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"Minimalists" come to Fargo

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FARGO (WDAY)- Could having a happier and more meaningful life be as simple as getting rid of your excess objects?

Two men from Dayton Ohio, say that could be the first step.

They're called the Minimalists, and they're touring around the country promoting their book and philosophy.

They took a few minutes to talk about their journey with reporter Brian Abel.

"I was sort of living the American Dream, right? I had everything I ever wanted," said Minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn. "Everything I was suppose to have. The big house with more bedrooms than people. The luxury car. Closets filled with clothes, appliances, furniture, etcetera, etcetera."

At 28 years old, Millburn was living a 6-figure lifestyle. 

But his life would start ripping at the seams when in the same month his mother passed away and his marriage came to an end.

It was that shift that pushed him to re-examine his life.

During that process, he stumbled upon minimalism: a philosophy centered around the idea of simplifying life.

"I started really small," said Millburn. "I got rid of one item a day for 30 days."

It didn't take long before clearing the clutter became empowering. Making room for more important things like health and relationships. He spent the next 8 months getting rid of 90-percent of what he owned.

"I started feeling free-er, and happier and lighter," said Millburn.

The change taking place in Millburn was noticed by his best friend since 5th grade, Ryan Nicodemus, who was still in and conquering the corporate rate race.

"He seemed to be going through life a little easier," remembered Nicodemus. "And that was really confusing to me because you have been just as miserable as me. What's going on? Did they put you on some anti-depressants or something?"

Nicodemus joined the Minimalists movement and not long after, he and Millburn saw the power of sharing the philosophy.

"The first year that I was a minimalist, I traveled more in that year than the first 29 years in my life,"said Nicodemus.

Now they're bringing this idea and their journey to the masses with a book titled "Everything That Remains".

They say it isn't a how to, but rather a "why to" book-- a way to help people bridge the gap between a discontented and more meaningful life.

"We hear the platitude all the time that money doesn't buy happiness, and i believe that to be true but I also believe that poverty doesn't buy happiness," said Millburn. "We're not out advocating that people should give up all their possessions and live like a monk. And we certainly dont think you should take a vow of poverty. The point of what we're doing has a lot to do with reclaiming control of our finances, of our time, of our lives and minimalism has allowed us to do that."

Brian Abel
Brian joined WDAZ in October of 2014, after reporting and anchoring at WDAY in Fargo since October 2013. He currently co-anchors the 6 and 10pm WDAZ News weekdays, and co-anchors the Saturday 6 and 10pm WDAY/WDAZ simulcast news. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. Brian has traveled across the country as a spokesperson for the automotive industry. He has also lived in Los Angeles, working in entertainment before pursuing his career in broadcasting. It’s experiences like these that give him a unique perspective when reporting. Brian is a Michigan Wolverines fan with an avid interest in politics and golf.  He is thrilled to be sharing stories with the Greater Grand Forks community working at WDAZ and looks forward to hearing any of your comments, concerns and story ideas.