The day finally came! The 6th floor of The Burroughes Building in Toronto was packed as we waited eagerly to meet Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. To more than 4 million readers around the globe, they are known as the Minimalists, teaching folks how to live a meaningful life with less stuff. I stumbled across their blog when I began the process of decluttering near the end of 2013. New to this concept? Check out their blog post “What is Minimalism?”
The 5 key takeaways from the event
1) What do you with gifts and presents?
- Instead of buying a gift for someone, consider sending a gift of experience. Ryan demonstrated this concept by inviting all of us to sing happy birthday to his friend Sarah who was in the audience that evening. She was pleasantly surprised.
- Instead of receiving gifts, do what Josh did. For his 33rd birthday, he asked everyone to donate $33 to one of his favourite charities – Charity: Water.
2) Find your flavor of minimalism. There isn’t one approach to living a minimalistic life. “Your flavor is different from everyone else.”
3) “Everything I own serves me a purpose.” Always ask yourself, does this thing add value to your life?
4) “You can’t change the people around you but you change people around you.”
5) When you meet someone new, what’s the first question we usually ask? “Hello, what do you do?” What are we trying to achieve from this question? To measure someone’s social status? How about asking, “what are you passionate about?”
Near the end of the event, we had a rapid fire of Q and A session. Here’s an interesting question from the audience.
“What is the one thing you kept that adds value?”
Josh: “My time.”
Ryan: “My laptop.”
Their closing remark, “Love people and use things!”
Instead of offering gift bags to thank everyone for coming to the event, Joshua and Ryan offered to exchange hugs and stories with the guests. Everyone eagerly waited in line to chat with them, including us. What story did we share? Check out the blog post, Put a ring on it (or not)!