“Our lives are frittered away by detail, simplify, simplify,simplify. “Henry David Thoreau.
Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload?
Have you ever felt both overwhelmed and underutilized?
Do you ever feel busy but not productive?
If you answered yes to any of these the way out is to become an ESSENTIALIST.
This is how Author Greg McKeown describes his book which he wrote in the year 2014.
Though the book has been around for quite a few years, my personal interest and journey into Minimalism over the past 4 years has kindled an interest in Essentialism.
For me a random search on Minimalism changed the way I looked at my possessions. As I went deeper into it, a slow and steady decluttering attitude took over my life. Minimalism became a part and parcel of my daily life. I did not give up everything. In fact, I like to call myself a Rainbow Minimalist. Over the years, I have consciously eliminated a lot of stuff from my life.
In my pursuit of a Minimalist lifestyle, I happened to come across Essentialism. This book and its concepts have taken my journey to a whole new level.
The questions force you to experience life from a completely different perspective. I feel, in this age of information overload, busyness, pandemic, burnout and FOMO, this book will give you a fresh new perspective to handle the decision overload and expectations on our time, money and energy we face on a daily basis.
Here, I have compiled a few concepts and ideas that I found relevant and interesting enough to try and apply personally. I would encourage you to read this book and form your own opinions best suited to your lifestyle.
Here are a few snippet from the book that have become very popular
“If you don’t prioritize your life,someone else will choose to”
” Only a few things really matter and I can choose to do anything but not everything “
” To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make “
Let’s break down a few points from the book and apply it to our daily life.
1 Greg McKeown defines Essentialism as the consistent and focused pursuit of less but better.
How are you spending your time? If we take up household chores, are we exhausted by doing everything or do we focus on what are the necessary things to do and eliminate the rest. This will give us more time to spend with our family.
2. Opportunity cost.
According to Greg McKeown, there is an Opportunity cost attached to everything “Everytime we say yes to one thing, we’re inevitably saying No to many other things “
This will make us seriously rethink our decisions and help us prioritize our resources and time.
Greg McKeown says that we have numerous opportunities and we cannot invest our time and energy in all of them. Some may be good or excellent, some are unimportant and very few are crucial and essential. We tend to waste our precious resources, money and time on too many things that might not be important. Be selective and focus on the absolutely necessary and ignore the rest. It’s basically doing the right thing at the right time.
Greg McKeown lays out 3 Phases of Essentialism
1. Explore your options
2. Eliminate the Non Essentials
3. Execute routinely
Let’s break this down in simple lay man terms.
1. Explore your options.
You don’t have to spend your energy unnecessarily. If you take the example of cooking, figure out what is already available in the market or pantry. Rustle up simple meals that don’t take up much time or energy. Stick to the basics. If you want more family time,don’t watch TV. If you run out of products, look for alternatives. Spend time where you think is essential and not against your wishes.
2. Eliminate the Non Essentials.
We all are guilty of this one. It is very difficult to give up something, even if we don’t need it anymore, just because we have either invested a lot of money or our resources. The best way to approach anything is if I have to buy it again,will I pay this amount? This method can be used to check the real value of any item and decide to let it go. Another way can be to ask yourself if the opportunity had not come my way, would I still pursue it? If the answer is no, it is not Essential.
3. Execute routinely.
Here we can explore our struggle to routinely say NO effectively. Also we suffer from FOMO on a regular basis. This fear of missing out or FOMO is the reason most of us are scared to say NO. Our lives will be more peaceful and stress-free if we can discern to say NO.
Greg McKeown lays out a strategy to say NO.
Rate any opportunity on a scale from Zero to One Hundred.
Ninety and above are only the Essential items or activities. Anything below Ninety, you can say NO to and don’t feel bad about it.
Simply put, everyday you have to make a lot of decisions as there will be plenty of opportunities. This is Opportunity Cost.
You have to decide the Essential from the Non Essential. You can’t leave it to others to make decisions for you. This book will force you to make changes that put more value to your life.
A must read for all, highly recommended during these times.
1. What is the difference between Essentialism and Minimalism?
The why behind Minimalism and Essentialism are the same. Essentialism offers the focus of less but better.
2. Is Essentialism an extreme way of life?
No, in fact it will simplify your life.
3. How can I say NO without annoying anyone?
Follow the tips in the book. In fact, we are scared of FOMO. Eliminate FOMO(Fear of missing out)and you will be surprised at the ease with which you will refuse unnessery things, events and people and enjoy a focused lifestyle resulting in a rich and fulfilling life.