Minimalism is not about owning less possessions or the deprivation of happiness that comes from owning those possessions. Minimalism has a unique meaning for each person. John Cage, the composer has a very different perception of it than someone like Jesus for example, who is said to have had minimalist teachings. 

Minimalism crosses over different art forms, technologies, philosophies and so on. We would like you to know who inspires Mudita and would also like to keep you focused, rather than redirect you somewhere else, so we've summarized our definition of minimalism below.Our products are created using three core principles, which we consider to be a minimalist approach as defined by our design team. Products developed must be:

  • As neutral and simple as possible.

  • Not attention-grabbing.

  • Not interfering with life, with daily tasks and behaviors.

Minimalist before the minimalism movement: the evolution

What we are able to infer from ancient humans comes at the cost of the effort our ancestors put into communication and education. From the work we found inspiring, the following three big names influenced our perception of minimalism.  

The father of Taoism and author of the Tao Te Ching, Laozi (sometimes known as Lao Tzu) is one of the earliest minimalists we could think of. The Tao Te Ching is full of thought-provoking passages which form the sacred text. One of our favorites is:

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

Socrates is the next minimalist worth mentioning, to whom we are grateful for the famous and cited verses:

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less

The last one worth mentioning was born on 2 October 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. 

In addition to authoring quotes to fill several blog posts that have survived until today and being the change all of us wish to see in the world, Gandhi was a minimalist. He lived minimally and died with few possessions. 

Live simply, so others may simply live.

Modern Minimalists

Gandhi, Socrates and Lao Tzu may be the original influencers of humankind, but there are countless more that share a common interest with them. 

Generations have passed, technology has developed and we’re now more connected than ever, almost all of us are part of a digital community that the majority of the world participates in. We are adding these 13 top minimalist influencers for their inspirational websites, blogs and positive Instagram accounts. 

Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyQIaRuEvjQ&feature=youtu.be

The Minimalists | https://www.theminimalists.com/ 

After a crisis, Joshua Fields Millburn decided to try something new, minimalism. After looking into it, he decided that it would bring more happiness to his life than the possessions he had accumulated. He told his childhood best friend, Ryan Nicodemu, about it and then created a 21-day challenge for Ryan, which became a stimulus for their website, theminimalists.com.

Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsFefdPhL3w&feature=youtu.be

Greg McKeown | https://gregmckeown.com/

Greg McKeown is a public speaker known around the world. If we had to describe him, we’d say he’s a minimalist who takes action. No, he doesn’t support working two-hours a day. He supports working smarter, wiser, more effectively on priorities. Greg is also known for authoring Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, a book which has been read and applied by thousands of people in everyday life.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B0CFdheHGN6/

Marie Kondo | https://konmari.com/

Marie Kondo, who championed the KonMari Method™, claims she is not a minimalist; we decided to include her on our list anyway. She supports surrounding yourself with items that spark joy -- whether that means you have a lot of things or nothing. 

Marie brings up the important aspect of cherishing the items you own, which we equate with modern minimalism. While we might have more than 30 books on our coffee tables alone, we appreciate her for calling attention to the things that we don’t need.

Image Source: https://www.calnewport.com/

Cal Newport | https://www.calnewport.com/

New York Times best-selling author of Digital Minimalism and computer science professor at Georgetown University, Cal Newport enjoys studying the intersection of technology and culture. Digital minimalists are the friends and family members that don’t glance at their phones every few seconds. Our current world requires us not only to unplug, but to stop being the product that tech giants view us as. 

In Digital Minimalism, he explains ways we can navigate today's digital world. A digital world where tech, as well as most other companies, want you to pay 100% of your undivided attention. Cal offers his tips and tricks to help you recover your focus and take your life back from technology. 

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4isMN3nUW2/

Brooke McAlary  | https://slowyourhome.com/

Brooke is a slow living lover. She ended up downsizing her possessions after being diagnosed with severe postnatal depression. By downsizing and making room in her life for her health, she became a minimalist influencer and wrote Destination Simple and SLOW. Currently, she is slow traveling across Canada and the US with her family, while keeping up with her passion: advocating to slow down.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B54o8lZF9GE/

Jessica Rose Williams | https://www.jessicarosewilliams.com

Jessica is a UK-based writer and blogger that lives and breathes simple living. Whether you are new to minimalism or you’ve been practicing it for a while, you’ll find lots of articles on her blog.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bm2Fcg9ABWB/

Rachel Jonat | https://www.theminimalistmom.com/ 

Author of three books on minimalism and mom Rachel shares helpful tips for everyone. For instance, who ever thought of a minimalist birthday? Rachel covers birthdays, holidays and many other days where material things take center stage and how to stay sane during it all. 

Goods are cheaper to buy than ever before and that’s showing up in our garages, closets and attics.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bdh8glIlvRv/

Rebecca Shern | http://minimalwellness.com/

Becca is a registered dietitian that enjoys a simple path to health. She set out on a journey to eliminate junk (read: foods, advice, excuses, etc) by starting MinimalWellness.com. You can find her blog, recipes, social media accounts and sign up for a one-on-one meeting on her site. 

The Top Minimalism Influencers of Instagram

Remember learning about hieroglyphics, the ancient Egyptian picture writing, at school? Our society is starting to replace feelings and messages with pictures (emojis are a good example). As minimalist rooms are very easy to photograph and have a very clean aesthetic, we found some great accounts on Instagram, not only for the pictures but also the positive content. That is why we’ve included some great influencers from Instagram.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7WRJD_FM5v/

Christine A. Platt | https://www.instagram.com/afrominimalist/

Writer, literacy advocate and activist Christine spends a lot of time encouraging little humans to explore the world of words. Christine, who is also a lawyer, documents her journey into minimalism through Instagram, for exactly the above mentioned reason.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BeYARzUnoSx/

Deana and Breena | https://www.instagram.com/minimalistchics/

Deana and Breena are best friends that decide to embark on a journey together. In their journeys into minimalism they created a nine-episode limited podcast about the hurdles encountered on their adventure, as well as how adulting is working out for them. 

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BV8gJJ6hfoe/

Nia | https://www.instagram.com/she.is.awake/

Nia examines, lives and supports slow and sustainable living through an ethnic lense from Lisbon, Portugal. She was born during the Angolan Civil War and remains very engaged in her community even from abroad. While leading a minimal life, she is shaking the foundations of traditional community projects.

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Btq9SBPhEbK/

Francine Jay | http://www.missminimalist.com/about/

Author of The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify, Francine is an extraordinary minimalist. Not only does Francine promote a minimalist lifestyle, she also believes that distractions keep us away from truly loving life. 

To me, being a minimalist isn’t only about white walls and empty spaces. It’s about eliminating the distractions that keep us from fully appreciating life.

Why did we choose these minimalists?

We chose to mention the minimalists above because they resonate with our mission. Mudita wants to aid people in eliminating distractions and focusing on what they love. By minimizing our distractions, possessions or technology we are not giving something up. We are freeing our minds to focus on things most important to us. 

Have you been influenced by anyone we haven’t mentioned? We’d love to know what you think. If you’re interested in sharing your experiences with us or writing a guest post for us, send us an email via hello@mudita.com

Please feel free to get in touch via social media (send us some photos or videos too), you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, let’s connect! To learn more about Mudita, take a look at our website and our other posts. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share and recommend it! We need to go online to find people who’d like to spend more time offline.

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