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 they share their own struggles and insights with adopting minimalism. For The Minimalists, discovering this lifestyle was a revelation and it brought significant value to their lives. They are now looking to reach out to others and help them on their own journeys of reprioritization. In that regard, minimalism and sustainability are a perfect fit! Indeed, minimalism syncs wonderfully with the concept of sustainability and the need to reduce our environmental impact, while getting the most out of what we do spend our precious time and money on.
There are a number of ways we can become more sustainably motivated, and a greater understanding of minimalism can help us to get there. 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.
This philosophy is meant to help us recalibrate our needs. Not to own things simply because there was a sale, or because you might need it “in case.” They remind us that in most cases we probably don’t need to keep up with the latest version of things. As was also echoed in Fight Club, 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 these items as well as the time cleaning, managing, and organizing all those things, until the things that you own eventually take up a significant part of your life.
Tyler Durden Wisdom
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.
The minimalists highlight the fallacy behind the notion that more is always better. 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, and learn from their wisdom and experience. Minimalism can and does contribute towards sustainable behavior. Hopefully it’ll provide you some inspiration, and perhaps some reflection on to your own habits. Enjoy!!