Less is More

Image by Shamash Alidina.

Image by Shamash Alidina.

“Less is more” - Robert Browning

A Powerful yet Simple Question

I had a lovely conversation yesterday with one of my friends. She asked me a great question.

‘What would you do if it you weren’t worrying about everybody else’s needs, and just did what you truly wanted to do?’ she asked.

My answer surprised me at first. I often say I love helping and supporting others. But I realised I spent so much of my time thinking about how best to support others, I didn’t spend enough time on what I’m truly passionate about. If they weren’t around, I’d do more reading, writing, teaching and curating events and experiences.

How often do you think about what’s truly important for you? And how often do you actually do it?

Well, with my newfound research and insights in hand on the power of small steps, I decided to take some small steps towards focusing on what I really enjoy and less of what is okay, but not my biggest passion. Having made these small changes, I’m feeling lighter already, and up for more - a common experience when taking small steps.

Greg’s Story

When you forget to focus on our own needs and focus too much on others, it can have upsetting consequences, as Greg discovered in the following story.

Greg was working long hours in Silicon Valley and his baby was due to be born soon. But his boss said: ‘I hope your baby isn’t born between 1-2pm this Friday, as you have a very important meeting with our client then! Will you be there?’

Greg knew his boss was only half joking. He replied, with a touch of sadness: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be there.’

As it happened, his wife gave birth to their baby that Friday morning, but he left at 1pm to make that meeting. He didn’t feel good. But even his client was shocked that he was there. Greg’s client was not impressed at all - quite the opposite. Why was he meeting them rather than being with his baby, who was only a few hours old? It turned out the meeting didn’t lead to anything anyway - he would have been much better off with his new-born.

So began Greg’s journey of less. Only focusing on what is truly essential and learning to say no to everything else.

This is a story from the book I’m reading called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. And the story was about Greg, the author.

Greg goes on to share a powerful sentence:

“If you don’t choose your priorities, someone else will.” - Greg Keown

On reflection today, I’d say my top 3 priorities are:

  1. Personal: My Health and Happiness

  2. Relationships: Family and Friends I care about

  3. Work: Discovering and sharing new insights with you!

So, what are your priorities? And are you willing to take the time to write them down?

You don’t have to get it perfect. But it’s great to have a go and see what comes up. It can be one or three or five - whatever comes up for you.

In a future post, I’ll share how committing to doing simple 10 second actions everyday can help you make ultimately huge leaps towards your priorities and, I think, transform your life.

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