What are we trying to do?


The Minimalists are Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus – the poster children of a movement called minimalism – that they offer as a tool to find freedom.

The ideas behind it are simple – own less stuff. Have less, but better. And, dovetailing with Marie Kondo, only keep the things in your life that spark joy.

The interesting thing about minimalism, when you search for it, is that there are people documenting how they are experimenting with it, and people who seem vehemently opposed to it – calling it an oppressive gospel or another form of consumerism.

Focusing on stuff, however, is not the point.

The point is found in the word freedom.

Minimalism is a way to be free of being attached to things. As someone said, first you own things and then things own you.

Take a new car, for example. It’s nice having something new – but is it also nice having the fear that it will get scratched or the alloys will get dented.

But for many people, freedom means being able to drive in a car they love or live in a home that is homely rather than a house.

So, is it possible to test of whether one is free or not? Are we doing what we want to do, or are we living out a life someone else has decided for us?

There are four things we should perhaps look at.

The first is to reflect on our choices. How did we get here – and what choices did we make along the way.

After all, choices got us here, and choices will get us out as well.

The second is to look at our actions – what are we doing every day? Where does the time go? What are we planning to do?

The third is to see if we are learning. Do we have ten years of experience or one year repeated ten times.

And finally – are we happy being who we are – are we at peace with ourselves?

These four choices map onto quite ancient philosophies – we spend our times choosing, acting, learning – and in so doing create what we are.

Less stuff – more stuff – does that really matter?

Less free – more free – how much more does that matter?

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