A new documentary called A Small Good Thing proposes we can find happiness and connection in simplicity and community without necessarily pursuing a life centered on accruing “stuff.”
The second feature-length film from Award-Winning Pamela Tanner Boll (Born Into Brothels), A Small Good Thing shares five different stories of people who have intentionally chosen to eschew materialism to pursue a more holistic happiness. All are residents of the Berkshire Mountains in the Northeastern U.S., and each helps Boll answer the question, “What does it mean to live a good life?
The first two minutes set the backdrop for the subjects with soundbites from academics weighing in on how a life driven by economic gains and individual pursuits doesn’t bring happiness:
Economic growth doesn’t guarantee happiness. In fact, there is a recent study that found any dollar that you make beyond $75K a year doesn’t buy you any more happiness."
Pushing the thesis further, another suggests that a focus on income and wealth has notable negative effects:
We’ve got so much material wealth, but we are all on anti-depressants. We’re all anxious, we are all depressed. We are not happy”
The film features pastoral scenes of the Berkshires...and the lives of six people who are doing things differently: a livestock farmer, yoga teacher, a couple that farms produce, a social worker, and a student. All have decided to look beyond the world of material possessions.
Sean Stanton, the livestock farmer, also sits as a county selectman in his local government. He espouses that he is looking to make $50-60K a year with his grass-fed cattle operation. He doesn’t feel that he needs to earn more than that because his feelings of success and fulfilment in life come from living out his passions and connecting to the people around him.
Each story lays out the the same general recipe for the “good life”: happiness is not a product of money, it’s a product of connecting to the natural world, the greater good, and the community around us.
A Small Good Thing leaves you with an incredibly positive and inspired outlook (which resonates so thoroughly with the mission of Wellness Warrior!). We all have an amazing opportunity for healing and positive change when we connect with our community, but this connection doesn’t happen on its own. We need to actively pursue it along with the change that we want to see. A Small Good Thing is a powerful reminder that this pursuit is entirely possible.
Boll and her team are offering licenses to screen the film at home, within a community or for educational purposes. if you’re interested in learning more, check out the options here.
Read all stories by Damon Cory-Watson