Why You Don’t Need What You Want
“They’re not ascetic monomaniacs or highbrow designers obsessed with polished concrete and clean utilitarian lines.
They’re ordinary families and couples who became overwhelmed with modern hyper-consumerism and have embarked on a journey towards simplicity.
And they are not alone. With thousands worldwide on a similar journey, they form part of a community which not only defines itself by what they don’t have but also by what they have gained by subtraction…
Although the term “minimalism” was originally used to describe a branch modernist Western art, it was adapted to describe anything stripped back to its bare essentials.
Now, with that definition in mind, it’s become a reaction to a 21st century free market economy and the downward numbing pressure that it has placed on individual consumers. It’s created a lifestyle movement that is rapidly gaining acceptance and popularity in the Western world.
The are many buzzwords in the spectrum of minimalist lifestyles. There’s the “nomadic lifestyle” – adventurers who seek to have no-fixed-address on an endless journey. They tend to come from high-income, high stress careers (which might explain how they can fund their endless summers)…
There’s the “slow your home, “de-clutter your home” or “spring clean” communities who are stereotypically empty nesters or stay at home mums who have become overwhelmed with the junk of modern life.
“Zen Habits”, the wildly successful blog and books by San Francisco father of six, Leo Babauta, began the interest with his tips in “simplicity, health and fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.”
Then there’s the “minimalists”, who sit somewhere in the middle of the continuum, who mostly begin with the “things” in their lives but discovering a philosophical approach beyond that lies beyond.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus call themselves “The Minimalists”. They run a successful website read by millions and have written books, perform speaking tours and have even made a documentary about minimalism culture. It’s sort of like a “how to” blog, written by two attractive young guys who push minimalism away from “mummy blogging” about household cleaning and into the realm of streamlined life.
“Quite often people will come up to us after our events and they will say it’s great to see a couple of guys out here spreading Jesus’ message or they’ll say it’s great to a couple of Buddhists out on the road sharing these Buddhist principles, or (the thinking of) stoic philosophers like Seneca or Marcus Aurelius,” says Joshua.
“Or these different people who really questioned the things they brought into their lives – but think it’s ultimately not about depriving ourselves the things that we have, it’s much more about attenuating the desire for owning more stuff as if those things are going to make us happy.”
One of their techniques is called a “packing party” where you box up every single item in your life and only remove the items you need as you need them. Eventually, most find that 80 per cent of their possessions stay that way after six months and can be donated to charity or sold.
“What we were seeing a lot of is people asking the same questions, people from Occupy Wall Street and CEOs from major corporations asking the same question of how do I live a more meaningful life,” Ryan says.”
From: Andy Park “Minimalism: Why you don’t need what you want” Full text available on-line at: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/09/comment-minimalism-why-you-dont-need-what-you-want
The SBS program on “The Feed”, originally shown on 9 October 2014, is current available on-line at: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/339424323711/minimalists-living-with-less-the-feed
For The Minimalists, see: http://www.theminimalists.com/
For, Joshua Fields Millburn, see: http://joshuafieldsmillburn.com/
Leo Babauta The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life Hachette Books, 2009
“According to Babauta (Zen to Done), employing the power of less will propel readers from chaos to blissful and productive minimalism. Learning to set limitations, such as penning a three-item Most Important Task list every day and restricting e-mails to five lines, is a cornerstone for the authors plan for increased simplicity and satisfaction. With new boundaries in place, readers can discover flow, become wholly absorbed in tasks and live the paradox of doing less and achieving more.”
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Asymmetrical Press, 2011
“Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s most important things–which actually aren’t things at all.
At age 30, best friends Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus walked away from their six-figure corporate careers, jettisoned most of their material possessions, and started focusing on what’s truly important.
In their debut book, Joshua and Ryan, authors of the popular website TheMinimalists.com, explore their troubled pasts and descent into depression. Though they had achieved the American Dream, they worked ridiculous hours, wastefully spent money, and lived paycheck to paycheck. Instead of discovering their passions, they pacified themselves with ephemeral indulgences–which only led to more debt, depression, and discontent.
After a pair of life-changing events, Joshua and Ryan discovered minimalism, allowing them to eliminate their excess material things so they could focus on life’s most important “things”: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”