Translator: Bob Prottas
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva My name is Ryan Nicodemus,
and this is Joshua Fields Millburn. And the 2 of us run a website called:
“”, and today we want to talk to you about
what it means to be part of a community. But first, I want to share a story
with you about how I became rich. Imagine your life a year from now — 2 years from now — 5 years from now. What’s it going to look like? Imagine a life with less:
Less stuff, less clutter, less stress, and debt, and discontent. A life with fewer distractions. (Cell phone ringing) Dude, you’re joking right now. Right? Dude, we’re trying to give a talk. (Cell phone continues ringing) Sorry about that. Now, imagine a life with more: More time, more meaningful relationships,
more growth and contribution. A life of passion unencumbered by the trappings
of the chaotic world around you. Well, what you’re imagining
is an intentional life. It’s not a perfect life, it’s not even
an easy life, but a simple one. What you’re imagining is a rich life, the kind of rich that has
nothing to do with wealth. You know, I used to think
rich was earning $50,000 a year. Then when I started climbing
the corporate ladder in my twenties, I quickly begin turning fifty grand. But I didn’t feel rich.
So I tried to adjust for inflation. Maybe $75,000 a year was rich. Maybe $90,000. Maybe 6-figures. Or maybe owning a bunch of stuff,
maybe that was rich. Well, whatever rich was,
I knew that once I got there I would finally be happy. So as I made more money,
I spent more money, all in the pursuit of the American dream, all in the pursuit happiness. But the closer I got,
the further away happiness was. Five years ago my entire life
was different from what it is today. Radically different. I had everything I ever wanted. I had everything I was supposed to have. I had an impressive job title
with a respectable corporation, a successful career managing
hundreds of employees, I earned a six-figure income, I bought a fancy new car
every couple of years, I owned a huge 3-bedroom condo,
it even had 2 living rooms. I have no idea why a single
guy needs two living rooms. I was living the American dream. Everyone around me said I was successful. But I was only ostensibly successful. You see, I also had a bunch of things
that were hard to see from the outside. Even though I earned a lot of money,
I had heaps of debt. But chasing the American dream
cost me a lot more than money. My life was filled with stress,
and anxiety, and discontent. I was miserable. I may have looked successful,
but I certainly didn’t feel successful. And it got to a point in my life where
I didn’t know what was important anymore. But one thing was clear:
there was this gaping void in my life. So I tried to fill that void
the same way many people do: with stuff. Lots of stuff. I was filling the void
with consumer purchases. I bought new cars, and electronics, and closets full of expensive clothes. I bought furniture,
and expensive home decorations. And I always made sure
to have all the latest gadgets. When I didn’t have
enough cash in the bank, I paid for expensive meals,
rounds of drinks, and frivolous vacations with credit cards. I was spending money
faster then I earned it, attempting to buy my way to happiness, and I thought I’d get there
one day eventually. I mean happiness had to be somewhere
just around the corner, right? But the stuff didn’t fill
the void, it widened it. And because I didn’t know
what was important I continued to fill the void with stuff,
going further into debt. Working hard to buy things
that weren’t making me happy. This went on for years. A terrible cycle: Lather, rinse, repeat. By my late twenties,
my life on the outside looked great. But on the inside, I was a wreck. I was several years divorced. I was unhealthy. I was stuck. I drank, a lot. I did drugs, a lot. I used as many pacifiers as I could. And I continued to work 60, 70,
sometimes 80 hours a week, and I forsook some of the most
important aspects of my life. I barely ever thought about my health,
my relationships, my passions. And worse of all, I felt stagnant. I certainly wasn’t contributing to others,
and I wasn’t growing. My life lacked meaning, purpose, passion. If you would have asked me
what I was passionate about, I would’ve looked to you
like a deer in headlights, “What am my passionate about?”
I had no idea. I was living paycheck to paycheck,
living for a paycheck, living for stuff, living for a career that I didn’t love. But I wasn’t really living at all. I was depressed. Then, as I was approaching my thirties,
I noticed something different about my best friend
of twenty-something years. (Laughter) Josh seemed happy for the first time
in a really long time — like truly happy, ecstatic. But I didn’t understand why. We had worked side by side at the same
corporation throughout our twenties, both climbing the ranks,
and he had been just as miserable as me. Something had to have changed. To boot, he had just gone through two
of the most difficult events of his life. His mother just passed away,
and his marriage ended, both in the same month. He wasn’t supposed to be happy. He certainly wasn’t supposed
to be happier than me. So I did what any good
best friend would do. I took Josh out to lunch, I sat him down,
and I asked him a question: “Why the hell are you so happy?” (Laughter) He spent the next 20 minutes telling me
about something called minimalism. He talked about how he spent
the last few months simplifying his life, getting the clutter out of the way to make room for what was truly important. And then he introduced me
to an entire community of people who had done the same thing. He introduce me to a guy
named Colin Wright, a 24-year-old entrepreneur who travels
to a new country every four months, carrying with him everything that he owns. Then there was Joshua Becker,
a 36-year-old husband, and father of two, with a full time job, and a car,
and a house in suburban Vermont. Then he showed me Courtney Carver,
a 40-year-old wife, and mother to a teenage daughter
in Salt Lake City. And there was Leo Babauta, a 38-year-old husband,
and father of six in San Francisco. Although all these people were living
considerably different lives, people from different backgrounds, with children, and families
and different work situations, they all shared
at least two things in common. First, they were living deliberate,
meaningful lives. They were passionate, and purpose-driven. They seemed much richer
than any of the so-called rich guys I worked with in the corporate world. And second, they attributed their meaningful lives
to this thing called “minimalism.” So, me being the
problem-solving guy that I am, I decided to become a minimalist
right there, on the spot. I looked up at Josh, I excitedly declared: “Alright man, I’m going do it, I’m in.
I’m going to be a minimalist. Now what?” I don’t want to spend months
paring down my items like he had. That was great for him,
but I wanted faster results. So we came up with this idea
of a packing party. We decided to pack all my belongings
as if I were moving, and then I would unpack only the items
I needed over the next three weeks. Josh literally helped me
box up everything: My clothes, my kitchenware, my towels,
my TV’s, my electronics, my framed photographs
and paintings, my toiletries, even my furniture, everything. After 9 hours, and a couple
of pizza deliveries, everything was packed. So there Josh and I were, sitting in my second living room,
feeling exhausted, staring at boxes stacked halfway
to my 12-foot ceiling. My condo was empty, and everything
smelled like cardboard. Everything I owned, every single thing
I had worked hard for over the last decade was sitting there in that room. Just boxes, stacked on top boxes,
stacked on top boxes. Now each box was labeled so I’d know where
to go when I needed a particular item. Labels like “living room,”
“junk drawer #1,” “kitchenware,” “bedroom closet,” “junk drawer #9,” so forth and so on. I spent the next 21 days unpacking
only the items I needed: My toothbrush, my bed and bed sheets,
the furniture I actually used, some kitchenware, a toolset, just the things
that added value to my life. After 3 weeks, 80% of my stuff
was still sitting in those boxes, just sitting there, unaccessed. All those things that were
supposed to make me happy, they weren’t doing their job. So I decided to donate and sell all of it. And you know what?
I started to feel rich for the first time. I started to feel rich once I got
everything out of the way. I made room for everything that remains. A month later, my entire
perspective had changed, and then I thought to myself, “Maybe some people
might find value in my story — in our story.” Joshua: So Ryan and I did, I guess
what anyone would do, we started a blog. (Laughter) We called it “the minimalists”,
and that was 3 years ago. Then something amazing happen, 52 people visit our website
in the first month. 52! I realize that might sound
unremarkable at first, but that meant that our story
was resonating with dozens of people. And then other amazing things
started happening. Fifty two readers turned into 500, 500 became 5,000 and now more than 2 million people
a year read our words. It turns out that, when you add
value to people’s lives, they’re pretty eager to share the message
with their friends, and their family, to add value to their lives. Adding value is a basic human instinct. In fact, that’s why we’re here today. A couple of years ago,
Ryan and I moved from Ohio to Montana. And what we discovered here
was an entire community of people, people who weren’t traditionally wealthy, but who were rich in a different way. We discovered so many people who were willing to contribute
beyond themselves. And that’s what makes
a real community: contribution. And so we’d like to encourage everyone to take a look at your day-to-day lives. Take a look at whatever eats up
the majority of your time. Is it checking email,
or Facebook, or watching TV? Is shopping online, or at retail stores? Is it working hard for a paycheck
to buy stuff you don’t need, things that won’t make you happy? Now it’s not that we think
that there’s anything inherently wrong with material possessions, or working a nine-to-five — there’s not. We all need some stuff.
We all have to pay the bills, right? It’s just that, when we put
those things first, we tend to lose sight
of our real priorities. We lose sight of life’s purpose. And so maybe getting some
of the excess stuff out of the way, clearing the clutter from our lives, can help us all focus
on, well, everything that remains, things like health, relationships, growth, contribution, community. Thank you. (Applause)