People often ask us whether there are any “normal” minimalists out there. Meaning: are there any minimalists who make a living in more conventional ways than, say, writing? Are there minimalist teachers, bankers, factory workers, engineers, architects, lawyers, security guards, plumbers, grocery-store clerks?
The short answer is: yes, thousands.
But why don’t we ever hear about their stories?
While this may seem like an irksome paradox at first, it’s really just plain old commonsense: the few minimalists who share their journeys are, by definition, more well-known than the ones who don’t.
Take, for example, our friends Jamar, a teacher in Cincinnati; Adam, a pastor in Tennessee; and Jessica and Matt, an awesome couple in Los Angeles. Although they are minimalists, rarely do these individuals gasconade publicly over their simpler lives. Rather, they use minimalism privately as a tool to focus less on consumption and more on health and relationships, experiences and creativity.
Thus, it is difficult to point to these people as examples of everyday minimalists, because simple living is part of their interior lives. They are private citizens, and so for obvious reasons, rarely do we see public illustrations of their journeys. (By the way, this is why we interviewed dozens of them for our documentary, to shed light on the silent majority.)
At the end of the day, there are many different flavors of minimalism. The minimalists who publicly share their journey—people such as Courtney and Patrick and Allen et al.—present their recipe in hopes that others may glean insight and tweeze out a few ingredients to create their own flavor of minimalism, using their own recipe.
These sharers—bloggers and authors and speakers—are just the tip of the iceberg, though. For every one minimalist who shares her journey with the masses, there are thousands who live their private lives with more meaning but less stuff.
Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.