Essentialism

aa-essentialismThere are a lot of decent life hack books out there.  I expected that Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown would be interesting, and even helpful, based on a positive review a friend wrote on her blog.  It ended up being more than that.  Since reading it a few months ago, Essentialism has truly transformed my thinking.

In effect, I have been making different decisions when it comes to how I plan my day/week/year, how I shop, and what commitments I take on.  I have mulled over the concepts in this book many times since reading it and have recommended it to many people.

Whatever your values or priorities, they are no doubt as unique as you are.  The point is: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

Numerous times in this book, the author talks about “discerning the vital few from the trivial many” in order to make our greatest personal contributions in this life.  If we could be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?  This should give us clarity.

If you are like me, you love delving into many things and having many different experiences. But, at the end of the day, it’s important to know our priorities and what is most important, or most essential, in our lives.

While this book is about much more than material possessions, it definitely gave me new impetus for cleaning out my closet.  McKeown notes that people value things they own much more than things they don’t own.  So, when trying to decide whether to get rid of something, ask yourself how much money you would pay for it, if you didn’t own it already. If the answer is “practically nothing” or “nothing,” get rid of it!  After reading this, I gave away half the clothes in my closet, things I had been hanging onto for no good reason, for lots of years.  It felt so freeing.

What if, like the clothes in my closet, I rid myself of all the activities and commitments that clog up my life that are non-essential?  Things that are not helpful, not pleasurable, not useful in accomplishing my goals.  If it’s something that I don’t think is really important or something that I don’t truly enjoy, then why am I doing it in the first place?  This book has helped me to be more mindful.

I am trying to inch toward essentialism, one step at a time.  This might mean saying no to five commitments so that I can have more free time with my kids (one of my goals while they are young) and also take on two other commitments that will be more significant for me and my family, and will help me reach my personal goals.

The thoughts in this book are very concisely written.  I think this is a credit to the author’s views on essentialism.  Essentialism was easy to read and very motivating.  I would highly recommend this book and the author’s blog.

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2 thoughts on “Essentialism

  1. Pingback: 71 Books in 2014 | Living Everything

  2. Pingback: “It’s Been Busy!” | Living Everything

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