Friday, June 12, 2015


While browsing in the bookstore the other day, as I seem to find myself doing multiple times per week (despite knowing I likely will not succumb to temptation and buy anything, but that I am just looking because even that, I love), I picked up a book called Essentialism.  I leafed through this book for a little while. as it caught my attention.

The book preached an interesting message, and the message basically was this:

Too often, we prioritize the wrong things.  We prioritize or choose things that are ultimately non-essentials.  Things that do not truly fulfill us, things we use to just fill the time, things we feel we must do out of obligation, or we spend our time just sort of coasting through our days, not doing much of anything that leaves us feeling any real elation, excitement or contentment.  Hours turn into days, which turn into weeks and then before we know it, years have gone by.  This is how we end up unsatisfied with our lives...feelings as though something is missing...yearning for more...feeling regret and boredom.

Too often, we realize too late, that this was a mistake.  That in fact, we wasted lots of time on so many things that didnt really matter to us all that much.  Pursuits that didnt fulfill us, cause us to swell with happiness or excitement, make us feel pride, love, closeness, thrill or excitement, give us feelings of passion, make us feel alive or accomplished.

Too often, we choose things that make us feel almost the opposite of these wonderful feelings.  Why??

Essentialism is the ideal of wading through the 70-80% of what falls under the definitions of time wasters, non-fulfillers, unnecessary duties (though we often think they are necessary), distractions (things that trick us into pulling us away from or causing us to ignore or forget what really matters to us), or things that numb us inside to what we might really want or feel (very often, this could be substance abuse, or something like overexercising, or zoning out in front of the TV all the time).  And Essentialism is about finding the 20-30% within each of our own lives that is actually Essential.  Essential meaning: it makes your life infinitely better, it matters deeply to you, it fulfills you, makes you feel a deep happiness most of the time, gives you feelings of excitement or passion, makes you feel like a better, happier and more contented person.

All the rest in your life?  Just time fillers, time wasters and distractions.

Life is ZOOMING by, rapidly.  Each of our own short lives will be over before we know it.

Therefore, its important to figure out, what is truly and totally essential to you?

This will help that you do not end up with regrets.  It will help you to focus more time on the right things.  It will lead to ultimately a more fulfilling and contented life.

To help you figure out what is essential, I have a small exercise for you.  Make a list of 8 things that matter deeply to you in your life.  These could be hobbies that make you feel deep satisfaction, a romantic partner, your family and/or best friends, a particular lifestyle goal or choice such as "traveling often" "learning to deep sea diver" or "writing a book."

Now.  Cross out 4 of those things on that list.  This will be really hard.  Especially once you get down to the last one or two, since presumably all 8 are things you love and that are important to you, to some degree.  But imagine that you must sacrifice 4 from your list and cross them off.

There, you have it.  These remaining 4 are your true life essentials.  The things that are the very most important to you in your life.  The things that bring you the greatest life joy.  These four things are where you should focus the bulk of your time, attention, and effort.  (Of course, this does not mean that the other 4 items on your list are not important or special.  It just means that these 4 are your greatest joys, so you should treat them as such).

The rest, though some may be enjoyable, they are ultimately non-essentials.

Putting in more conscious efforts to focus on essentials vs. the non-essentials will significantly add to your daily life happiness, your overall life satisfaction and will hep remind you about what is deeply important in your own life, to you.  This might help you to focus less on things that only serve as generally wastes of time, distractions or time fillers.

What is essential to each of your in your own life??

No comments:

Post a Comment