I had the opportunity to attend The Minimalist’s talk on their tour called the Less Is Now in Seattle on May 12, 2017. These guys, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, are some of the greatest guys you will ever meet. I love their chemistry and you can tell that they are truly best friends. What is even better, it seems like they have this secret...this secret to happiness. But you know what the best part is is that they want to share that secret. They want to scream it from the rooftops, and they truly want you to have and be a part of this happiness.
These guys unselfishly share all that they know and all that they have with us. During the talk, they spoke about their difficult pasts, admitted their shortcomings, and gave a very accurate picture of where they were before their journey to minimalism. They don’t sugar coat it or try to make themselves seem better than they were as so many people try to do these days. They were raw and real! That’s what I love about them.
What was so great about this meet up was that:
1. It was a sold out theater and...
2. Everyone was somewhere on the journey. They were just beginning or had been doing it for years.
Another great thing that everyone who attended had in common was that we all had one or two areas that we really struggled with. One lady struggled with social media and life balance. Another person struggled with a hobby that required a lot of tools. Personally, I struggle with books and sentimental clothing. None of us were perfect and you know what? That is ok! As cheesy as it sounds, there was so much love in that room and there was no judgment. We weren’t condemned and no one had a negative outlook on us because we were consumers and still struggling with simplifying. There was no one there crucifying us because we weren’t minimalist enough. That is not what this movement is about. It’s about a journey to finding happiness and meaning. The Minimalists say it the best.
You know what these guys want in life? They want to be happy and live a life of meaning. I think that is what we all want but we really lose sight of it with the money, and the things, and those "Jones" we want to keep up with. The first book they wrote is almost a "how-to guide" to re-evaluate your life, and get on the right path.
Book 1: Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life
Their book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life is not just about the stuff surprisingly. Yes, the first steps are about taking your life back from all the things that you are surrounded by but then the book is broken down into "The Five Values".
“The book itself is written and organized to help you think about your life and how you live in it; to make you do some work and introspection so you can step away from your old life and journey into a new one; to help you realize you can change, you can re-select who you’re going to be, you can become the best person you’re capable of becoming-the real you, the passionate, loving, compassionate, disciplined, happy you.” Pg 4-5
Although the book could probably be read in a few hours, it was designed to be read a chapter at a time so you have time to focus on those five important values of your life which are “health, relationships, passions, growth, and contribution.” You will just have to read the book to see how they dive into these topics and change the way you think about them. Then you can examine your life and live a meaningfully chosen life not a life that you are just along for the ride. But remember to not only read these pieces of advice but figure out how to implement them into your life. If you don’t make any changes, you won’t see any changes.
Book 2: Everything That Remains
Their second book, and personally my favorite, has a lot to live up to after reading the first one but somehow they pull it off.
These guys are and were super young when they wrote this at just 32 years old. My fist thought was 'what the heck is going to be in this book? They have only lived half of their life and they are already writing a memoir!' Well it's not exactly like that. It's kind of a collection of stories that explain about the lives of The Minimalists from the perspective of Joshua Fields Millburn with hilarious interruptions by Ryan Nicodemus, as they often do in real life. The writing is fantastic and it pulls you along so quickly that it is hard to put the book down. If you want to a 'how-to book' go with their first book, Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, but if you want a beautifully written description of their story and how they got to where they are today, you will love Everything That Remains!
Book 3: Essential: Essays
One of the best things about these guys is that when they are passionate about something they just jump straight in. Fun fact: these guys knew so little about blogging when they started their now super successful blog that they called their entries essays instead of the normal vernacular of posts. But this book is exactly what the title states. It is the collection of all their blog posts but in the form and flow of a book. It is all woven together so that they all build on each other. Each of the 12 chapters are broken down into different sections that relate to all areas of life. Everything from technology to success.
When I was reading this I kind of used it as my inspiration of the day. All the essays are about a page long and only take a couple minutes to read. Its a good way to start the day by focusing on your priorities and growing.
The Documentary: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
One of my favorite memories while I was starting this journey was going to the movie theater with my mom for the documentary called Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things. I had been reading everything that I could about minimalism and simple living before I took the plunge to make sure that I could 'get it right'. Well the joke was on me when I found out that all the people that talked about minimalism said there was no one right way to do it.
Minimalism is tailored specifically to you. Anyways I had been reading books from Joshua Becker, I had read about Courtney Carver and project 333, and I had watched many youtubers like my green closet. All of these people that I had come to love and admire were in this documentary! One of my favorite quotes is from Joshua Becker who talks about this quote:
Joshua Becker goes on to say perfectly that, "the first response is always this, 'well thats easy for Jim Carrey to say. He is rich and famous.' Right? And I am like wait a minute, who else can say that? It would take someone rich and famous to be able to say that its not worth it."
This is truly a great documentary especially if this is your introduction to minimalism. It doesn't give you a step by step process but it does explain what minimalism it, explores the benefits and where we are currently as a society. It takes a look at the human relationship and how we connect to our things as well as talking about why we are so interested in the very best and newest. It is very inspirational and one of the best quotes I will take away from this is this:
"When you recognize that this life is yours and that it is your one and only and that ceases to be esoteric bullshit, when that is not hippy poetry anymore, when the pragmatism of that statement seeps directly in your bones, and you recognize that this is it. Everything changes." Check it out in the video below!
The Tour: Less is Now
You may listen to them on their podcast, you may have read all their books, you probably have seen them in their documentary, but if you haven't seen them while they are on tour I am telling you that you have to go! The experience is so amazing and they always do a meet and greet at the end of every event. Get your hug, ask them your simple question, or thank them for all that they do.
When I met them you could tell that they had a genuine interest in your life and they really wanted to interact with their fans and help whoever they can. You can't get that kind of feeling from any other media except face to face. It was probably on of the best experiences during my journey. They are only half way done with their tour so go check out theminimalists.com/tour/ to see if they will be near you soon!
Joshua Fields Millburn Writting Class:
I am currently taking Joshua Fields Millburn's class called How To Write Better. Lets just say I really think this will help with everything I do from blogging to my everyday work. I created a sample of my writing before I took the class so that I could compare my work after. I look forward to sharing my results with you and my review.
Make sure to check these guys out. The are the best, most genuine guys you will ever meet. I know you will fall in love with them and their friendship just as I have. They have brought so much value to my life and I can only hope that one day I will be half as helpful as they are.
Their blog: theminimalists.com