Essay essentials with reading

what are the essential elements in essay writing and essay essentials with readings 6th edition pdf
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Published Date:03-07-2017
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What Is Minimalism? To be a minimalist you must live with less than 100 things, and you can’t own a car or a home or a TV, and you can’t have a career, and you have to be able to live in exotic places all over the world, and you have to write a blog, and you can’t have any children, and you have to be a young white male from a privileged background. OK, we’re joking. Obviously. But people who often dismiss minimalism as some sort of fad or trend usually mention some of the above “restrictions” as to why they could “never be a minimalist.” The truth is that minimalism isn’t about any of those things, but it can help you accomplish all of that stuff if you’d like to (well, except minimalism can’t help you become a young white male if you aren’t one. But who gives a shit what color your skin is anyway?) If you desire to live with less than 100 things or not own a car or to travel all over the world without fear, minimalism can help. But that’s not the point. The point is that minimalism is a tool to help you achieve freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from worry, freedom from overwhelm, freedom from guilt, freedom from depression, freedom from enslavement. Freedom. It is, however, OK to own a car or own a house or have children or have a career. If these things are necessary to you, then that’s OK. There are tons of successful 11 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusWhat Is Minimalism? minimalists who do some or all of these things. Leo Babauta has a family and six children and writes one of the most impactful websites in the world, and Joshua Becker has a career he enjoys and a family he loves and a house and a car in Vermont. Conversely, Colin Wright owns 51 things and travels all over the world, Everett Bogue writes a blog and lives in San Francisco and Chicago and Seattle—and wherever else he wants to live—without a job, and Tammy Strobel is completely car-free. All of these people are minimalists even though they are vastly different. So how can they all be so different and yet still be minimalists? That brings us back to our original question: what is minimalism? Minimalism is a tool to achieve fulfillment in life. It is a tool to achieve happiness, which is (let’s face it) what we are all looking for. We all want to be happy. Minimalism can help. There are no rules in minimalism. Rather, minimalism is simply about stripping away the unnecessary things in your life so you can focus on what’s important. We believe that there are four important areas in everyone’s lives: your health, your relationships, your mission, and your passions. Typically these things overlap, and we realize what’s important to us may not be important to you. Minimalism has helped us in several ways, including: Reclaiming our time • Ridding ourselves of excess stuff • Enjoying our lives • Discovering meaning in our lives • Living in the moment • 12 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusWhat Is Minimalism? Focusing on what’s important • Pursuing our passions • Finding happiness • Doing anything we want to do • Finding our missions • Experiencing freedom • Creating more, consuming less • How has minimalism helped us with these things? Well, minimalism is a lifestyle choice. Minimalists choose to get rid of the unnecessary in favor of what’s important. But the level of specificity is up to you. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself. Thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life. Through these essays we intend to give you some ideas of how to determine these things and how to achieve a minimalist lifestyle without having to succumb to some sort of strict code or set of rules. A word of warning though: it isn’t easy to take the first few steps, but the journey gets much easier and more rewarding the further you go; the first steps into minimalism often take some radical changes in mindset, actions, and habits. So, if we had to sum it up in one sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool to get rid of superfluous excess in favor of focusing on what’s important in life so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. 13 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusBe On the Mountain by Joshua Millburn Last February I had an epiphany (albeit a small epiphany as far as epiphanies are concerned). I was sitting in a coffeehouse writing a piece of fiction, something that had something to do with my life. Somehow it turned into 47 pages about my life and ended up being a pseudo journal entry instead of a piece of fiction. One theme recurred throughout those 47 pages: living in the moment. Or, said another way, enjoying the moment. It’s what Rob Bell refers to as “being on the mountain.” If you don’t know who Rob Bell is, he’s a hip, cool, Gen-X, new-age Christian guy with whom you’d like to have a coffee and a conversation (irrespective of your religious leanings). I am not particularly religious, but I enjoy his perspective. Rob tells a story about Moses’ journey to the top of a mountain. I’ll omit most of the religious and historical details for the sake of attenuation (and those details aren’t relevant to the moral of this story anyway). In the story, God tells Moses to travel to the top of the mountain. Then, in what is an ostensibly redundant (and odd) request, God commands Moses to ‘be on the mountain.’ To which, I imagine, Moses was like, ‘um, yeah, I heard you the first time. You already said to go to the top of the mountain.’ But Moses didn’t get the point right away. God didn’t want Moses to go to the top of the mountain and then start thinking about 15 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusBe On the Mountain what he needed to do next. God didn’t want Moses to start worrying about how he was going to get down, or worry about whether or not he turned off the lights before he left the house, or worry about what bills needed to be paid this week. God just wanted Moses to be on the mountain, to enjoy the moment. The moral? Enjoy the moment. How? Don’t spend your time in perpetual planning. Or perpetual worry. Or perpetual whatever. Instead, just enjoy the moment. Notice what all of your efforts have done for you. They got you to the top of the mountain, after all. Just take a moment and be on the mountain. Be on the mountain. Be. That’s what I want. I am committed to being on the mountain, to enjoying my life. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan. I just enjoy the planning process more. It doesn’t mean I don’t work hard. I just enjoy working hard, whether it’s writing or leading people. When you enjoy it, it’s not work anyway. In fact, I avoid calling it work altogether. I call it my mission. How about when you’re doing something you dislike? Or worse, something you hate? Ask yourself, how can I do this and enjoy it too? The only way to get a better 16 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusBe On the Mountain answer is to ask a better quality question. So ask yourself, how can I enjoy this? You will get better results if you do this. I get better results when I enjoy the process. Better health. Better relationships. More growth. Greater contribution. A better life. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t worry about the future. Just be on the mountain. 17 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusClear Your Damn Plate by Joshua Millburn I don’t own much, but I have a lot to live for. And so do you. But you know this already. Paring down my possessions over the last two years has afforded me more free time and more freedom and a less stressful life. That’s why I’m trying a new experiment this month. I’m going to clear my damn plate—a phrase my mother used to use with vigor—and focus on one thing at a time (viz. place one thing on my empty plate at a time). There is little-to-no physical clutter in my life, but I still get stressed out sometimes; I get stressed out by self-imposed deadlines, by other people’s expectations, by my own standards of supposed accomplishment, by constant interruptions that I can control. I am in control, just as you are in control. We must remember that. This is my life, I am in charge, and I have the freedom to do what I want. So next month I’m going to clear my plate, and I’m going to do only one thing at a time. All the time. I’m not going to take my computer with me when I want to read a book or exercise or visit a friend. I’m not going to check my phone when I’m eating a meal with someone. I’m not going to brush my teeth while I browse through email. 18 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusClear Your Damn Plate I’m going to be in the moment. If I’m on the Internet, then I’ll give my full attention to that, not the other way around. If I’m reading a book, I’ll read a book. If I’m writing, I will write. If I’m interacting with you, I’ll interact with you, uninterrupted. I will live my life, one moment at a time. The moments of our lives deserve our full attention. So let’s give our lives the attention they deserve and start living a more meaningful life, one that we don’t hate, one that we love. Care to join me? Want to clear your damn plate for a month? Let’s do it together. 19 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusPart Three Emotional HealthOn Happiness by Joshua Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus Happiness is an expansive concept, it goes without saying. At its fundament, the term “happiness” is abstract and abstruse and can be a mind-numbing, migraine-inducing thing to try to explain with words. But it was this complex idea—the thought of being truly happy—that led us to live simpler lives. Happiness was at the precipice of our journey. It was happiness that led us to minimalism. Eventually. But let’s rewind. Before we discovered the concepts of minimalism, and before we understood the importance of simplifying our lives, we were successful young professionals from Dayton, Ohio. But we were only ostensibly successful. You see, back then people saw two best friends with their large homes with more bedrooms than inhabitants. They were envious. They saw our six-figure jobs, our luxury cars, our new gadgets, and our life of opulence, and they thought, These guys have it figured out. I want to be just like them. They saw all of those things—all of that superfluous stuff—and they just knew that we were successful. After all, we were living the American Dream, weren’t we? But the truth is that we weren’t successful at all. Maybe we looked successful— displaying our status symbols as if they were trophies—but we weren’t truly successful. 21 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusOn Happiness Because even with all of our stuff, we knew that we were not satisfied with our lives. We knew that we were not happy. And we discovered that working 70 to 80 hours per week and buying even more stuff didn’t fill the void. In fact, it only brought us more debt and more anxiety and more fear and more loneliness and more guilt and more overwhelm and more paranoia and more depression. It was a very solipsistic existence. What’s worse, we found out that we didn’t have control of our own time and thus didn’t control our own lives. And then, as our lives were spiraling downward in ever-diminishing circles towards empty oblivion, we inadvertently discovered minimalism. Or perhaps it discovered us, as it were. It was a beacon in the night. We lingered curiously on the limbic portions of minimalism’s perimeter, scouring feverishly through Internet page after Internet page looking for more information and guidance and enlightenment, watching and learning and trying to understand what this whole minimalism thing was all about. Through months of research we traveled farther and farther down the rabbit hole, and over time we had discovered a group people without a lot of things but with myriad happiness and passion and freedom, things for which we desperately yearned. Eventually we embraced these concepts—the concepts of minimalism and simplicity—as a way of life and discovered that we too could be happy, but it wasn’t through owning more stuff, it wasn’t through accumulation. We took back control of our lives so we could focus on what’s important, so we could focus on life’s deeper meaning. 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 22 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusOn Happiness 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. Minimalism, in its many forms, is a tool that allowed us to simplify our lives so that we could focus on what’s important. We were able to strip away the excess stuff and focus on living meaningful, happy, passionate, free lives. We invite you to join us. Membership is free. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live a meaningful life. 23 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusLetting Go of Sentimental Items by Joshua Millburn My mother died in 2009. It was an incredibly difficult time in my life, it goes without saying. She lived a thousand miles away and after she passed it was my responsibility to vacate her apartment in Florida. It was a small, one-bedroom place, but it was packed wall-to-wall with her belongings. My mother had great taste—she could have been an interior designer—and none of her stuff was junk. Nevertheless, there was a lot of stuff in her home. Mom was always shopping, always accumulating more stuff. She had antique furniture throughout her apartment, a stunning oak canopy-bed that consumed almost her entire bedroom, two closets jam packed with clothes, picture frames standing on every flat surface, original artwork hanging on the walls, and tasteful creative decorations in every nook and cranny and crevasse. There was 64 years of accumulation in that apartment. So I did what any son would do: I rented a large truck from U-Haul. Then I called a storage place back in Ohio to make sure they had a big enough storage unit. The cost of the truck was 1600. The storage facility was 120 per month for the size I needed. 24 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusLetting Go of Sentimental Items Financially, I could afford this, but I quickly found out that the emotional cost was much higher. Memories At first I didn’t want to let go of anything. If you’ve ever lost a parent or a loved one or been through a similarly emotional time, then you understand exactly how hard it was for me to let go of any of those possessions. So instead of letting go, I was going to cram every trinket and figurine and piece of oversized furniture into that Lilliputian storage locker in Ohio. Floor to ceiling. That way I knew that Mom’s stuff was there if I ever wanted it, if I ever needed access to it for some incomprehensible reason. I even planned to put a few pieces of Mom’s furniture in my home as subtle reminders of her. I started boxing up her belongings. Every picture frame and every little porcelain doll and every white doily on every shelf. I packed every bit of her that remained. Or so I thought. And then I looked under her bed… Among the organized chaos that comprised the crawlspace beneath her bed, there were five boxes, each labeled with a number. Each numbered box was sealed with packing tape. I cut through the tape and found old papers from my elementary school days from nearly a quarter of a century ago. Spelling tests, cursive writing lessons, artwork, it was all there, every shred of paper from my first five years of school. It was evident that she hadn’t accessed the sealed boxes in years. And yet Mom had held on to these things because she was trying to hold on to pieces of me, to pieces of the past, much like I was attempting to hold on to pieces of her and her past. 25 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusLetting Go of Sentimental Items That’s when I realized my retention efforts were futile. I could hold on to her memories without her stuff, just as she had always remembered me and my childhood and all of our memories without ever accessing those sealed boxes under her bed. She didn’t need papers from twenty-five years ago to remember me, just as I didn’t need a storage locker filled with her stuff to remember her. I called U-Haul and canceled the truck. And then, over the next week, I started donating all of her stuff to places and people who could actually use it. Lessons Learned Yes, it was difficult to let go, but I realized quite a few things about our relationship between memories and possessions during the entire experience: I am not my stuff. We are more than our possessions. • Our memories are not under our beds. Memories are within us, not within our • things. An item that is sentimental for us can be an item that is useful for someone else. • Holding on to stuff weighs on us mentally and emotionally. Letting go is freeing. • You can take pictures of items you want to remember. • Old photographs can be scanned. • It is important to note that I don’t think that sentimental items are bad or evil or that holding on to them is wrong. I don’t. Rather, I think the perniciousness of sentimental items—and sentimentality in general—is far more subtle. If you want to get rid of an 26 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusLetting Go of Sentimental Items item but the only reason you are holding on to it is for sentimental reasons—if it is weighing on you—then perhaps it’s time to get rid of it, perhaps it is time to free yourself of the weight. That doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of everything though. Giant Leap or Baby Steps When I returned to Ohio, I had four boxes of Mom’s photographs in my trunk, which I would later scan and backup online. I found a scanner that made scanning the photos easy. Those photos are digital now; they can be used in digital picture frames instead of collecting dust in a basement somewhere. I no longer have the clutter of their boxes laying around and weighing me down, and they can never be destroyed in a fire. I donated everything else. All of it. Literally. I donated every piece of furniture and all of her clothes and every decorative item she had strewn throughout her home. That was a giant leap for me, but I felt as if it needed to be done to remove the weight— the emotional gravitas—of the situation from my shoulders. You see, I don’t need Mom’s stuff to remind me of her. There are traces of her everywhere. In the way I act, in the way I treat others, even in my smile. She’s still there, and she was never part of her stuff. Whenever I give advice, I tend to give two options. The first option is usually the giant leap option, the dive-in-head-first option (e.g., get rid of everything, smash your TV, throw out all your stuff, quickly rip off the band-aid, etc.). This option isn’t for everyone, and it’s often not for me, but in this case, that’s what I did. I donated everything. 27 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusLetting Go of Sentimental Items The second option is to take baby steps, and it works because it helps you build momentum by taking action. Look at it this way: what sentimental item can you get rid of today that you’ve wanted to get rid of for a while? Start there. Then pick one or two things per week and gradually increase your efforts as you feel more comfortable. Whichever option you choose, the important part is that you take action. That is to say, never leave the scene of a good idea without taking action. What will you do today to part ways with sentimental items that are weighing you down? 28 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusJealousy Is a Wasted Emotion by Joshua Millburn We all get jealous, don’t we? Actually, no, not everyone experiences jealousy as an emotion. I don’t get jealous. That’s a weird thing to read, isn’t? Well, it’s a weird thing to say, too. But it’s true. I don’t experience jealously as an emotion. I experience sadness, happiness, anger, euphoria, and a plethora of other emotions, but not jealousy. Why? Because, unlike many emotions, I can choose to not experience jealousy. After years of observing people getting jealous in myriad ways, I understand that our culture is riddled with jealousy and envy and greed, all of which are by-products of our competitive, consumer driven culture. What’s worse is that it’s far more pernicious than we think. Competition breeds jealousy, though we often give to prettier labels like “competitive spirit” or “stick-to- itiveness” or “ambition.” But the truth is that jealousy leads to certain cultural imperatives—e.g., keeping up with the Joneses, as it were. Thus, we envy Mr. and Mrs. Jones for their money and their large house and their luxury cars and their big boat and their weekend retreat and their fancy vacations and all of their stuff—all of the trappings of our heavily-mediated society. 29 Joshua Millburn Ryan NicodemusJealousy Is a Wasted Emotion But we don’t get jealous solely over material possessions. We also get jealous over our relationships. We think our friends don’t spend enough time with us, our lovers don’t care about us as much as they should, our customers aren’t loyal enough. It all revolves around us. He doesn’t spend enough time with me. She doesn’t care enough about me. We think this way because it’s hard to back away from ourselves, it’s hard to realize I am not the center of the universe. There is good news though. Like our televisions, we can chose to turn it off. We can choose to remove jealousy from our emotional arsenal. And like TV, it’s not always easy to turn off (it sure seems interesting sometimes, doesn’t it?) But turning off jealousy can significantly improve one’s emotional health. Because, at the end of the day, jealousy is never useful. Many negative emotions can be useful—pain tells us something is wrong, fear tells us to look before we leap, etc.—but jealousy, no matter how jealous we get, will never help. But How? The easiest way to turn jealousy off is to stop questioning other people’s intentions. We often get jealous because we think a person meant one thing by their actions, when they meant something totally different. And the truth is that you’ll never know someone’s real intent, so it’s a waste of time to question it. If you’re struggling with questioning someone’s intent, you can do one of two things: 1. Ask them what they meant by their actions/words. 30 Joshua Millburn Ryan Nicodemus