It’s no secret that we live in a world of consumption. But just how much do you consume, and how much does this constant-need for the newer-better-thing, consume you? Worse even, could these impulse purchases actually be having an effect on your happiness in this world? It wasn’t until we watched Netflix’s Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things that we started to realise just what impact our lifestyle may be having on us.
If you’ve never heard of it, this must-watch documentary follows Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka “The Minimalists,” and shines a light on the insanity of trying to buy happiness. So what is minimalism all about? The film’s director, Matt D’Avella has shared why it is so much more than a buzzword. Here’s why learning to live with less could change the way you see the world:
What is minimalism?
“Minimalism is the active intention of paring down so you can focus on what matters in life,” explains D’Avella, who learned about the movement in 2010 when he met Millburn and Nicodemus online. The two have amassed a huge following with their simple message that less really is more. According to their website, they’ve spurred over 20 million people to rethink the value they place in possessions.
Unlike the zero waste movement, D’Avella says minimalism focuses on happiness. “The two definitely overlap, but I think your intentions are different. Zero waste is born from the belief that consuming less makes the world a better place while the motivation for minimalism comes from feeling overwhelmed and discontent,” he says. “We’ve been sold a story that we have to have all these things in order to be successful and it’s not exactly true.”
What’s one way to try it today?
So can you practice minimalism without abstaining from online shopping altogether? According to D’Avella, editing your closet is a start, but the first step has nothing to do with possessions. “I think the most important thing you can do is ask questions. When we were interviewing people for the documentary, we found that was the most important part of the process. Question what you want, what matters to you most, and what your ideal life to looks like,” he says. “People ignore these questions because they’re actually really difficult to answer. But if you’re honest with yourself and think about what’s going to bring you real fulfillment and joy, that’s a start.”
LESSONS FROM MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS
- People are spending money faster than they are earning it
- People are trying to buy happiness
- We live in an illusion that our life should be perfect
- The American dream is not for everybody
- You can’t control making more money but you can control spending less
- There’s more to life than bills, money, and work
- Check out project 333 to live with fewer clothes
- Meditation is about finding well being in the present moment
- We are always distracted by things like phones etc, and meditation is an antidote to these distractions
- Human identity should be defined by what one does and not what one owns
- We think we need those things because we’ve been told we needed them by society
- Minimalism is about questing for a life that is good for yourself and the people around you
- When you get something new you should ask yourself: is this adding value to my life?
- Love people and use things, because the opposite never works
Image credit: Ashley Lauren Design Studio
For those who have seen it, what do you think of this documentary? And what are your tips for achieving minimalism?