiful wardrobe and a job with an impressive title will bring them this happiness. But happiness and contentment are in the now, they cannot be bought.  They must be worked for and earned in the present moment with mindfulness and good intentions.  Minimalism is a good way to get in the mindset of valuing what is truly important over the short-term satisfaction of material possessions.

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