Happiness, as far as we are concerned, is achieved through living a meaningful life, a life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which we can grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways. Growth and contribution: those are the bedrocks of happiness. Not stuff. This may not sound sexy or marketable or sellable, but it’s the cold truth. Humans are happy if we are growing as individuals and if we are contributing beyond ourselves. Without growth, and without a deliberate effort to help others, we are just slaves to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success.
~JOSHUA FIELDS, author of Essential: Essays by The Minimalists
Nine days before TED2008, filmmaker David Hoffman lost almost everything he owned in a fire that destroyed his home, office and 30 years of passionate collecting. He looks back at a life that’s been wiped clean in an instant — and looks forward.
Was I my things?
I had a fire nine days ago. My archive: 175 films, my 16-millimeter negative, all my books, my dad’s books, my photographs. I’d collected — I was a collector, major, big-time. It’s gone. I just looked at it, and I didn’t know what to do. I mean, this was — was I my things? I always live in the present — I love the present.
You’ve got to make something good out of something bad.
“Dig it up,” I said. “Pieces. I want pieces. Bits and pieces.” I came up with this idea: a life of bits and pieces, which I’m just starting to work on — my next project.
Complement it with Greg Mckeown on Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less.