Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
A popular idea in Silicon Valley is Done is better than perfect.
As John Maxwell has written, You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.
Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; its about how to get the right things done. It doesnt 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.
Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.
Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as 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?
EVERY DAY DO SOMETHING THAT WILL INCH YOU CLOSER TO A BETTER TOMORROW. Doug Firebaugh
If it isnt a clear yes, then its a clear no.
In a reverse pilot you test whether removing an initiative or activity will have any negative consequences.
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.
Just because I was invited didnt seem a good enough reason to attend.
NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE. Anne Lamott
Once an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: I wish Id had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.6 This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials, and not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but cutting out some really good opportunities as well.
Remember that if you dont prioritize your life someone else will.
Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.
Sometimes what you dont do is just as important as what you do.
the killer question: If I didnt already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?
the pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.
The reality is, saying yes to any opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.
There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.
The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.
The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.
The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.
Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload.
We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other peoples agendas to control our lives.
Weniger aber besser. The English translation is: Less but better.
We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choicea choice is an action. It is not just something we have but something we do.
We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.
What do I feel deeply inspired by? and What am I particularly talented at? and What meets a significant need in the world?
What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?
You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.