It’s been a while but finally here’s a new post from The Good Life category. Today I’d like to recommend a movie to you: The docu-cum-road-movie “Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things”.
As you probably guessed from the name, the movie is about Minimalism. And about how making do with less “stuff” can lead to a richer life. If that’s a topic that resonates with you, you might enjoy this post as well.
But they had it made
The thread that runs through the film is the 10-month promo tour Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus do for their book „Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists“ (no affiliate link). It takes the two of them across several states in the US. In an old car, with little to carry-on, but all the more passion for their message.
Joshua and Ryan are long-time friends. And they share similar difficult childhood themes. Violence, divorce, Ryan’s mum was addicted to drugs, Joshua’s mother turned to alcohol. Both families had financial problems.
Maybe that background spurred Joshua and Ryan on to kick-start their careers and become very successful in the conventional sense. Ryan in telco sales, and Joshua in retail operations. At 27, he’s responsible for 150 stores.
The right priorities?
Then some big cracks shake up Joshua’s life: his mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer and his marriage breaks apart in the same month she dies. That sets him off thinking about the priorities he set in his life. His wardrobe full of expensive shirts is no consolation for having spent too little time with his mom in hindsight.
He starts reducing the “stuff”. Only keeps what is of real use or gives him joy. And he starts to feel better. In fact, he oozes so much happiness that Ryan wants to know what’s going on.
Ryan just had his own epiphany. He’s realized how much his sales role has taken control of his personality. He catches himself training his team for sales pitches to children. It dawns on him that his job doesn’t match his values anymore.
The important things in life
So Ryan lets himself be wowed over by Joshua’s new found passion for minimalism. The two of them start the blog „The Minimalists“. They co-write their first book, Minimalism – Live a Meaningful Life” (no affiliate link), and some years later the book whose promotion tour the film documents.
But the promo tour is only part of the movie. Focusing and reducing can touch different parts of life and lifestyles. The film dives into a wide range of them.
It features people who live in Tiny Houses and architects who design micro apartments. An advertising executive started “Project333”: a challenge to only use 33 items of clothing – shoes, jewelry and accessories included – for a period of 3 months. A former entrepreneur is technically homeless, lives out of his back pack and travels the world. And a journalist and war reporter lets the audience in on how he – to his own surprise – found meditation as a source for happiness.
Psychologists, social science researchers and economists provide some scientific background on the development of our consumer society, on the interplay between money and happiness, but also on the pressure and anxiety caused by our “always-on-culture” and social media.
I’ve watched the movie several times already. And each time I notice something new that inspires my thoughts. What I really like is the extremely positive vibe of the film. Why not schedule it for next weekend and fight the Sunday night blues?
You can watch „Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things in Life“ on Netflix and itunes among others (no affiliate link)
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