What you should know about Essentialism

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

More?  Or Less?

More is a thing we’re all in pursuit of, even if we don’t know what “thing” it is.  Just have more of it.  More, more, more! It’s exhausting to pursue more.  It never ends.

Ask someone close to you what they’d like to have more of? You won’t get a short answer.  Think about all the more you could have in your life right now if you could just achieve it.  More:

  • house or houses
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • money, lots more money
  • car(s)
  • furniture
  • jewelry
  • STUFF

If immediately you believe you will be reading about giving away your life savings, living like a hermit, and wearing terrycloth clothing you’re wrong. Essentialism is a framework for choice.

Instead what about considering less? Doesn’t sound very sexy does it?

Okay, I agree and I like things that sound sexy and simple.  So, let me rephrase it the way Greg McKeown did in his book: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Less, but better!

Less, but better!

Welcome to the essentialism lifestyle. The pursuit of “less, but better” in our lives. More focus, on fewer activities, for a return magnitudes higher than the simple pursuit of more for more.  It’s not about living in a 400 square foot apartment and giving away all we’ve ever owned.  Its about discipline in following and achieving our dreams by using the power of choice (elimination) and focus (dreams).

If I could recommend five books to anyone, this book is for sure on the list. I devoured it the first time I read it, so I’m going back for a second course to make sure I didn’t leave too much meat on the bone.

I associate the essentialist set of beliefs with another leader I follow a great deal online Gary Vaynerchuk.   Gary is obsessed in focusing his efforts on the two or three things he’s really great at.  These two or three “world-class” talents can provide him the greatest return (in magnitudes of order) compared to investing his time in the 95% of shit (his words) he sucks at.

Here’s another very strong correlation i found from author and successful blogger Ramit Sethi’s, I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog. The title of his recent post 2015 The Year of More.  After you’re done reading this piece, circle back and digest what Ramit is saying.

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Here are seven of my favorite points I distilled from the book:

  1. Essentialists ask this question every day, multiple times per day.  “Is this the very most important thing I could be doing with my time or resources RIGHT NOW?
  2. “Only once you give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all, can you make your highest contribution toward what really matters
  3. Evaluate the “trivial many” vs. the “vital few” – in all aspect of our life and finances
  4. From Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter), “There are a thousand things we could be doing, buy only one or two are important”
  5. Nonessentialists = Yes to all.  Pleasers of anything and everything.
  6. Decision fatigue.  More choices = lower quality of choices.  I found this really interesting as I just read a Fast Company piece titled, “Always Wear The Same Suit”  about decision making and wardrobe choices for President Barack Obama.  He subscribes to this productivity hack.
  7. The invisible art form.  EDIT.   We should always be editing down our schedules, focuses, goals, and lifestyle.  Like a great producer taking a film from five hours to three.  Or a publisher taking a great book and simplifying it from 600 pages to a well distilled 250.  Edit, edit, edit!

I don’t want to ruin it for those who would like to consume all the book has to offer, but I do really suggest you think about how the power of choice and elimination could better impact your life.

ACTION ITEM:  I really want you to read this book.  If you don’t choose to read this book, slow down and read my seven favorite points.  They will substantially impact your life and the way you look at how your invest your time.

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