12 Minimalist Quotes from Everything That Remains by The Minimalists
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy. Everything That Remains is a book about reprioritizing your materialistic desires with experiential desires. It’s about spending less money at the mall and about spending more time with friends; about wasting less money on fancy cars and designer clothes and investing more money into trips to new places and people you hold dear; about focusing on ways that you can enrich your life rather than ways you can become rich.
Ultimately, money is a vehicle that can help you live a more fulfilling life. But a fulfilling life doesn’t come from being filled with stuff. Desire begets more desire. There will always be nicer clothes, cars, houses, etc. And so if your life is spent chasing bigger, better, and/or more beautiful – you’ll end up chasing a forever-fleeting finish line that will always leave you unfulfilled. Instead of living the life of trying to be happy but never satisfied, try changing the motto to being always happy and always satisfied with the intention of continuing to do better each day.
Happiness comes from within – not without. It is an attitude – not an item that is purchased. It is as Denis Waitley reminds us, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” So with that, I encourage you to review the 12 minimalist quotes below from Everything That Remains and think about how money is being used in your life. Instead of trying to spend more money on stuff – think of ways you could be investing more of your money on experiences and people. Minimalism is about escaping the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise, etc. Stop in your pursuit of more… think less… and just be happy. Enjoy 🙂
“Everyone is attempting to buy what no one can sell.”
“Understand, every moth is drawn to light, even when that light is a flame, hot and burning, flickering, the fire tantalizing the drab creature with its blueish-white illumination. But when the moth flies too close to the flame, we all know what happens: it gets burned, incinerated by the very thing that drew it near. For decades now, I have played the role of the moth, lured by the flame of consumerism, pop culture’s beautiful conflagration, a firestorm of lust and greed and wanting, a haunting desire to consume that which cannot be consumed, to be fulfilled by that which can never be fulfilling. A vacant proposition, leaving me empty inside, which further fuels my desire to consume. Accepting the flame for what it is, then, is important: it is necessary and beautiful and, most of all, dangerous. Realizing this, becoming aware of the danger, is difficult to do. But this is how we wake up.”
“The best present is presence. You see, the people I care about mean much more to me than a new pair of shoes or a shiny new gadget or even a certified pre-owned luxury car with a huge bow on top. And yet, many of us attempt to give material items to make up for the time we don’t spend with the people we love.”
“Eventually, happiness was just a speck on the horizon, way off in the distance. The closer I got, the farther I had to go. Turns out that I’d been running as fast as I could in the wrong direction. Oops. The stuff wasn’t doing its job; it wasn’t making me happy. Depression set in when I no longer had time for a life outside of work, laboring eighty hours a week just to pay for the stuff that wasn’t making me happy. I didn’t have time for anything I wanted to do: no time to write, no time to read, no time to relax, no time for my closest relationships. I didn’t even have time to have a cup of coffee with a friend, to listen to his stories. I realized that I didn’t control my time, and thus I didn’t control my own life. It was a shocking realization.”
“I’d been running in one direction as fast as I could, chasing this abstract thing called happiness, but I’d been running the wrong way. I was sprinting east looking for a sunset, when all I really had to do was turn around and walk—not run, just walk—in the other direction.”
“Desire always begets more desire. And thus the American Dream is a misnomer, a broken shiny thing, like a new car without an engine. There is blood on the flag, our blood, and in today’s world of achieving and earning and endlessly striving for more, the American Dream really just seems to imply that we are fat and in debt, discontented and empty, every man an island, leaving a void we attempt to fill with more stuff.”
“The best way to give yourself a raise is to spend less money. These days I know that every dollar I spend adds immense value to my life. There is a roof over my head at night, the books or the music I purchase add unspeakable value to my life, the few clothes I own keep me warm, the experiences I share with others at a movie or a concert add value to my life and theirs, and a meal from China Garden with my best friend becomes far more meaningful than a trip to the mall ever could.”
“Success for me has little to do with money or possessions or status. Rather, success is a simple equation: Happiness + Growth + Contribution = Success. That’s the only kind of success I know. Hence, I want to partake in work that makes me happy, work that encourages me to grow, work that helps me contribute beyond myself. Ultimately, I want to create more and consume less. Doing so requires real work.”
“Sometimes the best teacher is our most recent failure.”
“We hold on to jobs we dislike because we believe there’s security in a paycheck. We stay in shitty relationships because we think there’s security in not being alone. We hold on to stuff we don’t need, just in case we might need it down the road in some nonexistent, more secure future. If such accoutrements are flooding our lives with discontent, they are not secure. In fact, the opposite is true. Discontent is uncertainty. And uncertainty is insecurity. Hence, if you are not happy with your situation, no matter how comfortable it is, you won’t ever feel secure.”
“Life isn’t meant to be completely safe. Real security, however, is found inside us, in consistent personal growth, not in a reliance on growing external factors. Once we extinguish our outside requirements for the things that won’t ever make us truly secure—a fat paycheck, an ephemeral sexual relationship, a shiny new widget—we can shepherd our focus toward what’s going on inside us, no longer worshiping the things around us.”
“The first jump – that’s the most difficult part. Because you’ll always have some people who say things like, ‘Why would you do that?’ or ‘How can you do that?’ or ‘If you could do that thing you want to do – write that novel or become an entrepreneur or travel the world or whatever – then everyone would be doing it.’ It’s important to remember that these naysayers are just projecting. It’s that ingrained fear we all have, a natural instinct. We tend to be afraid of bucking the status quo. But when you do take that first jump, it actually becomes terrifying to do ‘normal’ things, because you realize what a risk it is to give up your entire life just to be normal.”
—– —– ——
Comment: What’s one thing that you have done (or plan on doing) that will allow you to live a more minimalist lifestyle?
—– —– ——
The Book: Everything That Remains
By: The Minimalists
Book Overview: What if everything you ever wanted isn’t what you actually want? Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn’t anymore. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism…and everything started to change. Everything That Remains is the touching, surprising story of what happened when one young man decided to let go of everything and begin living more deliberately. Heartrending, uplifting, and deeply personal, this engrossing memoir is peppered with insightful (and often hilarious) interruptions by Ryan Nicodemus, Millburn’s best friend of twenty years.