Hey readers! It's Book of the Month: Discussion time! This months choice was Essentialism by Greg McKeown. To start off, I think it's important to acknowledge that a readers take on this book and concept is highly personal. Every person who reads it will take away something different from it. That's just how self-help/improvement books go, key word being self. That being said, this discussion piece is solely based on my opinion. I'm sure every person who has read this has learned something different from it.
My personal overall view of the book is that it was the most inspiring book I've read, as far as looking at your own life goes. I think that in the debate of "I'm a non-Essentialist or an Essentialist", I've always leaned more towards the latter. Mainly because I have always been a little selfish and stubborn. My whole life, I've always viewed opportunities as things I either had to do, or didn't, very black and white. If I didn't want to do something, I didn't do it. Of course, there were things like math tests that I had to do; but when I had the option to choose, I generally knew what I wanted. The only real time I have trouble deciding on things is when it comes to food. Most of the time, when I'm hungry, anything sounds good. Brett and I always have a hard time picking a place to eat. Yet, we always decide and are satisfied. Making decisions is usually such a big relief for me. I like to know where I'm going, what the plan is. That generally means making hard and fast calls on what to do next. Being able to say no is definitely one of my long-standing "Essentialist" traits.
We all have things we can work on though. Working up the courage to control your own life isn't the only thing being an "Essentialist" entails. It's also about being able to recognize, out of the few things that are the most essential to your attention, which should be at the top of your list. The most essential of the essentials. This is where my struggle is at. I like doing a lot of things, such as playing with my daughter, but also reading a book for an hour or so. The book made me realize that I would benefit by choosing which is most important, in that moment, so that I can focus all of my attention on that one thing. It's like the great Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation said, "Don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing". This concept leads to a much more relaxing and full life. Because I read first when I get home from work, when I'm playing with Bailey after, I can focus my full attention on her and won't be itching to read a chapter of my latest page turner. I can just enjoy being with Bailey.
That is what the main focus of the book was for me, streamlining my activities. Since finishing the book, I've been trying to do just that. I make a to do list each day, and try not to add to it. It's hard, but I've learned to love setting limits for myself. Now, I can't imagine not making a to do list. It ensures that I do what I want and need to do, and only that. Then, I'm not wasting time and get to enjoy life even more. If you haven't read this book, you should. Even if you think you can't learn anything from it, you can. No one has their life pulled together that well. Happy reading!