Quote

Essentialism

bookRecently, my wife and I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It has revolutionized our lives, to say the least. I also came across a related book on the topic called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. The following quote added much value to our lives, especially as we seek to worship Christ unencumbered by nonessentials. We hope it does the same for you:

“As a quote attributed to Victor Hugo, the French dramatist and novelist, puts it, ‘Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.’ ‘Less but better’ is a principle whose time has come.

Everything changes when we give ourselves permission to be more selective in what we choose to do. At once, we hold the key to unlock the next level of achievement in our lives. There is tremendous freedom in learning that we can eliminate the nonessentials, that we are no longer controlled by other people’s agendas, and that we get to choose. With that invincible power we can discover our highest point of contribution, not just to our lives or careers, but to the world.

What if schools eliminated busywork and replaced it with important projects that made a difference to the whole community? What if all students had time to think about their highest contribution to their future so that when they left high school they were not just starting on the race to nowhere?

What if businesses eliminated meaningless meetings and replaced them with space for people to think and work on their most important projects? What if employees pushed back against time-wasting e-mail chains, purposeless projects, and unproductive meetings so they could be utilized at their highest level of contribution to their companies and in their careers?

What if society stopped telling us to buy more stuff and instead allowed us to create more space to breathe and think? What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like?

What if we stopped being oversold the value of having more and being undersold the value of having less?

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?

What if the whole world shifted from the undisciplined pursuit of more to the disciplined pursuit of less … only better?

I have a vision of people everywhere having the courage to live a life true to themselves instead of the life others expect of them.

I have a vision of everyone—children, students, mothers, fathers, employees, managers, executives, world leaders—learning to better tap into more of their intelligence, capability, resourcefulness, and initiative to live more meaningful lives. I have a vision of all these people courageously doing what they came here on this earth to do. I have a vision of starting a conversation that becomes a movement.

To harness the courage we need to get on the right path, it pays to reflect on how short life really is and what we want to accomplish in the little time we have left. As poet Mary Oliver wrote: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?’

I challenge you to pause more to ask yourself that question.

I challenge you here and now to make a commitment to make room to enjoy the essential. Do you think for one second you will regret such a decision? Is it at all likely you will wake up one day and say, ‘I wish I had been less true to myself and had done all the nonessential things others expected of me’?

I challenge you to let me help you to create a system that “unfairly” tips the scales in favor of the essential few over the trivial many.

I challenge you to invest in becoming more of an Essentialist. This book is not about going back to some simpler time. It’s not about eschewing e-mail or disconnecting from the Web or living like a hermit. That would be backwards movement. It is about applying the principles of “less but better” to how we live our lives now and in the future. That is innovation….Just imagine what would happen to our world if every person on the planet eliminated one good but nonessential activity and replaced it with something truly essential.

Years from now (hopefully many), when you are at the end of your life, you may still have regrets. But seeking the way of the Essentialist is unlikely to be one of them. What would you trade then to be back here now for one chance—this chance—to be true to yourself? On that day, what will you hope you decided to do on this one?”

  1. McKeown, Greg. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (pp. 25-28). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
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