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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Day 9 | Growth

The Minimalists, photo by Adam Dressler

If you’re not growing, you’re dying. This might sound like a platitude, but it’s the truth.

Visualize a plant.
More specifically—a fruit.
A fruit you enjoy.
Let’s say it’s an apple.
When an apple is on the tree, it’s growing.
But once it’s picked, it starts to die.

This isn’t always apparent, though.

When you see an apple at your local market,
you don’t think of it as a dying thing.
Ostensibly, it is “ripe.”
Which makes you think it’s in its ideal state.
But this isn’t true.
It has stopped growing.
It is dying.

As a person, you are no different.

Things might look great on your surface.
They did for us: nice cars, houses, salaries.
But we were dying on the inside.
Rotting when we appeared ripe.
Unsatisfied with life.
A life without meaning.

What does this have to do with minimalism?

And yet, in a broader sense—everything.

Why did we get rid of our excess stuff?
To reclaim our time.
To regain control of our finances.
To live more meaningful lives.
To contribute to others.

And—to grow.

Like the apple,
if we are not growing,
we are dying.

Not just in the physical sense.
We are dying.

We removed the excess things,
because they are not important.
The excess gets in the way,
keeps us from growing.
And if you want to feel alive,
you must grow.

But growth isn’t always easy.
Sometimes the most growth comes from
the most difficult tasks.

What have you wanted to do for the longest time, but haven’t been able to accomplish because you haven’t had the time or resources?

Eat more healthfully?
Quit smoking?
Run a marathon?
Write a novel?
Quit your soul-crushing job?
Travel around the world?
Start a blog?

You can.
You have permission to do something fulfilling with your life.

Ryan unpacked only a few articles of clothing on Day 9, but that’s it: the boxes in his second living room—all those things that were keeping him from growing—are now collecting dust.

“Growth” is Day 9 of Our 21-Day Journey into Minimalism. Move on to Day 10. Read Ryan’s journal entries from this entire journey in Everything That Remains. You can also subscribe to The Minimalists via email.