Simplify for Joy #4: Essentialism

Whoa! Wait, what?

Apparently, this week, we should read 'Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less' written by Greg McKeown.

Yeah... I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not spending money on something I've just started trying. That would be like buying all the gear (special trainers and gadgets included) for your first day at the gym.

Also, I've never been a very committed follower of the Self-Help genre. Having just watched 'Enlighten Us', I'm even more of a skeptic now.

Lucky for us there are CliffsNotes

Okay, actually Elaine's Notes, but whatever. We'll just use her 5 Take Aways as our homework reading for the week (while I keep working on my new morning routine):

1. Cutting nonessentials lets us live at our highest point of contribution.
The author asks us, at the end of your life, “Is it at all likely that you will say, ‘I wish I’d been less true to myself and done all the nonessential things others expected of me’?”

2. Three fallacies we need to let go of: “I have to,” “It’s so important,” and “I can do both.”
How often have you tried to do both and ended up disappointing yourself and the people you committed to? (Too often.) McKeown says we need to replace these fallacies with, “I choose to,” “Only a few things really matter,” and “I can do anything but not everything.”

3. “Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not an inherently negative part of life.
Instead of asking, ‘What do I have to give up?’ they ask, ‘What do I want to go big on.'”

4. Don’t make other people’s problems your own.
I thought this was revolutionary. McKeown believes that when we assume someone else’s problem, we do both parties a disservice. We burden ourselves, and we take away the other person’s opportunity for growth. The key is finding ways to support the person without taking ownership of the problem.

5. “Essentialists invest the time they have saved by eliminating the nonessentials into designing a system to make execution almost effortless.”
Systems allow us to execute the essentials in a way that is as friction-less as possible. (One simple application: Staying on top of the day-to-day housework allows me to be more present with my family in the moments that count.)

*What’s This?

Every week through 2017, we'll attempt one of Erica Layne's 52 Obtainable Ways to Simplify Your Life. For more info, you can read our introductory post here.


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