Essentialism and Light

The first two weeks of the miracle morning have gone particularly well. I’ve been up early and it’s provided me with an extra hour to really do things that are good for me and help me tackle the day in the right way and in the right mindset.

As part of this, I’ve given myself some reading time each morning and one of the books I’ve been reading is Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism”. This has particularly struck a chord with me. I’ve previously mentioned I can find myself overloaded at work and am someone who often becomes ‘busy’ which leads to feeling stressed. I find that I get into a routine of saying ‘yes’ to everything as want to show I can get it all done, but as the book clearly explains, this is saying ‘yes’ way too often and consequently taking too much on and it’s a falicy that we can do everything. The worst case scenario is that nothing will get done.

This is a vicious circle, a set way of being and acting for me. If i feel I’m not doing a good enough job, I take on more. More things that I cannot do and consequently will lead to me not doing a good job of anything.

The book highlights that there is always a choice, whether you have been conscious of it or not. It also highlights that there are seldom significant consequences of saying no to or not doing something too and that only a few things really matter.

If we give time to consider the right things to do, to consider the key principles behind what we are trying to achieve, then we will also be able to see that there are trade offs that need to be made. Being aware of the trade offs, will allow us to understand the impact of our decisions and consequently determine what our true priorities are.

I’ve begun this in earnest this week and feel that I have been much more effective because of it. It as a blindspot that I was perhaps intellectually able to comprehend and explain to others previously, but what this book has done has helped me connect with it on a more personal and emotional level. On seeing this, it’s empowering to be able to choose differently.

Also, in my podcast time this week, I listened to Tim Ferris interview Greg McKeown. It was a particularly enlightening episode and at the end I loved the comment made about what message Greg would put on a billboard to get a message out to thousands or even millions of people.

His answer was simple: “Light”. Just the word “Light”.

He went on to explain that his thinking behind this is that we are always faced with a decison and at each decision point we should always look to ‘turn to the light’ and not to the ‘darkness’. This means something different to everyone, however this could be honesty, truth, not hiding from the thoughts and feelings of others, being present, integrity or facing what is really there. I see the darkness as hiding away from something in this analogy or perhaps choosing the selfish path or making a decision that will hurt others.

Ultimately, the more we face into the light, the more light we will feel.

I like this as I think it accurately describes coming out of our primitive minds and into the world. Being present, being free and being at peace.

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