12 Jan 2017

Life with less

From Summer Times, 10:10 am on 12 January 2017

Following the great Christmas splurge - the big spendup on ‘stuff’ - minimalist Ryan Nicodemus has some tips for how we can get more out of less.

Ryan Nicodemus

Ryan Nicodemus Photo: Supplied

Nicodemus, along with Joshua Fields Millburn, are The Minimalists. With their website, books, podcast and even a documentary they help people de-clutter their lives to make room for the things that really matter.

He told Summer Days with Jesse Mulligan that minimalism is really appealing to people because consumer culture is out of control.

He says as a young man he associated earning a good living with achieving happiness and he pursued “that American dream of consuming as much as I could whenever I could”.

But instead of being happy, by the time he was in his late 20s we was depressed, working up to 80 hours a week and spending his spare time drinking and taking drugs.

“And there I was at 28, I’m like wow, here I am with everything I ever wanted and I’m miserable. I really don’t know what to do.”

He noticed that his friend Joshua Fields Millburn - who Nicodemus worked with in the corporate sector – had a different approach to life. He seemed to be happy, and he introduced Nicodemus to the philosophy, and some practitioners, of minimalism.

“Here are some people who are living extremely different lives but they seem really, really happy, they seem like they are living meaningful lives, and to be honest, they seemed happier than the so-called rich people I worked with in the corporate world.”

Everything that remains

Nicodemus says first and foremost, anyone interested in incorporating the minimalist philosophy into their life needs to ask themselves one question:

‘How might my life be different with less?’

“And the reason why I start with that question is because you’ve got to see the benefits of something before you take action on it. At the end of the day … [you could] go home and throw everything into your dumpster and then tonight you would just be in an empty place.

“Throwing away the stuff is not the end game here, really what it comes down to is what is adding value to people’s lives.”

Another thing to do is to team up with a friend who is also keen on de-cluttering and play the ‘30 day minimalism game’ - devised by Nicodemus and Millburn.

In it the participants agree to get rid of one item on the first day of the month, then two items on the second day and so on until one person gives up.

“But if both people make it to the end of the month they both win because by that point they have gotten rid of 500 items.”

Nicodemus says if their schedule allows and the pair make it out to Australia for speaking engagements in 2017/18 then he would love to swing by New Zealand – a country that is on his bucket list.

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