Essentialism Explained: How To Focus On What Matters | Greg McKeown on Modern Wisdom Podcast

Check out the Modern Wisdom Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Just because someone is busier than you doesn’t mean they’re more important  
    • Being busy isn’t an achievement 
  • Ask yourself: “What is my mission? What is the thing I came here to do?” – Greg McKeown
    • Once you’ve identified your mission and your important tasks, you can focus on them without having FOMO
      • “Instead of the fear of missing out or FOMO, you start to have the joy of missing out or JOMO”
  • “When you’re sleep deprived, the executive function of your brain goes down so you can’t discern properly between what’s important and what’s not important” – Greg McKeown
    • Top performers tend to sleep 8.4 hours per night
  • You don’t become successful and then become disciplined, you become disciplined and then you become successful
  • Every day you should be writing out your to-do list and then prioritizing it
    • Create a new list every day, what was important yesterday isn’t always important today
  • Two questions you need to ask yourself: 
    • Who am I?
    • Why am I here?
      • If you never ask yourself those questions, the stuff on your to-do list could be completely wrong

Intro

Books Mentioned

Being Busy ≠ Success

  • When you become successful, you get a lot more opportunities which can pull you in too many directions and end up hurting you
    • “Almost universally people will feel stretched too thin at work or at home, busy but not productive” – Greg McKeown
  • Just because someone is busier than you doesn’t mean they’re more important  
    • Being busy isn’t an achievement 
      • It often means you’re being reactive instead of proactive

Having A Clear Mission = Success

  • Ask yourself: “What is my mission? What is the thing I came here to do?” – Greg McKeown
    • Once you’ve identified your mission and your important tasks, you can focus on them without having FOMO
      • “Instead of the fear of missing out or FOMO, you start to have the joy of missing out or JOMO”
        • Do what’s essential, ignore what is not
  • Find out what you’re really good at, then focus your energy in that direction
    • “Take the time to explore, figure out what you really can make a great contribution in and then go big in it”  – Greg McKeown
      • If you don’t know what you want to do:
        • Use inversion: List all the things you don’t like to do so you know to avoid them
        • Ask yourself what you’re passionate about or what you’d be interested in learning how to do
  • If your mission is to be a writer, your first article doesn’t have to be the best thing ever written
    • You just have to start by publishing your first article and not letting perfectionism stop you
      • “It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be published and then the feedback will come and then you’ll learn something” – Greg McKeown
        • You can always go back and edit that article to make it better

Finding What’s Essential

  • How do you find out what you should be doing?
    • List all of your tasks on importance from a 0-100 scale
      • Anything that’s under a 90, question and maybe even eliminate
        • “Every time you do something that’s below 90%, you’re taking it away from something that is 90% or above, you’re making a trade-off” – Greg McKeown
          • Anything that’s on the bottom 10%, just eliminate it
  • We have to protect our ability to prioritize
    • You have to ignore both the internal and external nonessential voices
      • Really listen to your conscious about what you should be doing
        • “If you do that today in small ways, you don’t wake up 20 years from now and go, oh my goodness I’ve just given myself 20 years to the wrong goal” – Greg McKeown
  • Just because you have a goal, it isn’t necessarily a worthwhile goal
    • Someone else’s goal isn’t your goal
  • Serving others is a great essential task
    • “As soon as we step out to serve somebody else, I think a lot of that non-essential stuff starts to fall apart” – Greg McKeown

Life Advice

  • It can be hard to admit to yourself that you were wrong about something, but it’s important to be humble and admit mistakes
  • You don’t become successful and then become disciplined, you become disciplined and then you become successful
  • Don’t keep your phone in your bedroom at night
  • Try to take a 10-minute nap every day, a vast majority of people are sleep deprived
    • “When you’re sleep-deprived, the executive function of your brain goes down so you can’t discern properly between what’s important and what’s not important” – Greg McKeown
      • Top performers tend to sleep 8.4 hours per night
  • Every day you should be writing out your to-do list and then prioritizing it
    • Create a new list every day, what was important yesterday isn’t always important today
      • Two questions you need to ask yourself: 
        • Who am I?
        • Why am I here?
          • If you never ask yourself those questions, the stuff on your to-do list could be completely wrong
            • First, you need to find out the right things, then go spend time doing those things

Additional Notes

  • If you play stupid games, you’ll win stupid prizes
  • Often times there’s something we could be good at but we don’t know it since we’ve never tried it
Modern Wisdom : , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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