Kudos to Ryan Nicodemus & Joshua Fields Millburn, who put the movie together and have been tireless proponents of minimalism for several years. The film couldn’t have come at a better time. I’d been a bit lazy about minimizing and had put the KonMari method on hold. I needed an infusion of inspiration and I got it! Here are the top 5 things I learned at the screening.
5 Things I Learned from the Minimalism Documentary
#1 There is a whole community of minimalists out there!
This showing and many others across the country were SOLD OUT and, although it ended late on a Wednesday night, we had 40-50 people stay for the Q&A session afterwards. Everyone in that room had amazing questions and experiences that they shared freely. It felt refreshing and reaffirming to find myself among so many smart, like-minded people. I feel honored to be part of the minimalist community in DC!
#2 There is something called “Essentialism”
One of the questions asked after the film was, “What’s the difference between Minimalism and Essentialism?” I actually didn’t know the answer, but a woman in the front row did and explained it beautifully. Minimalism is the pursuit of less stuff, while essentialism is the practice of doing less with your time. With essentialism, you focus on doing only the most important things and free up your life to really make an impact. THAT is exactly what I need. I picked up the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown and am about 25% of the way through it. It’s amazing. Greg is the real deal. He’s been there, done that, and promises to set forth a disciplined approach for choosing what’s important and getting rid of the rest of your obligations.
Essentialism is minimalism for your time!
#3 Ryan & Joshua Weren’t Successful Immediately
There’s a really funny sequence in the film that shows Ryan and Joshua sitting by themselves at book signings or in sparsely-populated rooms with a few people skeptically asking questions. Over time, more and more people start to show up, The Minimalists get asked onto major television shows, and the crowds get bigger and bigger. However, it took a looooooong time for them to get to that point. That’s an important lesson for those of us just starting out on a journey. Keep going. Do what you love and think is right and don’t stop, no matter how tough it is in the beginning.
#4 We’re Relatively Silent
It dawned on me that with so many minimalists out there (and/or minimalist-sympathizers), we’re a relatively silent bunch. Yes, there are people like Ryan and Joshua and Joshua Becker and Leo Babauta, but for every outspoken minimalist, there are thousands more. They are doing every day things (going to work, coming home, living in normal neighborhoods, and have a lot of friends that don’t consider themselves minimalists). Becker often writes about rational minimalism. That’s what a lot of us are doing. We haven’t gotten rid of everything, but we are living with less and constantly trying to simplify our lives. I don’t share this blog with all of my friends, but I probably should. Those that know have been incredibly supportive (and even call me out on buying things occasionally, which is helpful!)
#5 Just do it.
I look at people like Ryan and Joshua and I think, wow, they’ve done a lot in the last few years (books, movie, tours, moved to Montana), how am I ever going to catch up? But then I sit back and remind myself that that’s not the point. I don’t need to catch up. At one point in time they decided to make a change in their lives and they never looked back. That’s what we all need to do too.
Go get started.