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Beginning The Minimalism//Essentialism Journey

I'm three years deep in my journey towards becoming a holistic essentialist. Many of you might not be familiar with these words (minimalism and essentialism) and what the represent to millions around the world. This article will dive head first into this trending lifestyle and all the benefits it offers.

The minimalist movement gained a ton of steam when the self proclaimed "The Minimalists" Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus kicked off their new life by quitting their day jobs and literally creating all of the material behind the minimalist movement. Both were, grinding at a six figure day job, and purchasing all of the things society tells us we should own. But over time both came to realize that these material objects don't leave you any more fulfilled in life, despite the guarantees. One day, they both quit everything and became the evangilists we know today.

"At first glance, people might think the point of minimalism is only to get rid of material possessions: Eliminating. Jettisoning. Extracting. Detaching. Decluttering. Paring down. Letting go. But that’s a mistake. True, removing the excess is an important part of the recipe—but it’s just one ingredient. If we’re concerned solely with the stuff, we’re missing the larger point." [1] Minimalism is really about keeping the things that fulfill your life, in all aspects. This means that the movement means something different to each and every person who decides to go down this road. "Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t things at all." [1]

I absolutely love the ideas that these two were sharing, I was living a similar lifestyle, but never feeling fulfilled by the material objects I would impulsively buy while shopping. I started by watching the Minimalism documentary produced by Matt D'Avella, featuring Ryan and Joshua. My spark was ignited and I found the passion to make a real change in my life. I've always been over-analytical when it comes to purchases, but now this process has a purpose, and a new goal. I now ask myself before every purchase, how will this item fullfill my goals, and is the purchase bringing true value to my life. Is the souvenir t-shirt really worth buying when I have 3 at home? Will the latest macbook really make an impact for me? While I'm totally guilty of being on the bleeding edge of technology, these items really bring me joy. They might even "spark joy" which is a whole other subject. If you haven't heard of Marie Kondo, give her a google.

Like I said, this is one huge work in progress. I don't quite advocate for instantly donating your entire life while you rebuild, but instead, carefully examining how you interact with everything you own. Some would say I have strayed the path from true minimalism, which I instantly refute, simply beacuse… to each his own.

All of this research and self reflection lead me to one of the most impactful books in my life. Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. "Essentialism is the art of discerning between external noise and internal voice. It’s not a task and time management tactical list. It’s more than that. It’s a mindset—a way of life. Unfortunately we live in a world where it’s considered a positive thing to take on more and more, thinking that the end result will be greater success[…] […]Work. Work more. Say yes to everything. We recognize there’s so much we have to do, so we try to do it all. Greg says, “There’s a word for trying to do everything all the time. Madness!"[2]

I wouldn't go as far as to say, essentialism is a watered down version of minimalism, but more of a category, a supporting character if you will. Essentialism resonated much louder in my mind and that is ultimately what I would consider myself. None of this process is easy, but taking the time to self reflect has left me feeling incredibly fulfilled…all part of the goal of this entire process for me. If I were to simply the entire book's message in one phrase it would be: Always examine the tradeoffs, and make sure everything you do has meaning.

"Practice makes perfect:

Remove the impulse to just say yes—remember that being impetuous can create unhealthy/non-essentialist decisions.

Learn the phrase, “Let me get back to you.” Being useful does not require an immediate answer." [2]

I want to end by throwing a barrage of items that you can sort through if you are interested in hearing from the experts themselves.

1. Minimalism Documentary - Netflix ++ the sequel too, amazing stuff

2. Essentialism, Book by Greg McKeown

3. I Will Teach You to be Rich, Book by Ramit Sethi

4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Book By Marie Kondo

5. Matt D'Avella's Youtube Channel

6. The More of Less, Book by Joshua Becker




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