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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 documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.

A Million Views

Last year, in 2014, we took to the TED stage to talk about living a rich life with less stuff. Over the past year that TEDx Talk has been viewed by more than a million people.

And to think we almost didn’t do it: perched on the fence of indecision, we nearly said no when we were initially approached since we were gearing up for a year-long tour for our memoir, Everything That Remains. But we made it work, and we’re glad we did because it presented us with two important lessons:

The ripples of shared value. Life actions aren’t a set of dominos: one action doesn’t lead to a direct series of sequential events. Rather, life is a body of water: once you’ve created something and tossed it into the world, it’s impossible to know how far the ripples will undulate. Sometimes the wavelets dissipate quickly; other times the waves travel a great distance, far beyond any expectation—like with this TEDx Talk.

The number is arbitrary. True, a million views is a boatload, but the number itself is not the point—what’s exciting is our simple-living message is resonating with many people who subsequently share the video with their friends and family. Not everyone who’s seen our Talk found the same amount of value: some watch a few minutes and realize it’s not for them; others watch attentively, find value, and share it with the world around them—thus furthering the ripples. The rippling—that’s the point; the numbers simply help the water course further from the initial impact.

If we decide to create more, and consume less, the world around us will transform through a tidal wave of purpose. So thank you for sharing our message with the people you love: Y’all’re the beautiful ripples that keep this movement going. You are the point.

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