This powerful word is the title of a book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown that occupied much of my thinking over the month of December. The basic value proposition of Essentialism is that only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.
The way of the Essentialist isn’t about setting New Year’s resolutions to say “no” more, or about pruning your in-box, or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing constantly to ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?” There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital. The way of the Essentialist involves learning to tell the difference—learning to filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential.
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.
The principles of essentialism reach into all corners of our lives. More than any kind of method, essentialism represents a mindset that will become increasingly important as the options available through a networked world continue to increase.
I would strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Essentialism and think about how it might apply in your life.
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