Quick update from last week: we posted two chairs, two side tables, and a coffee table to Craigslist last week and sold two of the chairs and gave away the coffee table! Progress in downsizing and creating more space in our home!
If anyone is interested in reading more about letting go of things to make space in your life to manifest what you truly want, I highly recommend reading this book: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.
I read it a few years ago and it recently grabbed my attention again, and so I’m re-reading it as I work out on my treadmill in pursuit of True Health! Here’s a short peek into what the book is about:
The first chapter began by describing an executive who couldn’t say no. As a result, his days were filled with commitments to do things that were in no way related to his purpose and didn’t give meaning to his life or any feelings of fulfillment. He was not doing well at so many different things that his productivity suffered. The company he was working for offered him an early retirement package. He considered taking the offer and being a consultant to either another company or the one he was working for but instead, a mentor advised him to stay, but only do what he would do if he were a consultant, and nothing else.
He found it very hard to say no to requests made of him at work, so he started small, and only refused to do things asked of him that he didn’t have time or resources to actually complete. He noticed people might be a little disappointed when he said no, but they seemed to respect his honesty. So he then took it a step further and only accepted requests that were the most important thing he could be doing with his time and resources, at that moment. Again, his co-workers would initially be a bit disappointed but they began to respect him more for his refusal, not less. Eventually, he started using this criteria for everything, not just direct requests. It felt self-indulgent at first to not volunteer for everything, and skip meetings and conference calls that didn’t provide value to him.
But by being selective he bought himself space, and in that space he found creative freedom. He could concentrate his efforts on one project at a time. He could plan thoroughly. He could anticipate roadblocks and start to remove obstacles. Instead of spinning his wheels trying to get everything done, he could get the right things done. His newfound commitment to doing only the things that were truly important–and eliminating everything else–restored the quality of his work. Instead of making just a millimeter of progress in a million directions he began to generate tremendous momentum towards accomplishing the things that were truly vital.
Or as Mark would say, “he was able to find his traction points”.
As a result of his changed attitude toward accepting requests from others, he gained the respect of his manager and co-workers. He became fulfilled because he was working on things that mattered to him. His performance ratings soared and he ended up receiving one of the largest bonuses of his career!
The story above is an example of the basic value proposition of Essentialism:
Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.