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Getting started: The Minimalists

The two people behind the name “The Minimalists” are Joshua Field Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. I would say that they’ve managed to establish themselves as the most vocal supporters of minimalism online, and offline mostly in USA, and have definitely helped a lot of people find the necessary impulse to reconsider why and how they approach life.

Joshua and Ryan seem like very approachable good fellows with whom you might want to sit, have a beer and get your head turned 180 degrees if their life stories are something you haven’t heard of. Stepping out of corporate salary-chasing careers to reconsider what’s important in life is the main highlight of their personal journey to establish the “minimalist lifestyle” and to begin to produce content and promote this way of living. As I also left my overly comforting corporate lifestyle in the middle of my 20s, I found it really inspiring how this step had triggered two friends to actually pack and label their way of minimalist discovery.

With The Minimalists you can enjoy a lot of very well curated content about how to assess your current habits and consumer behaviour. To a large extent, for many of us, consumer behaviour equals habits and equals overall life orientation and goal setting. For many people creating a family is somewhat the ultimate goal (not for me, personally), but apart from that we usually focus entirely on the material possessions and their accumulation. The Minimalists can trigger you to ask yourself the right questions. Say, you want to buy a house. So your choice goes: well, if I would be taking a mortgage, why not buy something bigger, I’m going to pay all my life anyway. And then the wheel turns, you are lucky and you get approved for an oversized house, you purchase it happily and then you attempt to fill it with all kinds of stuff that you don’t necessarily need. Further, you begin accumulating and spending on the maintenance of all those things, thus your life gets consumed by your own consumption. The Minimalists would ask you: do you really need that big house? Do you really need to fill it in with all those things? What value would that add to your life?

The story of The Minimalists in the highly influential and impressive film "Minimalism: A documentary about the important things" -

this could be your perfect start with minimalism (after you finish this post, of course)

This is what I like about Joshua and Ryan – they don’t preach and don’t impose what they think. Through their endless discussions and quarrels you actually get provoked to ask yourself some questions and, consequently, to potentially understand whether minimalism is something that you would consider. For me, finding The Minimalists was a very relieving discovery as I did not have too many people around me doing what I did – leaving the comfort of a well-paid job in my twenties to pursue idealistic goals. I also grew up under severe material deprivation, thus working is a way of life for me. My step towards discovering everything else than money-making was the most insecure thing I have ever done, yet, I am very happy with my choice. So, in that context, minimalism is highly appealing – it gives you space. You can allow yourself not to acquire items, you can breathe through the emptier space that you leave for yourself and you can eventually focus on things that matter more, whatever they are for you. Joshua and Ryan could be your guides in this journey or to at least provoke you to think and, eventually, maybe at least clean up your closet of tons of unnecessary clothes you haven’t worn in ages.

Minimalism as philosophy and its relevance to different aspects of life is the overarching framework under which The Minimalists produce content. You can find out more on their website, their podcast, YouTube, and their Instagram.

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