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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.

You Are What You Desire

Every whole person has wants, cravings, aspirations. We all desire something. We don’t, however, all have the same desires.

Some of us long to create something meaningful, to make a difference in the world, to eschew the so-called American Dream in favor of something better, something more deliberate, an experience-driven life of intentionality instead of a life pushed toward the wrong side of the consumption continuum.

On the other hand, some of us watch the luminous box flicking in our living rooms and yearn for the material things in its advertisements—the things that bring us stress and discontent and often keep us tied to a particular income, which keeps us tied to jobs we don’t love (or worse, jobs we hate), all so we can obtain the shiny objects projected on the glowing rectangle.

In truth, most of us desire both: we desire the meaningful experiences and the stuff. But usually the latter gets in the way of the former. That is, too often our material desires get in the way of a more meaningful life. After all, we are what we desire.

Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.