This week I was reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown and among the many takeaways that I got from the book is that we should always strive to do “less but better”. This reductionist approach to life is so simple yet so powerful that I’ve tried to force myself to repeat it in my head throughout the day. For example, I look at my to-do list every morning and ask myself “how could I do less but better.” This focus on doing the most essential things is so powerful because it reduces the pressure to get more done while increasing the fulfillment I get from every single activity.
I also think that this principle of “less but better” can be applied to pretty much any domain in life including friendships, food, products, hiring, personal finance, etc. This is what makes this principle, in my opinion, so powerful. It’s not just a catchy tagline to make you sound thoughtful. It’s more of a mentality that you adopt to life a different lifestyle.
One point I want to make before ending this post is that I’ve also heard the phrase “Less is More” and although they seem similar I actually think that the idea of “less is more” doesn’t fully capture the essentialist mentality. “Less is more” is simply an affirmation that something is always the case but “Less but better” is more of a conditional statement that encourages us to make hard trade-offs in order to life a better life. I think this is more aligned with what life is – a set of hard trade-offs that we have to make every day.