06 May 2014

What is essential?

A friend recently sent me Greg McKeown’s article The Difference Between Successful and Very Successful People which resonated, piqued my curiosity, and led me to buy his new book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less to dive deeper.  

What is essential? That’s the key question the book explores, along with strategies to eliminate what is not and how to focus on what really matters. (Most things don’t matter!)

We live in a world of abundance, with more choices than ever before. How do we manage this positive dilemma?   

I remember going to the library, using the card catalog of course, to see if there was a book about a specific subject. Now, we run a quick online search and are presented with an overwhelmingly array of results. What is signal and what is noise? (Most of it is noise!)

We humans like to focus on technology and innovation, but are those really the most important factors influencing us and the world we live in today? ...or is our ability to choose? McKeown quotes Peter Drucker:

"In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time - literally - substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it."

Are you prepared?

Think deeply about what is important to you, what is absolutely essential. Once you are clear about that, it becomes much easier to make choices.  

Say “yes” to the things that are essential and really matter to you. Don’t feel bad about saying “no” to the things that don’t. It’s your life. The choices are yours.  

Making choices can be challenging. Perhaps the only thing that is harder is to not make choices, because then they will be made for you. 

Make choices.

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