In a year when what truly matters has been put into perspective more than ever, a new documentary with Dayton roots puts a microscope on what we really need to live a fulfilling life.
The Dayton-born-and-raised duo of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus starred in, and served as executive producers of, “The Minimalists: Less Is Now,” their latest film that is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on Jan. 1.
Best known as “The Minimalists,” Millburn and Nicodemus, who now live in Los Angeles, have an extensive list of accomplishments and projects that have effected change around the world.
Their fan base has more than 20 million people in more than 190 countries, in large part due to their successful 2016 documentary, “Minimalism,” and their ongoing Top 100 podcast, “The Minimalists.” Their mission is to help people live meaningful lives with less clutter.
Earlier this month, the pair celebrated their podcast’s 10-year anniversary, as well as their first film’s fourth anniversary.
“We started this film immediately after we finished and released the first film, “Minimalism” … and a lot has happened since then, obviously,” Millburn said. “A few months later we started production on Less Is Now. It was just sort of an idea, and we went out, we filmed it, and it wasn’t right, so we sort of scrapped that. Then we felt that an entirely different version also wasn’t right, so we scrapped that, and I don’t know if those versions will ever live to see the light of day.”
Four years of hard work and multiple versions later, the film is ready and the team hopes it will simplify even more lives.
The documentary includes interviews from subject experts like Dave Ramsey, TK Coleman and Annie Leonard.
“Our first film was about, you know, Josh and I being on the road, and kind of getting these different minimalist perspectives around different topics,” Millburn said. “So it was kind of a high-level introduction to minimalism, where this film is fundamentally different in the sense that it’s really about starting over.”
Though work on the film began long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release is timely. The Minimalists hope it gives people hope that it is never too late to start over.
“People often think like Josh and Ryan had these great successful corporate careers, right, everything was nice and cushy for them,” Millburn said. “And they don’t realize that before that was a lot of chaos. … It was a different kind of chaos throughout our 20s, even though we had money we have a lot of stress, and debt and discontent, overwhelmed, we had anxiety.”
Millburn described their situation as suffocating. Growing up in families experiencing poverty in Dayton, Millburn said they still felt a sometimes indescribable void after they were able to earn a living and no longer stress about money.
“Striving isn’t going to be the key to your happiness, either,” Millburn said. “It’s being content with the now. It’s finding peace.”
Sarah joined the Dayton Daily News team in fall of 2019 covering general assignment. Since then, Sarah has covered the higher education beat, authored a daily COVID-19 column and currently covers Greene County.