I heard a lot about essentialism or minimalism, referred to as simplistic living. But I did not realize it makes sense to me after I read this e-book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKEOWN. You may, therefore, wonder how I got to check it out. Well, my “essentialist” friend, Rithy THUL, handed it over, personally finding me going round in circles! After branding myself out in various activities (social/commercial), then was the right to time to embrace that concept. Eventually, I’m glad it has prepared me for the current chaos like COVID-19. Below are the reasons I deem “essentialism” essential for our lives, not just through uncertain moments.
1- Priority Matters
Essentialists believe life is too short to prioritize everything coming your way. In order to cope with this issue, I also blogged about time management based “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Under the current circumstances, ask yourself who matters to you most. Most people, including me, would value their family above all, while a few may cherish their work more. So schedule your daily tasks, according to that priority, which may make your regular quarantine more meaningful!
2- Living Can Be Simpler
Materialists would be happy showing off their possessions or gains to other people. In pastime, they may even carry more luggage or worse, garbage than needed. Essential living lies on simple needs, or just enough to keep one safe and sane. Essentialists tend to be very selective of what to do, eat, or even think. They will answer a polite NO to what contradicts their principles. For that purpose, these days, either I throw away my long-used clothes or hand them down to needy people.
3- Quitters Don’t Have to Be Losers
For me, the essence of life should evolve around growth and love. When essentialists quit pursuing a task at hand, it does not mean they throw their vital mission away. It only implies they are realistic enough to change their approach instead of staying stubborn or stuck, with what is already proven not to work. This scenario perfectly resonates with Einstein’s quote: “Insanity is doing the same things, expecting different results.” Throughout this pandemic, if you keep thinking your passion alone can feed you, chances are, it might rip you apart slowly, but surely. That is why I am building up our family business aside, through online translations, as it cater to daily needs: vegetables and groceries!
4- Reduce Decision Fatigue
It is said we, human beings, make each 35,000 decisions a day! Yeah, we think so much that each day may emotionally exhaust us. More often than not, we allow trivial or negative matters to occupy our mind. Yet, if we go to the essence, only a few decisions would matter to us every day. Take these two decisions, for example: This Sunday, will you brew your own coffee at home or drink it outside? In parallel, will you spend only one hour or two with your kids? Your call to tell which decision matters to your day!
5- Efforts Become Optional
This (last) reason should be residual from the previous ones, as we have already decluttered non-essential items off our list. You feel lighter or even happier to work on only what matters to you. As a result, in most cases, you can achieve more than expected. I’m sure you felt that way before, when your mind was clear and focused on the present task at hand. Ultimately, you can even delegate that non-important job to other people so that this leverage benefits both sides!
If you are still not convinced of why essentialism matters to our (current) living, look at Buddha, Jesus, Muhammed, Henry Ford, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, for your few inspirations. They all share this way of life, as their wealth or power turn out to be their by-products. Still feel tempted with peer pressure or redundant procrastination? Well, I found it also challenging to adopt essentialism. But we all can unlearn old, unproductive habits while learning the healthier ones with discipline and commitment.
PS: Every time I face a tough/important decision, I ask myself: What matters to me now or even in the long run? Your homework is to find your own answer after this reading!