The Pursuit of Less | The Jeneralist

The Pursuit of Less

Finding what is essential to our lives has become more and more difficult as the world becomes more distracting. The same tools that we use for productivity have become the same means used to pacify us and distract us from what is essential. Access to more has never been easier in our this age of information, now coupled with with a newly formed layer of opinion. More and more, we are making decisions impulsively, saying yes before we think things through, trying to convince ourselves that we can do it all and burdening ourselves with commitment in an effort to keep up with today’s ever-changing society; forgetting often that we have a choice to say no to some, or all of it.

Focus is often a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.” – John Carmack

Identify. Eliminate. Repeat

After reading Greg McKeown’s book titled, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, I decided to begin my own journey toward the pursuit of less in order to reduce, simplify and focus on what is absolutely essential in my own life. Here are the 3 steps I’ve been following:

  1. Explore & Evaluate
    • Conduct a life audit. This involves spending time deliberately to explore and identify the things that are absolutely vital vs. the many trivial things that control our lives. By doing this, I’ve began taking stock of my life by asking the right questions to better understand where I spend the most of time, energy and effort.
      • For example:
        • Is this the MOST important thing I should be doing with my time/resources right now?
        • How much time did I spend working? How much energy did I put towards my family, my friends, or my faith? To what end did I use my financial resources this week?
    • When I started asking this more often, I found the answer to be “no” in most cases.
  2. Eliminate
    • Once you’ve done the deep work to identify the vital few vs. the trivial many, you can begin to actively eliminate the activities and efforts that are misaligned with what you’re intending to achieve. By doing this, I’ve been able to start saying no to the non-essential activities in my life and have given myself the time and space I need to truly discern what is deserving of my attention and energy.
  3. Execute
    • It’s important to note that this is a cyclical process. Once you get into the habit of regularly comparing your activities or behaviours to your real intent, you can set up a routine that helps you execute those essentials more frequently. You’re able to free up some mental space to concentrate on something new while simultaneously engaging in another without sacrificing focus or quality.

In many ways, essentialism is a type of minimalism that hones in on the concept of less being better, rather than being more. It provides us with a proven structure to avoid failure in our undisciplined pursuit toward more.

is a lifestyle and travel blogger living in Alberta, Canada. She loves sharing the places, spaces and inspiring things that add vibrancy to her everyday life.