Has anyone heard about or seen news concerning the Flint water crisis? My wife and I live in Flint and we have been faced with the real life scariness of not having clean water for daily usage. Water is one of those things that is 100% essential to health and happiness. Fortunately our water is now clean because we just purchased a whole house filtering system which will last for 1,000,000 gallons (a crap ton). This water scare has made me hyper aware of what is truly essential in our lives. To further explore what is essential in my life I picked up Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.
Essentialism is very similar to minimalism because it seeks to rebuke excess in our lives. It is different however because it impacts all avenues of life whereas minimalism (in my opinion) focuses more on decreasing material possessions. So what does it mean to be an Essentialist?
-Pauses constantly and asks, “Am I investing in the right activities?”
-Doesn’t focus on getting more things done but rather the right things done
-Says “no” to everything except the essential
-Realizes there can only be one priority at a time
-Thinks almost all things are nonessential
-Creates time to escape and explore life
-Hears what is not being said
-Makes playing and sleeping priorities
-Makes one decision that will eliminate multiple future decisions
-Says “yes” only to the things that matter
-Is comfortable cutting losses
-Practices preparation and buffers for unexpected events
-Removes obstacles to progress
-Celebrates small acts of progress
-Keeps their thoughts in the present
-Enjoys the moment
-Asks what is important right now
The Essentialist lifestyle can be summed up by the German saying-Weniger aber besser-“Less but better”. I’m sure most people can identify with a few aforementioned attributes but the key to being an Essentialist is that all facets of life are defined by only those things that are essential. So what is essential? On a biological level, healthy food, water, sleep, exercise, and shelter are essential. On a psychological/spiritual level, autonomy, control, friendship, play, meditation, and purpose are essential. And the most essential of all…TIME. We need to construct our lives so that time is abundant. Without time we will push aside essentials and fill our lives with cheap fillers: material objects, social media, pride, vanity, power, etc. We need to remember that LESS is better and that the more we refine our priorities the more poignant our life’s purpose will become.