The Painful Yet Important Pursuit Of Less But Better

This Week’s BIG Idea

What’s the 10% that leads to 90% of results? What if you identified that and removed the rest? Then, you’ll see the power of less but better. That’s one of the many ideas in Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, a book I constantly think about and one that I desperately need to reread. Some people refer to this as the “90% rule” and it’s life-changing. Content creator Gabe Bult (more on him later) thinks of this technique as editing your own life, where you play certain parts of your life as if it were a movie and you remove everything you consider non-essential. This can help you get rid of material possessions, bad relationships, and trivial activities. Again, this refers to the idea of less but better. Think about it, most people live their lives in a constant state of overwhelm. But what if you ranked all the activities you do on a regular basis and removed everything below 9? You’d be prioritizing your time and making time for the truly important things. As simple as it sounds, this little experiment can make an enormous difference.

What I’m Working on

I posted a series of summaries this week, but more importantly, I’ve been organizing the next books I’ll be reading. Since Stoicism has had a tremendous impact on my life, I want to read as many books on the topics as possible. I owe a lot to ancient philosophy and not only do I want to learn from those books, but I also want to share all the findings and lessons on the site. This is going to take a couple of months, but I haven’t been this excited about books in a long time.

What I’m Listening to

I hadn’t listened to this many podcast episodes in months. Lately, I’ve been catching up on Deep Dive with Ali Abdaal and it’s been a journey. I learned so much about topics like entrepreneurship, happiness, relationships, wealth, and more. While I can’t point toward a specific episode, this is the one I’m listening to now. Since we’re on the topic of less but better, Deep Dive is one of the three podcasts I’m subscribed to.

What I’m Reading

  • The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner: Like many people, I was familiar with the movie version of this book. After starting a series of books I didn’t like, the opening paragraphs of The Pursuit of Happyness hooked me and I couldn’t stop reading. Although I watched the film several times, there’s something about the book version (which is narrated from Chris Gardner’s point of view) that makes this heartbreaking story much more eloquent and powerful. Since I just started reading this book, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’m glad I started reading it nonetheless.
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: I’m really into Stoicism these days and that’s what I’ve been reading for the past few weeks. I just started reading Meditations and in the version that I have, translator Gregory Hays included a lengthy introduction where he provides context for both the book itself, but also the author, and Stoicism as a whole. I avoided Meditations for months because I know that this is one of the most important books ever written. The fear of this book not matching my expectations evaporated as soon as I read the opening lines from Marcus Aurelius.

What I’m Watching

As I mentioned in the introduction to this week’s newsletter, one book I find myself constantly thinking about is Essentialism. I recently came across this video from Gabe Bult where he shares some of the principles of the book and applied them to his personal life.

This Week’s Quote

“Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’”

Marcus Aurelius

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