Download our free ebook: 16 Rules for Living with Less
The Minimalists The Minimalists
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.

Subtraction

We have too much.
Too much stuff.
Too much stress.
Too many obligations.

Yet we don’t have enough.
Not enough time.
Not enough money.
Not enough energy.

Looks like we’ve stockpiled the “wrong” things,
and that’s why we don’t have enough of the “right” things.
Of course, “right” and “wrong” are just moralizing constructs.
There are no right or wrong material possessions.
The reality is we have too many things that increase our misery.
As a result, we lack composure, contentment, calmness.

Soaking in suffering, we glimpse occasional moments of happiness.
We attempt to reprise those moments by acquiring new possessions.
We try to “fix” the misery by gathering objects that make us happy.

We act as if it’s an inventory problem.
As if that Instagrammable couch or that area rug will “spark joy.”
As if that indoor planter or that vertical bookcase will complete us.
As if that new shirt or those skinny jeans will make us anew.

Subtract the “wrong” things;
add the “right” things.
That’s the key, right?

Yes, that’s the key to anxiety, restlessness, and dissatisfaction.

We cannot consume our way out of discontent.
Well, we can—but only for a fleeting moment.
It’s not unlike a drug addict’s high.
We can purchase pleasure,
but, in doing so, we also purchase future pain.
An addict is never “fixed” after getting his “fix.”
For after that spark of pleasure, misery always awaits.
There are no exceptions—
pleasure and misery are two sides of the same coin.

We’ll never have all the right things,
because there are no “right” things.
That’s the lie we’ve been sold by advertisers
and by confused “influencers” who don’t know any better.

Yes, some objects may enhance our lives,
but only after we subtract the attachment that gets in the way.

Peace cannot be packaged and placed on a conveyor belt.
It is buried beneath the hoard we’ve added to our lives.

The path to misery is cobbled with addition.
The path to peace is uncovered with subtraction.