Are we done with minimalism?

According to Google Trends the popularity for the search term “minimalism” peaked in January 2017.

But does that mean that people are losing interest?

Now more than ever, the impact of consumerism on our planet is undeniable and we know that stuff doesn’t make us happy. We are struggling with information overload and always being plugged in.

Minimalism aims to counteract these challenges that leave us depleted and unfulfilled.

So what’s the future of minimalism?

Minimalism’s Trajectory

Using Malcolm Gladwell’s 3 principles for a tipping point, Matt breaks down the history of minimalism like this:

The law of the few.
A few influential people start talking about an idea. Over a decade ago a few influential bloggers started to write about minimalism: Ryan Nicodemus and Josh Millburn of The Minimalists, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, and Courtney Carver of Be More With Less.

The stickiness factor.
An idea has stickiness when it’s packaged so people can easily remember and understand it. Minimalism’s message was: When we stop buying things we don’t need, we can be more intentional and lead more meaningful lives. Less is more. That’s sticky.

The power of context.
An idea is adopted within a certain environment and time ripe for its promise. As technology made goods cheaper to make and easier to buy, and things were going well for a lot of people, people were consuming a lot more. And then the financial crisis hit in 2008 made many people reconsider this life of excess.

These elements all came together for Minimalism’s tipping point around 2017. And now Minimalism’s popularity seems to be fading.

It’s not that it’s no longer a useful approach for people to live more intentional and fulfilled lives. It’s because any movement will have its time in the sun. Reaching a peak and then it will either fade or die out entirely.

What’s the future of minimalism?

But that doesn’t mean it’s dead. He points to yoga and jogging having tipping points in the 1970s but they are still practiced prominently and have gone mainstream. They’re just not so novel anymore.

And minimalism will follow this path.

It’s not going anywhere. As long as we struggle with how to live fulfilling lives and are disillusioned with the short-term gratification of things, we’ll stay interested in adopting minimalist principles.

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Lynn Rivest

I talk about building a minimalist biz + aging boldly as a midlife entrepreneur.