3 Lessons I’ve learned from LESS IS NOW documentary on Netflix
“What is Easy is Going with the Flow. It Takes Work to Be Intentional”
As someone who has been been doing a lot of readings and research on minimalism for the past few months, this documentary was the cherry on top for my quest. In fact, the recently released documentary “The Minimalists: Less is Now” that features one of the prominent figures of this movement, the childhood best friends, Joshua and Ryan, has been getting a lot of attention since its release and hence, shedding more light on the lifestyle and mindset of “living more with less”.
In this article, I will be presenting my 3 favorite quotes from the documentary, and how they are valuable revelations and lessons to kick start this year. Always in the context of personal growth and transformation, if you are looking for where to start with the minimalist philosophy, you have come to the right place!
3 Lessons that I have learned from “The Minimalists: ‘Less is Now’” documentary:
“We Are Losing The Stuff that Makes Us Happy for More Stuff”
Does our happiness stem from owning things or what they mean to us?
This was one of the most dominant ideas in the documentary; does owning more stuff bring us happiness? if they don’t, do we discard them or do we keep them? and why do we keep stuff regardless of their value in our lives?
Ironically, prior to developing awareness to the value of our possessions, we all start from the same point: Owning too many things. In this sense, it seems that the culture of intentional consumption is still a premature idea for some, while it is a mental work in progress for others. Though, there is also another third category who still doesn’t realize the urgency nor the importance of this culture. Hence, when asked about their spending habits, they may not have a clear response, or may shrug the subject away.
Personally, as far as “buying more stuff” and the level of happiness is concerned, I used to be somewhere between the 2nd and the 3rd category. For instance, before realizing that even what seems as futile as doing groceries could be done with intention, and it related to my degree of self satisfaction and happiness with my life, I mainly cared about my budget and the immediate usability of the product.
We know when we are buying something out of temptation.
Nowadays, we’d think by the raising awareness of non materialistic happiness, and the value of simple things, the idea that more happiness comes with the loyalty to a certain brand or spending money on the latest trends was decreasing. Unfortunately, with social media being used by about 45% of the world population, and the constant evolution of marketing strategies, the ways to lure customers vary from a time to another.
Consequently, more than any other time, the need of a new culture of intentional consumption is urgent today more than ever; By looking back at our spending habits, filtering out what are “temptations” from what we truly need, we not only do ourselves a favor in our monthly budgeting, but we also discipline our minds to purposeful and effective spending habits that do our mental health good too in the long term.
Every Possession Serves a Purpose and Brings Me Joy as a Minimalist
Do we use everything we own? and how much of what we own serves a certain purpose in our life?
Minimalism is generally deemed as “living more with less” and feeling self satisfied with what you own without feeling the urge to add more stuff for an instant feeling of pleasure and contentment.
So what does it mean to own things that serve purpose? and what is it that really brings us joy with the things we already have?
Think of the most forgotten, untouched, drawer or box you got, when was the last time that you have checked what was inside? and do you have the least idea of what it contains and what it means to you now?
And what about those “archives” albums, or files on your shelf? What are you keeping those stuff for?
Minimalism, before it is about quantity, is primarily a matter of quality, and intention. By holding onto things, and thinking that they will be useful someday, we expose ourselves to a fake and often short term sense of joy and satisfaction; by remaining in the “what ifs”, we end up missing on the present moment and we fall into that trap of the anxiety, and the fear from an ever unknown future.
In fact, chances are, those stuff that we keep piling up for “sometime” in the future, are the same that take up so much of our time cleaning without being of real use to us in daily life. In this sense, they are a like a Pandora box, only we have forgotten (both in content and value) what is inside because we are evolving creatures, and stuff are not.
“Your Passion is the good that you give to the world”
Save the best for the last.
Indeed, this must be one of my most favorite quotes of the documentary!
“Passion” today as a concept is used almost everywhere. From refering to the sparks of love between two lovebirds in literature, to the strong sense and feeling of pleasure and joy that we get from doing our hobbies, to the rush of dopamine and serotonin that emerges from being among our loved ones, passion remains a core element of our lives as human beings, one that we seek living, and suffer by losing.
Prior to watching Less is Now, I have always thought of passion as a personal matter.In fact, according to this perspective, passion is rather depicted a selfish concept; revolving about the self and the individual experiencing it. However, that changed after watching this documentary.
For instance, by watching how the minimalists best friends were able to make an impact on so many people and create their minimalist community that shows active support to their minimalist philosophy, it seems that, indeed, passion could be as selfless as generosity, and as compassion; By devoting your time and energy in working on your area of interest, you not only give meaning and substance to how you spend your time, but you also dedicate yourself to adding a certain value in the world, and that is where true uniqueness appears.
Everyone of us has something to give to the world. By reflecting on what you spend your time in the most, you not only gain and boost the sense of purpose and meaning into your life, but you also contribute something to others, and to your community.
So, what is your passion?
What goodness are you giving the world right now?