“Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix. Ever watched it? Well if you haven’t I’d give it a whirl. It essentially covers two American chaps, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus who have been socialised into living the American Dream of material wealth, possessions and climbing the corporate ladder. It follows them on their book tour for “Everything That Remains: A Memoir” throughout the US with them spreading the word of their newly found happiness from simply taking a minimalist approach to life.
Joshua and Ryan’s concept lies around having only what you truly need and not consuming for the sake of consuming. Both illustrate this by simply traveling for 10 months of their book tour with a small bag (note, not suitcase), with only a number of possessions. They came to the realisation of this concept after reaching the ‘American Dream’ in their late twenties and recognising that something still wasn’t quite all there even though they had it all. And so, the Minimalists were born.
Whilst watching the documentary it made me consider what I had in my life. They spoke a lot about the importance of owning possessions, the value that this brought under conventional socialisation. I considered my current lifestyle. Having recently relocated from London to Vancouver with merely a backpack in tow to settle in a new unknown city (and a carry on case, I’ll admit) to start a new job. Since I landed in Vancouver, I have only bought four new items: a handbag (because the strap broke on my existing one), a blazer (for work), work shoes (which I wear every day to work) and a summer dress. Ok, so the last one I probably didn’t need, but after three months in a new country and limited clothing options, I’d say that was pretty darn good for a 26 year old female.
This got me thinking, that perhaps I am already living a form of a minimalist lifestyle. This has been in part because I have a) taken a pay cut in relocating over here, and thus have had to budget and had far less disposable income and b) Vancouver in very expensive to live.
Since relocating, I have taken to planning meals and taking in food to work (which I never did back in London), I’ve lost quite a bit of weight (without paying a gym membership!) by taking advantage of exercising in the great outdoors and by planning meals, rather than buying whatever is available. I no longer drink three times a week (to excess) and overall I think my viewpoint on life is starting to alter.
I went into sales originally as a career because the ideal was to create wealth and success in a corporate world. I was a confident, university educated individual with the corporate world ahead of me. That was the dream right?
Whilst yes, I still work in sales, it has made me consider what motivates me to make this money at work. They say that money can buy you happiness, but a study has demonstrated that happiness plateaus at $70,000 a year. If you earn more than that, say $120,000 you’ll still stay just as happy as at $70,000.
Last year, I visited France four times, Romania, New York, Ibiza and Berlin. I went abroad 8 times whilst maintaining a 9-5 job in recruitment. For me, it would appear I do believe money brings you a certain amount of happiness by allowing me to have experiences and broadening my mind.
Whilst I still work in a “traditional American dream” style of career working in sales, it allows me to achieve what I hope to experience by allowing me to travel to destinations I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.
Does anyone else work in a “corporate environment” in sales in order to achieve life fulfilment? I’d be keen to hear from you. And, ironically, I have only realised that what has been motivating me at work has been to save for life fulfilment opportunities (traveling) from watching “Minimalists” and writing this article… Thanks Joshua and Ryan, you’re helping me to figure my life out. Who’d have thought a night in with Netflix would achieve that eh?