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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.


I often feel unworthy. I face this feeling when I write about serious topics. I question whether I’m qualified to write about certain subjects, conjuring a tornado of negative thoughts: I’m not perfect. I’m not a Zen master. I’m not Dr. Nicodemus. I’m not worthy.

I could blame my upbringing for my psychological defect: I wasn’t encouraged to be more than I was; however, I clearly remember being told what I wasn’t. Whenever I catch myself inside this whirlwind of negative thought, I recognize what I’m doing and redirect my self-talk toward a more positive direction. Instead of what I’m not, I focus on what I am:

I am kind.
I am genuine.
I am adding value.
I am worthy.

Our level of self-worth is directly affected by the rules we’ve built for ourselves. If you have a rule for yourself that says, “I am not a baker if I don’t own a bakery,” then guess what: you’re not going to feel worthy enough to call yourself a baker until you open a bakery.

Most of our internal rules have been shaped by years of reinforcement. That doesn’t mean we must live by those rules for the rest of our lives, though. When we catch ourselves feeling unworthy, we should look for the rule we’ve established that makes us feel this way.

Regardless of what we’ve done in our pasts, we still get to decide our own levels of self-worth based on the rules we’ve established. As long as you are living up to those rules, you are worthy.

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