Minimal and Essential

We all lead busy lives.  We bounce from meeting to meeting, from class to class, from activity to activity.  We are chased by email and hounded by notifications.  We are constantly on.  It has worn me down over the past little while.  I work to create more room but then struggle with focus. I want to devote energy to the important things in my life but I find that my energy is sapped by trivial matters.  This is a battle many of us face.  A battle many of our students face.  I have found two messages that help to clear the clutter, reduce the noise and help provide focus.  One is from a fantastic podcast called the Minimalists and the other is from a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

The first message is called “Sitting in the chair”.  Joshua Fields Milburn and his friend Ryan Nicodemus are the Minimalists.  Their podcast, essays and books share stories about living a meaningful life by stripping life back to the bare essentials.  Joshua was an aspiring writer but was forever aspiring.  Four words changed his life…

“Sit in the chair.”

What does this mean?  It means to stop aspiring and start doing. Sit in the chair and write.  I aspire to be a lot of things but I create mental conditions for this to happen.  I need to be in the right mood, have the right environment, have a cup of coffee, etc…  These are little excuses.  Little excuses that I dream up.  Remove aspire and just sit in the chair.  Just do it.  You then stop being an aspiring writer and become a writer.  These four simple words have helped create greater focus in my life.

The second message refers to energy and our constant strive to do it all.  I am guilty of this on so many counts.  I want to do it all and I think I can do it all but I can’t achieve a depth which I am happy with.  Then Essentialism landed on my desk (Thanks Mike Reading!).  Greg McKeown lives by the mantra:

“Do less but better.”

We have only so much energy. We can make only so many decisions. This is best depicted by the below image from Greg’s book, Essentialism.


What do you want to achieve in your day, your life?  What is most important to you?  How are you best utilised?  Focusing on less allows your energy to be spent on going deeper.  Remove the superfluous. Say no to more.  You are in control of your choices. You are in charge of your energy supply.  So sit in the chair and do less but better.

Thanks as always for reading. Comments welcome.


2 thoughts on “Minimal and Essential

Add yours

    1. Not a problem Cameron, glad the post spoke to you. The constant fight for our attention can really leave us drained and once we start to right this, we can then focus on moving from aspiring to doing. Hope you’re well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: