One of the most valuable lessons I learned in college was during my internship in the office of the college president. I admired President Mark Maxwell’s leadership style. He didn’t attempt to accomplish everything that was asked of him. Rather, he thoughtfully declined requests that were better suited for someone in a different position. This empowered others to take responsibility for important tasks at the college, and allowed him to give attention to things that only he was in the position to do.
As I read Essentialism I thought of Mark as a model for how to practice the principles presented by author Greg McKeown. The ability and willingness to let go of the non-essential gives us freedom to truly enjoy life, and to be purposeful with that which is most important to us.
McKeown challenged me to ask, are the things I’m committed to absolutely essential for the main goals I am trying to accomplish? I know I can’t do everything that is asked of me, so I need to choose to do only a few things really well. McKeown claims, and I agree, that following the principles of Essentialism will give me more control over my time, and will result in more satisfaction in everything I do. After all, as McKeown says, if I don’t make firm decisions about my schedule and place clear boundaries in my life, someone else will do it for me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a more effective and disciplined lifestyle.