Essentialism. Saying Yes and No To the Right Things

One of my goals this year was to simplify and maximize my schedule. I wanted to give my attention to what mattered most and stop wasting my energy on things that weren’t necessary. All those “good” things that aren’t the “best” thing.

When a friend recommends a book, I take note of it. When several friends mention the same book, I have to at least take a glance at it on amazon. In this case, this is a book that was recommended by so many people I’ve lost count.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

The title sounds like a lovely invitation. I read the book at the exact right time to process it and apply it.

In a nutshell, this is the message of Essentialism:

“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.”

Permission to let go.

It gave me the permission and kick in the pants I needed to let go of things. I asked some good questions about some of the things I was doing? If I were asked today to do ____ (fill in the blank with something you are currently commited to), would I say, “yes” again? If not, maybe it’s time to graciously let go of that commitment. Now that’s a powerful question.

You Might Disappoint Someone.

The people-pleaser in me objected. I want so much for people to be happy with my decisions. Knowing that someone is disappointed or disapproves impacts me more than it should. Why was I willing to do things I shouldn’t be doing just to preserve someone’s opinion of me? Even worse, why was I prioritizing the wrong people’s opinion?

I learned something that surprised me. This book didn’t just help me with my  ability to filter my decisions. It also helped me appreciate the “no”s I received from others. I’ve been one who has been disappointed when someone tells me they can no longer do something. I’ve wanted to convince them they were wrong. This book helped me realize that an honest “no” is a gift. When a friend communicates healthy boundaries and I accept those boundaries, that relationship will be stronger for it. Fuzzy boundaries or disrespected boundaries eventually kill relationships.

Don’t you love it when a book finds you at just the right time? Have you read Essentialism? What did you think?

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