An Alternative Outlook
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, a touching documentary of life out on the road with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they promote their book and the philosophy of minimalism. I’ve had the pleasure of following their blog for some time now, as it syncs wonderfully with the idea of sustainability and the need to reduce our environmental impact, getting the most out of what we spend our precious time and money on. The idea is to focus on relationships and experiences, and less on the the material. Many in the world today equate success and satisfaction with material possessions, particularly in the United States where consumerism has become a source of patriotism. The Minimalists seek to offer Americans, and indeed the world at large, a reminder of what is truly valuable and the consideration of a possible alternative lifestyle where consumption is not the driver.
The authors share their view in a friendly and empathetic way. They do not attempt to pass judgement on those who obtain pleasure out of their possessions, rather they promote the notion of conscious consumerism. This means buying and keeping only what you love, and limiting your purchases to what gives you joy and satisfaction. Recalibrate the needs. Do not simply own things because they’re on sale, becuase you might need it “in case,” or because you need to keep up with he latest version of things. The more things you own, the more space you need, the more maintenance it requires, and therefore the more of your precious life you need to invest in it. Both in the hours worked to buy such things as well as the time cleaning, managing, and organizing all those things until the things that you own take up a significant part of your life.
The documentary goes on to provide examples of people who have adopted this alternative lifestyle. Those who have chosen to live in smaller spaces, or even one case of a global traveler whose entire worldly belongings fit into two bags. To be sure, there is a minimum that is required to survive and thrive, and they are not advocating that everyone become homeless, jobless nomads. Undoubtedly, those with very little may desperately need more. Rather, they are highlighting the idea that more isn’t always better. That even those who can afford more things don’t necessarily become happier as a result, and that we should consequently learn from those who have climbed the corporate/social ladders of the world to learn from their wisdom and experience. Hopefully it’ll provide you some inspiration, and perhaps some reflection on to your own habits. Enjoy!!