How to Master Essentialism

Last week Tim Ferriss published his podcast episode #355 How to Master Essentialism with Greg McKeown. Several quotes and ideas were “ah-ha moments”  for me, hope my notes are helpful.

I give my highest recommendation to read Essentialism. As I said in my book summary, it is one of the top 5 books I’ve read in the past several years. I also recommend listening to the full podcast episode.

Quotes

  • Worry is like praying for something you don’t want to happen.
  • To obtain knowledge add things every day, to obtain wisdom subtract things every day.
  • Develop the ability to discern between essential and good.

Three Types of People

  1. Those who can see.
  2. Those who can see when shown.
  3. Those who will never see.

Planning Retreats

Greg does quarterly planning retreats.
They are life planning retreats for designing life essentially.
Gets away by himself or with one other person, which he calls a design partner.

Looks at planning from Great Grandparents through Great Grandchildren.
Go through each generation and ask questions about them starting with great grandparents.

Questions About Each Generation
Write down anything you know about them
Can you even name them?
What has lasted?
What decisions have they made that still affect us? (for good or bad)
Where they lived or moved, what language they spoke, occupation, etc.
How did they shape you?
What impact do I want to make on the people who will have forgotten me?
Replaces limited birth to death thinking and planning.
Realizing that your most important thing isn’t even on your to do list.

What makes a good design partner?
They are happy if you are successful.
People who can powerfully listen. Without interruption and jumping in with their opinion immediately.

What makes a bad design partner?
Glad if you fail and not happy if you are successful.
Interrupts and jumps in with their opinion instead of listening.

Rules for the retreat and design partner
You are not allowed to give any opinion or advice.
You can only ask honest questions.

General Notes

Greg prays and reads scripture.
Tim asked him if he has any special or specific prayers.
Greg’s desire is having prayer that is not rote.
Develop the ability to discern between essential and good.
Worry is like praying for something you don’t want to happen.
To obtain knowledge add things every day, to obtain wisdom subtract things every day.
Greg’s billboard message would be Light.

Every moment, every decision, we are either moving towards light or darkness. Be light, move towards light.

Resources

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