Sep 29, 2010

Minimalism and Passion: Joshua Becker

As I move towards a minimalist lifestyle, I’ve found I learn more from listening to others share their unique journeys than I have from books and impersonal articles. Everyone has their own take on minimalism, and in hearing those stories I find myself more open to exploring my own minimalist journey.

 Almost every Wednesday I post short interviews with passionate people, digging into their thoughts on minimalism.

Today's interview is with Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. For two years now Joshua and his family have been living the minimalist life in Vermont, and sharing their journey towards what he calls "rationalist minimalism" online.

He is also the author of two amazing e-books - Simplify and Inside-Out Simplicity. You can check out my short reviews here.

MK: How did your passions inspire or move you towards minimalism?

JB: My passions in life have always centered around inspiring others to live their best life possible. I've never chosen a career path for the sake of money, but instead chose a path that would give me opportunity to speak into others' lives on a consistent basis.

I never realized how my possessions were weighing me down and getting in the way of that passion until someone opened my eyes to that fact. Once they did, I quickly moved towards minimalism as a means to lighten my burden and provide myself with even more opportunity to inspire others - especially within my own young family.

MK: Did you find anything change or shift with your passion once you began your minimalist journey?

JB: I think the greatest shift in my passion centers around the reality that I have found so much freedom in a minimalist lifestyle. I have enjoyed inspiring others to live more by owning less. And while I wouldn't say "minimalism" is the greatest good or the loftiest goal that one can aspire to, it has become a centerpiece of the inspiration that I seek to become - precisely because it frees us up to pursue the greatest goals of spirituality, love, and relationships.

MK: How do you nurture your creative spirit within the boundaries of the “do more with less” mentality of minimalism?

JB: I have actually experienced a ton of newfound creativity since adopting the lifestyle of minimalism. In many ways, the things that I owned were slowing me down, keeping me tied to the past. Removing most of them has given me a new freedom to create. In addition to that, I have found my creative juices flow best when running, showering, or waking up in the morning.

MK: What is one thing that consistently trips you up on your minimalist journey?

JB: I rarely shop anymore. Other than a grocery store, I literally have no desire to enter them anymore - it's very liberating. Our biggest trouble spot is stuff that we owned before we became minimalist. And while we have removed roughly 75% of our belongings, there are still a few boxes in the basement that we haven't gotten to yet. (It's just so easy to put the boxes in the basement corner and try to forget about them... but obviously I haven't). Additionally, continuing the theme of "prior ownership," I wish I lived in a smaller home closer to public transportation. But that's got to be a family decision...

MK: What is one piece of advice you’d share with others who share your passion and are exploring minimalism?

JB: First, just jump in - the water's warm. Second, I'd tell them to take their time and find their own personal brand of minimalism. Interestingly, I would tell them to avoid reading too many blogs about minimalism. When we started our journey, I only read these two articles about minimalism: 1) Ehow and 2) Zen Habits. Both gave me just enough principle to get started. From there, I was able to develop my own personal brand of minimalism that would fit my unique lifestyle. Don't get too caught up in what everybody else is writing about their personal minimalism - use it for inspiration, but not necessarily specific direction.

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