Are you truly successful?

Words by The Minimalists

We used to be “successful.” At least that’s what everyone said.

People frequently told us that we had things “figured out,” because by age 27 we both worked “great” six-figure jobs, we were climbing the corporate ladder, and we owned all the things that were supposed to make us happy: the big houses, the luxury cars, the fancy material possessions.

But we sure didn’t feel like we had it figured out. And we certainly didn’t feel successful. Instead, we felt overwhelmed by the so-called success in our lives. We were unhealthy, unfulfilled, and our lives lacked meaning. And the long hours we worked and the stuff we bought didn’t fill the void we felt inside.

Unfortunately, we’d subscribed to the ridiculous cultural standards promulgated by our heavily mediated society. But despite what people said, we weren’t successful. Rather, we were fools. Successfools.

But you needn’t be fooled like we were by the false cultural pressurespropagated by the ads on TV, proliferated by the ghosts haunting the cubical farms at your job.

A six-figure job doesn’t make you successful. There’s nothing wrong with earning money, but the money alone will not make you happy.

A shiny new car doesn’t make you successful. There’s nothing wrong with owning things you enjoy, but your material possessions alone will not bring you bliss.

Consider your daily actions. Do you pacify yourself with short-term pleasures, sacrificing true success and happiness and fulfillment for ephemeral pellets of momentary gratification?

Are you truly successful? Are you happy? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you living a meaningful life? You can. And, more importantly, you deserve to.

Choose your daily actions wisely. Meaningless short-term pleasure often equals long-term suffering, while short-term pain can offer you long-term joy and growth and contentment. The choice is yours to make.

The Minimalists

The Minimalists are American authors, podcasters, filmmakers, and public speakers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. The duo began pursuing the minimalist lifestyle in 2010. After experiencing significant improvements in their quality of life as a result of adopting and practicing the tenets of minimalism, the pair launched a website in December 2010 to share their experiences. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their writing, podcast, and documentary.


Ready to Simplify?

Inside Minimalism is our series of exclusive essays on simple living. Each essay is written by our team of writers who are passionate about helping you craft a simpler life. Supported by their own personal experiences, we want to inspire and encourage you to clear the path of life’s stuff, so you can get to where you really want to be.

Subscribe for $30 /yr

Save 50% with an annual subscription