Hey! How’s everything on your end? Happy November to you.
I recently finished a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.
Essentialism is about "making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential."
In other words, it’s not about how to get more things done or doing less for the sake of doing less. It’s about meeting your highest level of contribution, aka the right thing the right way at the right time.
Since reading the book, I’ve tried to make greater efforts to honor my true feelings and decisions, to be more comfortable with starting small, to celebrate progression, to learn about my deal breakers and set boundaries. That’s what I often struggle with–I pride myself on being a resourceful, helpful person, but sometimes I stretch myself too thin that leaves me feeling like my own time has been snatched from me.
We each have a set amount of energy and time to dedicate towards making the highest level of contribution to our work and craft, whatever that is for you.
It might be helpful to ask yourself:
- What do I feel deeply inspired by?
- What am I particularly talented at?
- If I could be truly excellent at one thing, what would it be?
Once you’ve defined what it is, you can’t compromise on your ability to make it happen for yourself. That means making tradeoffs and saying no more often than not to increase the chances of achieving the outcome you want.
I thought it would be helpful to share some key notes because I’ve been having conversations with old and new friends that fall on some of the concepts presented in Essentialism.
- We have the right to choose. If we forfeit that right, someone else will choose for us. Don’t let go of your ability to choose for yourself. “I choose to…, not I have to…”
- If it’s not a clear yes, it’s a clear no.
- If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
- Many problems and challenges will accumulate when you try to take on every task, request and opportunity that comes your way. Ask yourself, "Which problem do I want? What do I want to go big on?"
- Don’t fall for the status quo bias which is the tendency to continue doing something simply because it’s always been done.
- Space and creating space for yourself is important to figuring out what really matters to you.
- Stop making casual commitments. Pause for five seconds before you agree to something. Remind yourself that the more you think about what you’re giving up when you say yes to someone, the easier it is to say no.
- Have a clear understanding of what you give up when you say yes to things that may or may not ultimately matter to you.
- Boundaries are empowering. They protect your time and energy to avoid letting other demands or distractions get in the way of your needs and priorities.
- Make a list of your deal breakers–types of requests and activities you refuse to say yes to unless they align with your priorities.
- Every use of your time, energy or resources has to justify itself anew. If something no longer fits with your current agenda, get rid of it.
- Create your own clear overarching intent that enables you to always be in tune with yourself. Regularly compare activities or behaviors to your personal intent, and if they don’t match or are incorrect, edit them or let them go.
Did you find these helpful? Have you read or heard of the book?
Wherever you’re at in life, grinding away, pursuing your passion, taking a leap, plotting your next moves: keep going and don’t forget to take care of yourself.
In other news, I'm headed to Vancouver tomorrow for a few days. I'll be speaking on the music panel at the 20th Vancouver Asian Film Festival. The founder Barbara Lee read my post on leaving SoundCloud and invited me to be part of the panel. I'm grateful that the post has reached people I never imagined I would connect with at this point. It will be my first legit speaking opportunity, so wish me luck.