I started reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (Crown Business) wondering, is this going to be another self-help book to allegedly fix my life? Quickly I realized this was different.
Mr. McKeown’s version of Essentialism helped accelerate a process I’ve been working through for too long.
I’d heard less is more many times, but it’s nonsensical, less isn’t more, less is less.
Then I read the words, less but better. Less but better makes sense.
Less stuff, people, projects…but better quality. Essential.
The modern world is difficult to filter.
We’re surrounded by noise, figuratively and literally, 24/7.
TV shows, movies, special events, news, gossip, parties, vacations, causes, sports, books, apps, games, videos, memes, bands, singers, dancers, reality show celebrities, etc. – an endless flow of activity to entertain and distract us.
McKeown uses the example of your closet as a simple, but insightful lesson in essentialism.
Look through your clothes. Ask yourself, do I love this? Not, will I wear it or does it fit, but do I love it?
Do the same with TV shows. Love them or just filling or killing time? Or watching because of social pressure?
How about projects? Hobbies? Volunteering? Friends? Family? Work? Life?
Are you in a place in your life where everything seems important and has to be done?
Now filter out what is essential.
We have so many choices today, yet they often amount to chaos. We’re suffering from choice and decision fatigue.
We’re children whose corporate parents keep us obedient by learned helplessness.
Computers find us a hotel room or flight.
Experts tell us what to buy, what to like, where to go, what to do.
Soon cars will drive themselves.
Too many decisions mean the quality of those decisions deteriorate. We’re being fed a fast-food model of life, supersize it…quantity not quality.
The word priority didn’t become plural until the 1900s…how can you have more than one priority at a time? Focus on one thing, then another, then another.
Do you think when people are dying their biggest regret is:
I wish I could have worked more,
played more Candy Crush,
downloaded another app,
streamed another movie,
played another video game,
checked my email more often?
My guess is, I wish I had spent more time with people I loved
or even liked, and I wish I had been true to me, done what I wanted to do.
Why are we acquiring and keeping so many nonessentials – clothes, shoes, books, tools, toys, games…even people?
Making trade-offs with our time, energy, dreams, integrity, our lives.
We’re hyper-connected, it doesn’t mean we’re always enjoying it.
Isn’t it time to weed out the trivial from the vital?
We believe busy equals important.
Wouldn’t it be better to return to less busy and more meaning?
So I’ve challenged myself to Explore, Eliminate and Execute…To have a disciplined pursuit of less but better.
I love the thought of reducing the noise to hear only what is music.
P.S. I got this digital book at http://www.bloggingforbooks.org