Book Recommendation: Essentialism

Set goals and stick to them

A client recently recommended a new book: Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.  Our client liked the way the book encouraged her to think “is this (object or activity) going to get you to your goals, or not?”  She said she learned to pare down the tools she was using, so that they are useful and useable, not a distraction in themselves.  She also found places online to download for free items, like date planners, that she had previously been buying.  Techniques like these helped her to look at what is essential in her life, and, she says, “the most important thing is to let go of all the things that aren’t that important”.

Purpose in life

Having a clear sense of purpose in life, and clear goals has been shown to have important positive effects on health, mood, and even longevity.  Knowing where you’re going and why helps you keep working to get there.  Moreover, as our client noted, letting your life get cluttered up with various activities that seem interesting or potentially helpful at some point in the future can set up barriers to doing what we really want to do.

Setting priorities

We recommend everyone go through a process of reflecting carefully on what their life priorities are and whether their current activities are moving them towards achievement of their goals.  It only takes a short time to consider priorities and resource allocation, but the results can be surprising.  And the obvious steps forward are sometimes not difficult to take, once perceived.

Setting a direction for our lives is the first step to getting where we want to be.  Even, or especially, in difficult times like the pandemic, or in cases of mood disorder, illness, debt or other struggles, knowing where we expect our lives to go gives us a foundation on which to build.

As our client said: “I need to ask myself is this going to help me get to the next level in life, or am I just getting pulled in different directions?  Am I just going to be spinning my wheels trying to do a million different things or can I learn to focus on one thing and get really good at it?  Then I will be able to make real progress in one important direction.”