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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers. As featured on: CBS, BBC, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

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We used to be “successful.” At least that’s what everyone said.

People frequently told us that we had things “figured out,” because by age 27 we both worked “great” six-figure jobs, we were climbing the corporate ladder, and we owned all the things that were supposed to make us happy: the big houses, the luxury cars, the fancy material possessions.

But we sure didn’t feel like we had it figured out. And we certainly didn’t feel successful. Instead, we felt overwhelmed by the so-called success in our lives. We were unhealthy, unfulfilled, and our lives lacked meaning. And the long hours we worked and the stuff we bought didn’t fill the void we felt inside.

Unfortunately, we’d subscribed to the ridiculous cultural standards promulgated by our heavily-mediated society. But despite what people said, we weren’t successful. Rather, we were fools. Successfools.

But you needn’t be fooled like we were by the false cultural pressures propagated by the ads on TV, proliferated by the ghosts haunting the cubical farms at your job.

A six-figure job doesn’t make you successful. There’s nothing wrong with earning money, but the money alone will not make you happy.

A shiny new car doesn’t make you successful. There’s nothing wrong with owning things you enjoy, but your material possessions alone will not bring you bliss.

Consider your daily actions. Do you pacify yourself with short-term pleasures, sacrificing true success and happiness and fulfillment for ephemeral pellets of momentary gratification?

Are you truly successful? Are you happy? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you living a meaningful life? You can. And, more importantly, you deserve to.

Choose your daily actions wisely. Meaningless short-term pleasure often equals long-term suffering, while short-term pain can offer you long-term joy and growth and contentment. The choice is yours to make.