Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” Greg McKeown
Essentialism is the journey of life with purpose. I believe that life which is without purpose grows busy, cluttered, chaotic, stressful, overwhelming and results in less fulfillment and meaning.
It ‘s hard to live life effectively by answering to absolutely all demands whether externally or internally. We have to make choices and select those activities that carry purpose to achieving our desired pursuit. This book Essentialism delivers this message.
As the title suggests and as Greg would describe it, essentialism is the art and disciplined pursuit of less. It doesn’t mean destroying ambitions and dreams and becoming a couch potato. Nor does it mean being more productive by doing more in less time and therefore creating a sense of greater time freedom. Seriously, it’s about cutting out all the “shit” from daily life.
I felt this book was a kind of a cross between work by the Minimalists and the book by Gary Keller – The One Thing. Both I’ve read and reviewed here on The Hidden Why.
While much of the material is information that I am familiar with it was presented from a different perspective. I think whenever we visit things through different eyes we gain greater insight and clarity. When the message is delivered well, it can alter another’s perspective indefinitely. If you want to create more purpose – this book provides.
One perspective that I am utterly obsessive with right now is thought by Immanuel Kant, a 18th-century German Philosopher who wrote an essay on his thought around enlightenment. It resonates with me deeply because it is aligned with my overall ambition behind The Hidden Why.
He described enlightenment as “man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.” My interpretation of this is that it signifies the importance of independent or self-guided thought and action as it matters to living a life of meaning – an enlightened life. For as long as we remain under control and at the will of external demands we will be less capable of living the life we desire.
Essentialism carries that message also. It is about listening to the inner voice. It is about reducing external noise so we can connect within and be guided with as much integrity as we can muster at any given moment to our values.
It is about saying ‘no’ to what isn’t aligned with our Life Compass and saying ‘yes’ to those things that are. For those of you who may not be familiar with my work, the Life Compass is a tool that I’ve designed that assists us to navigate life with greater purpose. And in doing so raising our levels of freedom, fulfillment, and happiness.
Saying “no” means we also have to master the skill of saying ‘no’ to ourselves. If I said yes to all those things that my little heart desired I would be unable to achieve anything. We all have this inner voice we battle with, and like a constant game of tug-o-war, we are ever seeking pleasures, in which the human biology has designed us to favour. Pleasures are grand, but they are often counter-productive and counter-intuitive to live with purpose. And yet we often pursue them anyway.
We must become mindful as to what matters and practice an ability to stand our grounds when challenged. I have found it easy to say no to external demands but harder to say no to myself. The mind can be compelling at times regardless of my best intentions.
As you follow the paths of an essentialist lifestyle purpose seems to become more natural. I have found the more I have taken the time to assess my life, contemplate the mind, thoughts, desires and always questioning what matters, the easier it has been to remove the unnecessary. It is a matter of always checking in with yourself and staying grounded.
One way I do this is to ask myself, “Will this matter at the end of my life?” This question relates to all our thoughts, actions and possessions. If I can’t connect the dots as to why it does matter, then it’s not that necessary. And it has to be removed.
I think books like this share an important message. It’s a message that goes beyond productivity or success in business. It’s a message of how to live a meaningful life.
In the modern world, we are ruled by too much that is unnecessary, and it is noticeably affecting the quality of our life. As we get swept away in the torrents of life, we lessen the focus on meeting the everyday fundamentals of what it means to be human, and that is causing unessential suffering and taking the meaning away from what it’s like to actually live. You’ll enjoy this read.
If this book sounds of interest you can purchaseEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less here.
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Peace, passion, and purpose…
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