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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.

Take the Red Pill: Embrace Minimalism

I know why you’re here. I know what you’ve been doing, why you hardly sleep, and why night after night you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did … The answer is out there, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

Trinity, The Matrix

You Are Here

Yes, we know why you’re here. You want to live a more meaningful life, one that’s filled with happiness and passion and freedom. And then you discovered minimalism, or minimalism discovered you, as it were.

And now you are here.

And you have a decision to make.

And it’s not one to take lightly.

That decision is between consciousness and comatose, between living a meaningful life or droning through life dead inside, oblivious the potential of the world around you, oblivious to the potential inside you.

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

—Morpheus, The Matrix

The Message

OK, so we must apologize for the gratuitous use of Matrix references above, but they felt like apt pop-culture references to convey an important message.

That message? Minimalism isn’t easy. At least not at first.

At first minimalism can be terrifying. You were probably terrified—or at least extremely skeptical—the first time you heard about it, right.

We certainly were.

At first we dismissed minimalism as an extreme fad, as some sort of mid-life crisis thing for people on the fringe of society. It seemed crazy, counterintuitive, and a bit silly—and it certainly wasn’t for us.

After all, why would anyone want to get rid of most of their stuff? We work so hard—often 60 hours per week—to get all this stuff. So why would we throw it away? That stuff is so important to us because we’ve spent all our time accumulating it.

And yet with all that stuff you know that you are not happy. And that’s why you are here.

So Much More

You’re here because you believe—at least on some level—that there is more to life than consumption, you believe that there is more to life than stuff.

All that stuff you paid for (or perhaps are still paying) are sunk costs. At least that’s the economic term. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you spent on all that stuff. Instead, you must realize that even though you paid for all those things, they are weighing you down physically, mentally, and especially emotionally. We give so much meaning to things that don’t really mean anything at all.

Those things are not important.

What’s important in your life is actually far more simple, and yet vastly more complex.

And thus the old cliche holds true: life’s most important things are, in fact, free.

What’s Important?

We believe it’s:

  • Health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)
  • Relationships
  • Cultivating your passions
  • Personal growth
  • Contribution
  • Freedom

What else is important to you? We bet it’s not a bunch of material items; we bet it’s not a teeshirt or gadget or shiny new widget.

Take the Red Pill

We apologize if this all sounds didactic—it’s not meant to be. We’re not attempting to preach to you; we have no right to do so. We are just like you, or—if you are at the precipice, contemplating whether or not minimalism is right for you—then we were just like you (we just happened to stumble onto minimalism a little sooner). Then we took the proverbial red pill and an entire new world opened up for us: we discovered a new life—a simple life.

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