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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.

The Solution Is the Problem

Most people want “solutions”
because they’re unwilling to dig down
to the root of the problem.
The real problem.

So-called solutions are but an opiate.

Most how-to lists,
step-by-step instructions,
and habit-change remedies
are drugs that mask the symptoms,
yet they compound the problem in the long run.

What if, instead of numbing the pain, we sidestepped the solutions and scrutinized the problem itself?

If your desk chair is aflame,
reading the Fire Safety Manual won’t save you.
The problem isn’t a lack of instructions—
the problem is your posterior is on fire.

If you own too much stuff,
watching a “67 decluttering steps” video won’t help.
The problem isn’t a shortage of decluttering tips—
the problem is the attachment to stuff.

If you want to find tranquility,
pondering the “7 habits of effective people” won’t bring you peace.
The problem isn’t your “bad” habits—
the problem is thinking “good” habits will trigger joy.

Solutions are seductive,
but they rarely solve anything
because chasing a “fix” removes our attention from the problem.

It is only when we understand the fundamental nature of the problem that it is eradicated.

If you understand the why,
the how takes care of itself.