Our website turned six years old this month! The above photo was taken on a rooftop in downtown Dayton, Ohio, the same week in December 2010 that we started our blog. Since then, we’ve swapped haircuts, and much has happened over the past half-dozen years.
Yes, we’re looking ahead toward 2017, but first let’s take a glance in the rearview. Here are a few highlights.
2010: Started TheMinimalists.com (how we started our blog)
2011: Published our first book, Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life
2012: Moved from Dayton, Ohio, to Missoula, Montana
2013: Cofounded Asymmetrical, a publishing house for the indie at heart
2014: Embarked on 100-city tour with our memoir, Everything That Remains
2015: Focused on contribution—three wells, two schools, one orphanage
2016: Opened a coffeehouse, and our film was the year’s #1 documentary
2017: Back to basics—writing, podcasting, and a potential tour
But of course, it hasn’t been all ponies and rainbows: we’ve experienced failure, loss, frustration, breakups, heartbreak, arguments, and many struggles along the way.
However, it’s important to note that while life is far from perfect, we’ve traded our old, vapid problems (consumerism, debt, corporatism, discontent) for newer, better problems. We’ve let go of the past to make room for what’s on the horizon.
We never planned on most of what has transpired: we never developed a business strategy or a five-year plan. Doing so would have overwhelmed us, and we likely wouldn’t’ve accomplished much of what we did had we ruminated endlessly about long-term goals.
Instead, we tend to focus on one or two main projects each year—keeping an eye on the horizon, not worrying about what lies beyond it—and everything we do must serve those endeavors. If it doesn’t, then we say “no”—not for the sake of saying “no,” but so we can say “yes” to that which is most important.
It’s important to note that this journey has been a team effort. We certainly couldn’t’ve done it on our own, nor would we want to. “The Minimalists” are more than a couple guys from the Midwest—it takes the chemistry and creativity and shared ideals of the group to create a movement. Our actual team involves more than a dozen people, and nearly 5 million readers. Thank you for being part of that growing group.
Now, what does the future hold? We’re getting back to basics for 2017. Now that our documentary, Minimalism, is on Netflix, we’re once again focused on creating. Our craft table is three-legged: (1) writing, which has been our creative foundation since the beginning; (2) podcasting, which is still relatively new to us, so it helps us grow; and (3) touring: once Joshua’s back pain improves, we’re considering hitting the road once again with a handful of new ideas (subscribe to our email newsletter to be notified of new events).
How about you? What will your life look like a year from now? Six years from now? What priority do you want to dedicate time to next year? What problems are you going to trade for better problems? What must you let go of to make that happen?
Happy New Year,
Joshua & Ryan