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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

Why 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 very literally a decision between life and death, 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 minimalism.

We certainly were.

At first we dismissed minimalism as some sort of extreme fad, as some sort of mid-life (or quarter-life) crisis thing for people on the fringe of society. It seemed crazy and 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 or more 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. You don’t feel like you’re living a meaningful life. 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 bought at paid for (or perhaps are still paying for via monthly credit card statements) 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?

What is important in our lives? We believe it’s:

  • Health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)
  • Relationships
  • Pursing your passions
  • Personal growth
  • Contribution beyond yourself
  • Freedom (spending your time how you chose to spend it)

What else is important to you? We bet it’s not a bunch of physical stuff, we bet it’s not some T-shirt or some gadget or some material possession.

Take the Red Pill

We apologize if this all sounds preachy or overly didactic, it’s not meant to be. We are 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, and we discovered an utterly new life, one in which we wake up every day excited to live, one in which we are passionate and fulfilled and happy and free.

If you already took the red pill awhile ago—and you’re already taking your journey into minimalism—then congratulations, we applaud your efforts, and we support your decision. But if you’re standing there, at nightmare’s ragged edge, wondering if minimalism is for you, we want you to ask yourself one question…

Do I want to live a more meaningful life?

If the answer is yes, then we encourage you to take the red pill, embrace minimalism, and stick around. We’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.