Rich Life with less? the movement started by the minimalist Joshua Fields Millburns

Have you heard of Joshua Fields Millburns? Me neither. That was before I started becoming unhappy with more and more stuff.

Many years ago, I was like everyone else. I was the perfect citizen. i have done the perfect thing, I studied hard, obtained my master degree, got a great job and job title. I was climbing the corporate ladder. I bought two properties before thirty years old. And with that I bought a lot of “stuff”. I have plans to be promoted, salary increment, buy the house and be set in life.

Health, relationships, values and satisfaction in life were not on my list. I was still buying a lot of things, to fill up my life. Because I was surrounded by malls and advertisements. I never thought of anything wrong with it.

I worked hard, and making good money. I thought $100,000 would make me happy. I was spending more every time I get more money. I felt overwhelmed.

And finally came the time for me to move apartment. I was so paralyzed by the things I owned, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t pack, I couldn’t discard any of my stuff. I realized my stuff have controlled me. I have strong attachment to my things, more than the people, my values, my health and it is almost an addiction I don’t know.

Then one day, I stumbled upon The Minimalist. I was so shocked they got rid of their stuff. I started following Joshua Field Millburns and his netflix show. I also read the book Marie Kondo. It helped me detox my life, my intention to consume.

In his interview, Joshua Field Millburns said that – Like many Americans, he too climbed the corporate ladder. He had a larger and larger salary. He had many credit cards, he was consuming more, to acquire more material trophies. He tried to pacify the void in his life, and buy more stuff. Everytime he buys something, it gives him a burst of pleasure. He said his health is important to him, but he was not spending time on his health. He wasn’t working out. He said his relationship was important to him, but he was not spending time with his wife. He was in his office or out with his tertiary relationships, co-workers, colleague most of the time. He was not allocating time to spend it with the closest people in his life. He continued to climb the corporate ladder. He has a whole plan laid out for himself, to be “set in life”. He thought more money, he would be happy. It was never enough. By the time he had 6 figure salary, he was more in debt.

He felt overwhelmed. He did what every American did, he accumulated more stuff hoping to fill the void. Unfortunately, it didn’t fill the void. In fact the stuff widen the void. He was overwhelmed.

He saw his colleague has his first heart attack at age 30. He told himself, he wouldn’t be the same. But if you follow the recipe you are going get the same pie they baked. He said to himself, he need to make some changes to his life, but he didn’t know how.

Until his mother died, and his wife left him all in the same one. He realized he was focused on the trophies of life. “Look at me, I have two Lexus, a house…I am successful” The problem is I am not broadly successful.

“There is nothing wrong with consumption. The problem is that we are sold this thing on compulsory consumption. For example when you meet someone, you get asked “What do you do”. It is a question about how much you make, what’s your social status, and what’s that compare to me. “

Instead of that, you can say “What are you passionate about?” It makes the conversation richer. Sometimes this can also be your vocation.

“We all have to earn a living. I was so focused on accumulating stuff, my whole life was focused on that identity.”

“I was spending more and more. I was full on consumer debt. Soon, credit card purchases, mortgages were adding up. Average American has 4 credit cards. 1 in 10 Americans has 10 credit cards that are active.”

What actually adds value to your life? What material possession augment your life, and make it better. By watering it down, to the less, it gave him perspective. His book “Everything that remains”.

Joshua Fields Millburns found that holding on to less stuff, gave him more clarity, more space. And that space was able to allow him more focus.

Over the course of 30 days, he let go of one item a day.

Even though he was a well organized hoarder, he manage this experiment of getting rid of 30 items. over 30 days, and it gain momentum.

Read about Joshua Field Millburns, he did an experiment where he switched off his internet, where he is writing. He is writing. He was forced to be with your thoughts and be with people. He said the whole experiment was like “removing your pacifiers”

He also spoke of this book ” Deep Work”. How have internet changed your level of concentration?