Essentialism — Less But Better

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” // Lin Yutang

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less was the last book I read before #NoInputNovember kicked off. MIND WAS BLOWN. I know I say this about many books, but truly — this one is a gamechanger. Right now, my top five books are…

#1] A Return To Love

#2] The Four Agreements

#3] Essentialism!

#4] Tools Of Titans

#5] The Book Of Awakening [more daily reads here!]

So, basically, it’s THAT good. Number 3! The definition of an essentialist’s lifestyle is less but better. It’s asking yourself — “Am I investing in the right activities + people?” It’s about using time + energy + power of choice to contribute to society in a way that feels the best to each indiviual.

Below, you’ll see characterists of a “nonessentialist” + an “essentialist”:

Nonessentialist

  • Thinks — All things to all people // “I have to.” “It’s all important.” “How can I fit it all in?”
  • Does — The undisciplined pursuit of more // Reacts to what’s most pressing, says *yes* to people without really thinking, tries to force execution at the last moment
  • Gets — Lives a life that does not satisfy // Takes on too much, + work suffers, feels out of control, is unsure of whether the right things got done, feels overwhelmed + exhausted

Essentialist

  • Thinks — Less but better // “I choose to.” “Only a few things really matter.” “What are the trade-offs?”
  • Does — The disciplined pursuit of less // Pauses to discern what really matters, says *no* to everything except the essential, removes obstaces to make execution easy
  • Gets — Lives a life that really matters // Chooses carefully in order to do great work, feels in control, gets the right things done, experiences joy in the journey

I have a feeling that most of us fall under the “nonessentialist” category ; ). Why?! Because we have a crazy amount of choices + we think everything is important! ++ with that, comes *decision fatigue.* There’s so much to say on decision fatigue — but long story short, we all arise in the morning with a certain amount of energy. As we go about our day + make decisions, our energy deteriorates. In this world filled with so many options [When should I workout? What should I eat? What should I wear? Should I buy this or that? etc] — we tend to spend our energy on decisions that don’t really matter, + this costs us our energy for more important decisions we should be making! This is why creating a “flow” is crucial for saving energy.

In addition to the increase in choices that contribute to nonessentialism, we put SO much expectation on ourselves. We have this perfect image of ourselves that we will always fall short of… we want to have it all — be in all the clubs, have all the friends, do all the things, ++ yet we still want ~balance~.

*Sigh.*

Funny story — the word “priority” came into the English language in the 1400s meaning “the very first thing.” It was a singular term for hundred of years until the 1900s when we pluralized it + started talking about PRIORITIES. Crazy, right?!

The thing is — if we categorize many things as a priority, nothing truly is. It is up to us to be intentional with our values + make a commitment to THE thing that matters most to us. Of course we can have multiple items that are “important” — but we should always know where the focus lies.

Unfortunately… a large part of living an essentialist lifestyle is LETTING THINGS GO, + saying no! [I hate, hate, hate saying no! It’s so hard!] We all want to say YES! because we want to please others — however, whenever you say yes to something, you are saying no to many other possibilities. It’s important to understand the “trade-offs” for every decision you make.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild + precious life?” // Mary Oliver

You hear about people on their deathbeds who say, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” I don’t want any of us to have this regret.

Are you inspired to read Essentialism yet? I hope so. : ) This book is definitely more geared to those in the working world, as opposed to still in school — but I think it can be useful at any age… the sooner you start living out your PRIORITY ;), the better! ❤

Journal — Bring to mind your intentions for the winter season. List your top priority in each of the five categories: family, friends, health, work//school, personal life. Below the TOP priority, list two more priorities in each category. Now, list three things in your everyday life that feel like *wasted* time [example: commuting, social media scrolling, chores, Netflix, errands, ETC]. Reflect on how you can use your “wasted time” to align with your values — for example, call your mom while you are commuting to work. Or, watch Netflix while working out ; ).

Action — When deciding how to utilize your time, refer back to your priorities. Say no to something this week! You can do it!

Rooting for you always,

++ Elisabeth

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  • Megan Werch
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    This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning!!! So grateful for your blogs and I can’t wait to read the book!!!!! You rock. Rooting for you too!

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