In a world of more and more … there seems to be a growing desire for embracing less and less. You might say there is more focus on the importance of less. There is also more focus on the potential value of less.
French designer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, might have been pointing to this when he said “A designer knows he has achieved perfection … not when there is nothing left to add … but when there is nothing left to take away.”
I recently finished reading Essentialism (Greg MeKeown, April 2014) focusing on the disciplined pursuit of less. Greg makes a powerful case for the importance of less. He notes that Essentialism isn’t a methodology of time management or just another thing to do … but rather a refreshing new way of looking at everything you do. He would suggest eliminating 90% of what you do and focusing on the essential 10% that really matters. You may think it sounds a bit extreme.
Sometimes an extreme reset is exactly what is needed.
I had the pleasure of meeting several new friends at the National Speakers’ Association convention this year. Some would use the word extreme to describe the story I heard from one of them. Fascinating and refreshing were the words that came to mind for me!
She told me that her and her husband planned a remodeling of their home. To ready their home for the remodel, they put all their household contents into rental pods in their driveway. In the midst of the remodeling they decided they wouldn’t bring anything back into their home. They would start over and buy only what they absolutely needed in their home. They began a process of thoughtfully and specifically giving-away each item in the pods to those they thought could most benefit by it. All the remaining odds and ends were given as a lump donation to Goodwill. Some would describe this as an extreme measure.
She described it as an amazing sense of freedom.
It would certainly be a tangible place to start. But I believe achieving more with less is about more than clearing out homes, calendars and to-do lists. I believe it has more to do with cleaning out our core. When it comes to core values, some would say your real core values are most clearly reflected in your checkbook and your calendar … as an indicator of how you spend your resources and your time. That is not necessarily true. Your checkbook and your calendar may simply be an indication of where you have drifted-to … rather than the truth of who you are.
Without clarity, our core can become cluttered.
The clutter fuels more clutter … and the core begins to fill with more and more. To be an essentialist, you must first understand what is essential at your core.
It might serve us well to empty our core, putting everything in a pod out on they driveway … and then letting only what is essential earn its way back into our core.
Today’s post is the featured article from the August 2014 issue of The Front Porch Newsletter. If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.