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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.

3pm Happiness Updates

Happy JFM, photo by Adam Dressler

What are you happy about today?

At my former job, we used send mid-day sales updates every day at 3pm. Nobody enjoyed doing this. Nobody looked forward to sifting through the numbers, adding them up, formatting an email, and sending it out.

We especially didn’t enjoy sending these updates when sales were poor. Nobody wanted to be the person or the store or the region with poor sales at 3pm, because we knew it would earn us a phone call or an email from the boss or the boss’s boss asking why sales were low. And God forbid if you were late sending the sales update; that was an unforgivable sin. It was all very stressful.

One day in January, around 2:50pm, I was sitting next to my boss in his office as the sales numbers started pouring in from my various stores. Knowing sales had been slow lately, he said “I hope we can report something that makes us happy at 3pm.”

I wrote down that sentence as soon as he said it.

He wanted some sales numbers that would make us happy, but I heard something more, I heard something completely different, something profound. You see, regardless of the sales numbers, and regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we have many things to be happy about.

If the sales numbers are down or if life is throwing you a curveball or if it feels like nobody cares about you, it is difficult to find something to be happy about. But you know, deep down, you have so much to be grateful for, you know you have so much to be happy about.

Daily Updates

So for the rest of the month, starting today, I’m going to send a 3pm Happiness Update via Twitter. It will contain one thing that makes me happy or grateful or thankful that day. If you’re not following me on Twitter, you should start. These updates will be on our Facebook page too.

Ryan is going to do the same thing. You can follow him on Twitter too.

We’d love for you to join us. You can respond to our daily happiness updates via Twitter with what you are happy about for the day. It can be about anything: I’m happy I’m healthy. I’m happy I have enough money in my pocket to buy a coffee. I’m happy I woke up today. Whatever you want. We’ll retweet some of our favorites.


I’m going to start with my first update here in this essay. Please comment below with what makes you happy today.

Today I am happy about all the great people I’ve met at SXSW in Austin, TX. I’ve been in Austin for the last week, and I’ve met so many incredible people whom I’m thankful for meeting.

I met and had coffee with Dave Bruno, author of the The 100 Thing Challenge. I really enjoyed talking with Dave about the adaptability of humans. It was very thought provoking, and I will attempt to articulate it in an essay in the future.

I met and had lunch with Sean Ogle, creator of Location 180. What a great guy. He has several amazing travel projects lined up this year. 2011 will be his year.

I met fellow minimalist Karol Gajda who plans to ride every roller coaster in America this year. He is going to be the first person in the world to accomplish this feat. I get sick on roller coasters, but it sounds like he’s going to have a blast.

I met Benny from Fluent In 3 Months. Benny knows eight different languages (he’s working on his ninth now). He is a ball of energy. Benny lives out of a backpack, but he told me he’s not a minimalist because he carries with him a lot of things he doesn’t need (e.g., a stethoscope, 400 earplugs, and a leprechaun’s hat, among other things).

I met Adam Baker from Man vs. Debt. Baker and his wife Courtney and their daughter Milli had a jam-packed meetup at a really cool coffeehouse in downtown Austin. They are currently touring the country in their Man vs. Debt RV.

I met Chase Night of Unbridled Existence. Yes that is his real name. Besides having the coolest name on the internet, Chase helped me navigate my way around Austin as my personal tour guide during my first day there. He is also a very talent writer.

I saw Jeff Sarris from Spyr Media several times. He was there with his wife Marla. I’ve known the two of them since last year, and they are two of the nicest, happiest, and most genuine people I know.

I met a ton of cool people at Chris Guillebeau‘s Art of Non-Conformity meetup.

Dave Bruno and I hosted a minimalism/simplicity meetup this week and a lot of outstanding people showed up. The above mentioned Karol and Benny were there and so was Tyler Tervoorhen of Advanced Riskology and Angela Peterson and Jackie Couglan and way too many other people to mention. All of them were great and engaged and fun to be with, and I’m happy I met all of them.

Your turn. What are you happy about today?