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Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and Netflix films. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, BBC, and NPR.

Haunted by Desire

The ghosts of desperation, lust, and envy hide in the shadow of our yearning: be it money, material possessions, or accolades, we are haunted by our aspirations.

Covet that shiny new truck, that next big promotion, that beautiful man or woman, and you will feel unspeakable pain until it, he, or she is yours. When your desire is met, however, your flame is not extinguished—you’re filled with new desires. It’s a never-ending cycle.

The key, then, is to aspire toward something worthwhile. Instead of jonesing for things, we must pursue those which are without definitive milestones: growth, contribution, love.

These qualities are self-fulfilling: seek growth and you will grow, endeavor to give to others and you will contribute, love others and your cup will overflow.

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