What’s essentialism and why should you care

“Simplify, simplify.” “Just one simplify would’ve sufficed.”

On a recent car trip, I was listening to Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

The main premise of the book is to help us focus on the essential few and forget about the trivial many.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

What’s the essential?

What’s the trivial?

And why should we care?

I wish I had an easy answer to these. Or any answer at all.

So I’m going to try to find an answer to these questions in this issue.

First things first, why should we care about focusing on the essential?

In today’s world there’s too much of everything.

Too many books. Too many courses. Too many marketing strategies. Too many people to choose from. Too many ideas. Too many places in the world to visit.

Since our life on earth is finite, if we don’t develop a mindset that focuses us on the essential, we’ll get lost in the trivial many. The ideas that are going to help us grow, the key people that are going to help us succeed, the one change in our business that’s going to help us grow faster…

Now let’s try to define what’s essential. 

What is essential?

Essential for me is what resides at the core of everything. 

Something without which we cannot function or the action we’re trying cannot succeed.

It is the main idea in a conversation. If we’d subtract that idea from the conversation and the conversation doesn’t make sense anymore, that’s the essential.

It is the one person among all your friends with the right mindset that can elevate us, the one service we should focus on offering in our business, the few books that are going to have the most impact…

Trivial is everything else we can obviate and that’s going to probably be a loss of time. A distraction.

Remember I said this is easier said than done?

The tricky part is that if we don’t focus on extracting what’s essential, our brains will default to picking up on everything, no matter the importance, and we’ll lose focus.

An easy way we can use to distinguish this is to simply ask ourselves whether this is going to help us with whatever goal we have, and if the answer is not a hell yes! then it’s a no.

The complexity now resides in knowing what’s the goal we’re pursuing. That’s the essential.

Let me put some examples.

You’re wondering if you should hire someone for your company. The goal is to move the company forward. After having interviewed several candidates you ask yourself “Would this person help the company move forward?”. If the answer is not a hell yes! then it’s a no.

You want to buy a new pair of trousers. The goal is to buy something that you’ll wanna wear for years to come. You’re in a shop and are checking one pair. You ask yourself “Is this something I would wear for years to come?”. If the answer is not a hell yes! then it’s a no.

You’re overworking trying to maintain three different services in your company at once. Your goal is to keep your profit. You ask yourself “Is this service core to the identity and profit of the company?”. If the answer is not a hell yes! then it’s a no.

I am aware that this will not apply to everything in life. Some questions we will not know the answer for. Sometimes we won’t have any particular goal. But I find this mindset will help us minimize and simplify our overloaded lives bit by bit. 

One step at a time.

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