Greg McKeown — How to Master Essentialism | The Tim Ferriss Show (Podcast)

Greg McKeown — How to Master Essentialism | The Tim Ferriss Show (Podcast)

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hello boys and girls ladies and germs
05:09
this is Tim Ferriss and welcome to
05:11
another episode of the Tim Ferriss show
05:13
my guest today is Greg McEwan that is
05:16
spelled MC ke o WN Greg is the author of
05:21
The New York Times bestseller
05:21
essentialism subtitle the disciplined
05:24
pursuit of less and the founder of
05:26
McEwen Inc a company with a mission to
05:28
teach essentialism to millions of people
05:30
around the world their clients include
05:32
Adobe Apple Airbnb Cisco Google Facebook
05:35
you may have recognized a few of these
05:37
picks our Salesforce calm semantic
05:39
Twitter VMware Yahoo and many others
05:43
MacEwan is an accomplished public
05:44
speaker and has spoken to hundreds of
05:46
audiences around the world and in 2012
05:48
he was named a young global leader by
05:50
the World Economic Forum originally from
05:53
London England McEwen now lives in
05:55
Silicon Valley with his wife and their
05:57
four children he could be found at
05:59
Gregory McEwen on Twitter and at Greg
06:02
McEwen dot-com Greg welcome to the show
06:05
it’s so great to be with you Tim and I’m
06:08
looking here at a table in front of me
06:11
with many many pieces of paper spread
06:13
out and they consist of printed out
06:17
highlights from your book your book is
06:20
one of the most highlighted books that I
06:22
have on my Kindle and I wanted to first
06:26
and foremost thank you for writing it
06:28
because I found it tremendously helpful
06:31
personally and it has become one of the
06:34
few books that I revisit on a regular
06:36
basis so first off I just want to
06:39
express gratitude for you
06:41
written the book well that’s that’s
06:43
awfully nice of you to do that today
06:45
there that’s a very humbling here I was
06:47
thinking we’re going to have a bad
06:48
conversation and now now I feel no I
06:52
feel like we might go somewhere you know
06:54
the secret to happiness low expectations
06:58
so it’s nowhere to go but from here and
07:02
I it’s it’s also a a book I mentioned in
07:07
that way because I don’t want to create
07:11
the illusion that I have some type of
07:15
set it and forget it solution where the
07:19
setting of priority or priorities is not
07:22
an ongoing project at all times or at
07:25
least very frequently something that
07:27
needs to be revisited so I’m looking
07:30
forward to digging into a number of
07:33
different topics and portions of the
07:35
book and as well as many things that are
07:37
not in the book but perhaps for those
07:39
people who don’t know could you just
07:41
tell a little bit about the the genesis
07:43
of essentialism whether that is sort of
07:47
the concept or the focus itself or the
07:50
book well I mean one of the initiating
07:53
moments was when I received an email
07:55
from my you know colleague at the time
07:58
saying look Friday between one or two
08:01
would be a very bad time for your wife
08:03
to have a baby because you know I need
08:07
you to be at this client meeting and you
08:10
know especially in hindsight I’m sure
08:12
they were joking or at least half joking
08:14
about that but somehow I was enough
08:18
stressed in that moment or at that time
08:21
between all the different competing
08:23
expectations responsibilities that as we
08:26
go into the hospital it’s Thursday night
08:28
we’re in the middle of you know the
08:29
daughters born in the middle of the
08:31
night Friday comes along and I am still
08:33
feeling torn and I’m still feeling like
08:36
I probably ought to go how can i go how
08:38
can i keep everybody happy how can i how
08:40
can i do both and and and so you know to
08:44
my shame I I went to the meeting
08:48
remember afterwards being told you know
08:53
look the client
08:55
respect you for the choice you just made
08:57
and I don’t know that they did I didn’t
09:02
know that they did feel that the look on
09:04
their faces didn’t events that sort of
09:07
confidence to me but but even if they
09:10
had you know it’s obvious to you to me
09:13
is everybody listening that I made a
09:14
fool’s bargain yeah I violated something
09:18
more important more essential for
09:20
something less important but less
09:21
essential and what I learned from that
09:23
was the simplest of lessons which is if
09:25
you don’t prioritize your life someone
09:29
else will and and so that gave me fire
09:33
for the deed to to really dig into the
09:36
subject to try and understand better why
09:38
it is that we we make these kinds of
09:40
prioritization decisions and what we can
09:43
do to be perhaps better at it and to
09:46
actually live our life according to the
09:49
things that we’ve identified as
09:50
mattering most and at that time on that
09:53
Friday when you took that meeting what
09:55
type of what type of work were you doing
09:57
what was your profession
09:59
I’ve spent you know 20 years in this
10:03
field generally so that’s leadership
10:05
development it’s it’s writing it’s
10:08
research it’s it’s I was working with
10:11
Silicon Valley companies at the time and
10:13
so so there was a secondary part to this
10:16
story which is that that I was already
10:19
working with these companies and noticed
10:23
a predictable pattern there at a
10:25
professional level which is that these
10:28
companies in the early days would be
10:31
very focused on you know this is what
10:33
we’re trying to do sort of a phase of
10:34
clarity and their clarity would lead to
10:39
success there was real alignment between
10:41
if you knew exactly what you were trying
10:43
to do at the right time then you could
10:45
generate success and then I noticed that
10:47
success breeds lots of options and
10:50
opportunities for these companies well
10:52
that sounds like the right problem to
10:54
have but it does in fact turn out to be
10:56
a problem if it leads to what Jim cons
10:58
is called the undisciplined pursuit of
11:00
more if these companies are they often
11:03
would fall into the undisciplined
11:05
pursuit of more it would lead them to
11:08
make this
11:08
in such a way that they would plateau in
11:10
their progress or even start to fail
11:12
altogether so I named that the success
11:16
paradox and so it was absolutely the
11:20
combination of observing this phenomenon
11:23
inside of these organizations and then
11:25
suddenly observing it in my own life
11:26
that I realized oh this isn’t a business
11:28
phenomenon it’s a human phenomenon and
11:30
there’s a pattern here that I think I’ve
11:34
been able put the pieces together I can
11:36
see that it’s highly relevant for people
11:39
who are otherwise successful people
11:42
because the very nature of success is
11:45
that you will have this basic problem
11:47
you’ll be stretched too thin
11:49
at work at home both and beyond you
11:53
you’ll feel often busy but not
11:55
productive you will feel many different
11:58
pursuits hijacking your agenda each day
12:01
and and you just have more that you want
12:05
to do then you can do so that’s in fact
12:08
a normal scenario for successful people
12:11
and so you know but but I felt like it
12:14
was an underserved problem because most
12:17
of the literature on success is how to
12:19
become successful in the first place but
12:22
for many many people
12:23
the real problem is what to do once you
12:26
are even if you don’t feel very
12:28
successful you as soon as you have more
12:30
options and opportunity you know that
12:32
you can pursue you need a new way of
12:34
handling it than being a Saria where you
12:37
have no options at all so so this is
12:39
where I see the book you know came into
12:41
its own is is it’s really one of the few
12:44
books connected to the subject of
12:46
success that’s about what to do once you
12:49
are successful and underscore at least
12:55
my interpretation of that which is by
12:58
saying successful you don’t necessarily
13:01
mean someone who’s making a million
13:02
dollars a year or a company that’s
13:04
generating a billion dollars in turnover
13:06
a year but in the simplest terms it’s
13:09
someone who has more options than they
13:12
can execute on in their totality right
13:16
and if we think about power on some
13:19
level being having options
13:22
the there comes a point when you have
13:26
more options than you can possibly
13:29
metabolize and and use across the board
13:32
so then you start to have to winnow that
13:34
down and in that case this is where
13:36
principles of say essentialism are very
13:39
helpful and I thought that we might
13:42
explore a little bit one of the reframes
13:47
that I think is very clever and very
13:50
effective which relates to the endowment
13:54
effect could you talk and I can
13:58
certainly I have it right in front of me
13:59
if you’d like me to to jump in as a
14:02
reminder just in case yeah right it’s a
14:11
reason apasa bility I fight I write very
14:13
long-winded books and I’ve done them
14:15
over a pretty long period of time so
14:16
every once in a while I get quoted and I
14:19
feel lost so if let me know I have
14:22
everything in front of me but the could
14:23
you talk about the endowment effect and
14:25
how you turn around questions people
14:28
might ask themselves about certain
14:30
things whether that is something they
14:31
own or an opportunity that gets
14:33
presented to them so I think this is
14:35
really important well let’s use a
14:37
metaphor to get to the endowment effect
14:39
the the the you know our closet is a
14:44
pretty good metaphor for the for the
14:46
problem and what to do about it
14:48
so for a lot of people listening yeah
14:52
even as you say they don’t feel as
14:55
incredibly successful financially
14:57
incredibly successful in all the things
14:58
in their life right they they probably
15:00
still have more things in their closet
15:02
than than they could they actually can
15:04
use usefully that it’s a bit cluttered
15:07
maybe it’s a lot more than a bit
15:09
cluttered I mean I talked to somebody
15:12
not so long ago and they said Greg my
15:15
closet that’s it they said you’ve
15:17
identified the pain point they said I
15:18
have my closet organized by decade so
15:23
they organized it but it is sort of you
15:26
know they said you don’t have a closet
15:28
you have a museum ma’am and you know
15:32
they have the 70s and the 80s let’s
15:33
she’s not using any of these things
15:35
you just has them and that’s an
15:37
organized version of the problem which
15:39
is that we just have so much stuff now
15:42
that is true in the physical stuff it’s
15:44
literally true in the closet but in the
15:46
closet of our lives it is equally true
15:48
now just staying with this metaphor for
15:51
a moment almost everybody has had a
15:53
moment where they say I’ve had enough
15:55
I’m going to organize my closet and they
15:58
you know they begin the process and they
15:59
take an item off the shelf off the floor
16:02
and they say you know I think it’s time
16:04
to just get rid of this item and in the
16:07
moment of picking it up and reflecting
16:10
on it as if to give it away something
16:12
mysterious almost magical seems to
16:15
happen to many of us which is the moment
16:17
we’re looking at we think well you know
16:20
yeah but I I you know I sure I want to
16:25
get rid of it right and I could use it
16:27
sometime in the future you know and
16:29
so-and-so gave it to me in there so I
16:31
and there’s something is somehow in the
16:35
act of giving it away it’s harder to
16:37
give it away than it was before we
16:39
picked it up to give it away so what’s
16:41
going on and as it turns out there’s a
16:43
heuristic a brain here a predisposition
16:46
that we have to all physical objects in
16:52
our life and also in fact all the the
16:54
opportunities that we have in our life –
16:56
and and it is this it’s that we value
16:59
things more because we have them and
17:03
that means that’s a good thing in
17:05
certain situations I mean that’s why you
17:07
essentially yeah owning a home is
17:09
generally a good thing because people
17:11
look after the home better explains the
17:14
phenomenon why nobody in the history in
17:16
the whole world has washed their own
17:18
rental car you know it’s a positive
17:22
phenomenon until and unless we over
17:26
value something that we really ought not
17:28
to have in the closet at all they ought
17:31
to go it is actually not useful to is
17:34
it’s not valuable to us but we are over
17:36
valuing it and therefore keeping it so
17:38
it’s over valuing because we own it or
17:41
it’s endowed to us so in our life that
17:45
is an incredibly real problem we
17:49
we have them you know I’ll give you an
17:51
illustration it’s not in the book but
17:52
it’s something that happened to me that
17:55
really hits a chord and it it happened
17:57
when I was staring at myself in the
18:01
mirror dressed from head to toe in a
18:07
stormtrooper outfit we’re all good
18:12
epiphany start right and I look at
18:16
myself I realize two things I realize
18:21
that I have been thinking of this moment
18:23
in some small degree for 13 years this
18:29
is true I realize I’m standing there
18:31
staring I’m I’m in you know I’m in the
18:34
Halloween store yeah this is not a cheap
18:37
suit that I’m trying on and I remember
18:41
that this is goes back to like when I’m
18:43
10 years old and maybe Return of the
18:47
Jedi would come out of one of those Star
18:48
Wars movies and my older brother one of
18:50
my older brothers and said to me in
18:51
passing but with quite a lot of
18:54
enthusiasm wouldn’t it be great to own
18:57
you know a stormtrooper just like from
19:00
the movies like really that the real
19:02
thing and somehow that got lodged in me
19:05
well that’s an idea see that’s something
19:08
you should pursue yeah that’s what would
19:10
be so cool but all the brother thinks oh
19:13
it must be so and and somehow in the
19:15
back of my mind there it lives
19:17
unquestioned for 30 years and finally
19:20
I’m in the store yo thinking about where
19:23
the diplomas and in that moment I
19:25
actually have a sort of did have a
19:27
Eureka moment is there is no part of me
19:29
that wants this it stayed with me but I
19:32
don’t it might forward your own self
19:34
does not need this one visits this is
19:36
ridiculous what I why you in this suit
19:38
right now and and and so I was able to
19:42
sort of separate myself from from at the
19:47
moment that’s exactly what I’m
19:48
advocating here I’m saying that for a
19:49
lot of us we have a lot of became a
19:52
shortcut phrase my wife will said
19:54
sometimes to me now it is it is that a
19:56
stormtrooper that you’re pursuing is
19:58
that strong stormtrooper opportunity
20:00
that you you used to think
20:03
was the thing but you’re pursuing it
20:06
because you just sort of have it you
20:08
caught on to it you you feel a sense of
20:10
this endowment effect the sense of it’s
20:12
my opportunites my thing it’s my gods
20:15
and it’s not-it’s not serving me anymore
20:17
I think a lot of people have a lot of
20:20
stormtroopers in their life and so it’s
20:24
not about the closet it’s not about the
20:26
stormtrooper rather it’s about the stuff
20:28
that really we need to get past and let
20:31
go so that we can pursue the right
20:33
things now not just the things that we
20:36
are pursuing because at one time we
20:39
wanted to pursue them or one time they
20:41
came into our life and it seems like
20:43
there are a number of ways to identify
20:46
these whether there’s stormtroopers or
20:49
items opportunities that we are endowing
20:53
with a greater value because we have
20:55
them because we’re either own them or
20:58
being presented with them right so you
20:59
could take let’s just say that’s sweater
21:02
from Aunt Mildred or whatever it is and
21:03
rather than asking how much do I value
21:05
this item you turn it around and ask if
21:07
I did not own this item how much would I
21:09
pay to obtain it right that turn around
21:11
seems really important to me or in the
21:13
case of opportunities and I’m quoting
21:15
directly from you here but you know how
21:17
will I feel if I miss out on this
21:18
opportunity instead of that if I did not
21:20
have this opportunity how much would I
21:22
be willing to sacrifice in order to
21:24
obtain it right that strikes me as a
21:27
very powerful reframe and is certainly
21:30
also I think it was Andy Grove at Intel
21:33
who also used this for you and there are
21:35
many other business examples but if we
21:37
were not already in this line of
21:39
business how much would be pay to pursue
21:43
it or would we pursue it in the first
21:44
place right as a way of pruning
21:48
activities and conserving resources so
21:50
they could be applied to the most
21:51
important things yes and the idea is to
21:56
trick your brain into putting it in the
21:59
position where you don’t own the thing
22:01
where you don’t have the opportunity so
22:03
you have to reflect on it afresh you
22:06
have to say okay starting now
22:08
do I want this thing now do I how hard
22:12
would I go after this now if I didn’t
22:14
own it if I didn’t have it and
22:16
helps us to evaluate things more without
22:19
this this inflation of the fact that we
22:25
own it the it is of course the amount of
22:27
it you co-created as I understand it a
22:32
class at Stanford GSB at the business
22:35
school yeah did that could you describe
22:38
that class and the the curriculum I know
22:44
nothing about this it was just mentioned
22:46
very briefly in passing in some of the
22:48
reading that I was doing in preparation
22:50
for this but could could you describe
22:52
the class and the intent and the
22:54
curriculum of that class yeah it was it
22:57
was co-created at the design school at
23:00
Stanford and the I mean the intent of it
23:04
was look could you you know but would
23:08
people be interested in really coming
23:11
together to design their life not just
23:13
using design principles which Design
23:17
Thinking has enormous application of
23:20
value to to our lives
23:22
but particularly the design thinking
23:25
with an essentialist lens so if you had
23:29
to come together and you had to design
23:32
your life and we we did it in design
23:35
pairs or even in design threes where you
23:38
would be designing for each other a life
23:43
around the most important thing the
23:46
essential things and and and if we
23:49
haven’t made it clear it ought to be
23:51
made clear that this the this is what
23:53
essentialism is it’s – its to figure out
23:57
what is essential it is to eliminate
24:00
what is not essential and it is to then
24:04
build a system that makes execution as
24:06
effortless as possible and that’s
24:09
exactly what we were doing in that class
24:11
so people would come and they would work
24:13
together to to get greater clarity about
24:17
what really mattered versus what was
24:19
just good in their life you know what
24:21
those very few highest values are
24:23
highest value projects you know most
24:26
important contributions and and then
24:29
together to work
24:30
how can you start to trade off the
24:33
things that your of least value that
24:35
still play a role in your life that is
24:38
still the stormtroopers still still
24:40
taking up energy resources attention
24:43
that aren’t really the right things and
24:45
and so this is this is what we were
24:48
doing we had a variety of exercises for
24:50
trying to get about could you walk us
24:54
through any of those exercises or
24:56
describe them because one of the one of
24:59
the topics I was going to get to of
25:00
course is how to answer the question you
25:04
know am i investing in the right
25:05
activities or how to determine that
25:07
because there are cases let’s just say
25:08
in a sales organization where you have
25:10
very clear measurables very clear
25:12
deliverables and it’s it’s perhaps
25:14
rather straightforward that you have
25:16
just say solopreneurs or early-stage
25:20
entrepreneurs where they’re wearing
25:21
seventeen different hats at a given time
25:24
and they they might actually have some
25:26
trouble identifying the answer to this
25:29
so could you walk us through any
25:30
exercises that you use with the students
25:33
yes I would love to do that and I’d love
25:35
to do it in a in a different way rather
25:37
than to talk about the abstract or even
25:39
just her to tell a story about someone
25:42
let’s do it like if you’re game I’ll go
25:46
through an exercise that grew out of
25:48
those experiences but with you right now
25:50
you game let’s do it okay it’s this at
25:54
the risk of embarrassing myself I want
25:58
you and anybody who doesn’t doesn’t have
26:02
to overthink any of these questions this
26:04
is this is really simple but but it cuts
26:06
away all that the concepts you just gets
26:08
moving so okay so Tim just in your life
26:11
right now for real something think of
26:14
something tell me something that is
26:16
essential to you very important to you
26:21
that you feel you’re under investing in
26:23
right now it’s really matters but you
26:26
know you’re not really putting the
26:27
resources you wished you were behind it
26:29
go okay I would say I’m investing in it
26:37
pretty well but probably not as much as
26:38
I should or feel that I that I should it
26:42
would be
26:43
experimenting with and researching
26:46
different modalities for addressing
26:51
psycho emotional trauma things that I
26:54
have not addressed in previous books so
26:58
the the the emotional component of life
27:02
that subconsciously very often drives so
27:05
many of our behaviors and patterns it
27:07
would be doing personal experiments
27:09
related to that and I’ve already done
27:12
that over the last four or five years
27:13
but really investing in organizing all
27:16
of that mm-hmm okay so so is clarifying
27:20
you sounded to me like there’s a future
27:23
book here potentially potentially it’s
27:25
it’s something I didn’t think I was
27:27
going to write for probably a few
27:28
decades but yes it’s I’ve put it on a
27:31
closer burner it’s not on the back
27:33
burner it’s still on a burner but it’s
27:35
it’s been pushed from the back burner to
27:37
a front burner
27:38
yeah it’s just a you you you you can see
27:42
that if you could identify the tools the
27:47
concrete ways of handling this kind of
27:51
deeper trauma I’m reading into this now
27:55
but that you’ve experienced that you
27:56
know other people have experienced that
27:59
that that could be incredibly valuable
28:02
to people because because it’s actually
28:06
so much more Universal than is obvious
28:08
or it’s not talked about a lot but it’s
28:10
really universal challenge that we’ve
28:13
gone through traumas and we don’t know
28:14
we don’t have the skills and the tools
28:17
to know what to do with that that’s
28:20
right so it is so it produces suffering
28:22
that’s right that’s right and in fact
28:24
many of the books that I’ve written
28:27
while I think very effective for helping
28:32
people to build businesses focus on
28:36
physical performance or improve physical
28:37
performance and appearance and so on can
28:41
those same objectives can be used as
28:45
salves or numbing agents to avoid the
28:49
root psychological or emotional traumas
28:53
that are causing self-destructive
28:55
behaviors
28:56
if that makes any sense so yeah yeah it
28:59
makes total it makes total sense and we
29:01
should go there for a moment because is
29:02
a friend of mine once said to me you
29:05
know success traps are often harder to
29:08
get out of them failure traps yeah
29:11
agree hands and so and so what you’re
29:14
saying makes perfect sense to me that
29:15
that even a deliberate intense pursuit
29:18
of good objectives to be successful to
29:25
could could in fact be as you’re saying
29:28
they could be just a form of being stuck
29:32
in a different more positive looking
29:35
coping mechanism yep
29:37
yeah and I should say also I’ll let you
29:40
pick where we want to go that would be
29:42
one that would be one area I’m not
29:44
investing enough in potentially the
29:46
other would be rehabilitation of a
29:51
sacroiliac injury that I have in my hip
29:54
so be those are those are two options we
29:56
can go whichever direction you want I I
30:00
don’t know yeah I kind of I’m looking to
30:03
you for it which which one’s the most
30:04
important but I the first the first one
30:07
I think the most stay with that then
30:09
because because you know what what I’m
30:12
exploring a little with you here just to
30:14
be sort of transparent and the process
30:16
is why does it matter so much to you
30:17
right you said it’s essentially you said
30:19
this thing matters and and we ought to
30:21
identify then really you know why and
30:25
maybe we’re as far as we need to go on
30:27
that but I sensing you it’s it’s a
30:30
pretty deep why for you you know whether
30:32
we have words for or not it’s like know
30:34
that you know I maybe it’s like this
30:37
it’s all of the books I’ve done before
30:41
are really preparing for this you know
30:44
that those have all given a platform you
30:47
know this is millions of people
30:49
literally right and and and you know and
30:51
well done you you built you built this
30:53
extraordinary platform to be out of
30:55
reach people make a difference and and
30:59
now what what what what is the what is
31:02
that the highest or deepest contribution
31:05
that can then be made and as you’re
31:06
doing it I feel like there’s a sort of
31:08
you know is that
31:10
quote that which is most personal is
31:12
most universal hmm and there’s something
31:14
about that here which is which is okay
31:17
if we get really honest and and raw we
31:20
find that there’s a lot of unresolved a
31:23
lot of unresolved trauma and now we’re
31:26
riffing here a little bit beyond the
31:28
process but but I mean this is something
31:30
that’s very like yeah this is important
31:34
to me the subject over on to yeah and it
31:37
so I can relate to it in this way one of
31:39
the things I’ve begun doing research
31:41
about is is intergenerational trauma and
31:45
how and how even if in our own lives we
31:49
go hi I think my life has been pretty
31:51
good in life has worked out and so on
31:53
what you find is that there can be that
31:57
there can be multiple generations of an
32:00
of unresolved issues that a manifest
32:04
wordlessly in our own lives because no
32:09
one talked about them so the
32:13
ramifications are real but we don’t have
32:16
language that’s the worst scenario to be
32:18
in yeah is to have is they have the
32:20
problem without any ability to even talk
32:23
about it to address it to to even know
32:25
that it’s really there until we have
32:27
language things they’re not even that
32:28
real okay or or the ability to feel that
32:33
something is off and an inability to
32:35
identify what it is even exactly in the
32:38
absence of words so the what I would put
32:42
together would be a from my perspective
32:45
or from my experience a comprehensive
32:49
description of my personal journey but
32:51
also the tools that I’ve found to be
32:55
most effective not only for myself but
32:57
for other people yeah so yes that’s very
33:01
very important to me okay so so let me
33:03
ask you another question about this the
33:05
the which is what would what is success
33:08
for you and I don’t mean success like
33:10
the okay the book is this or that you
33:12
know that’s not even that’s not even
33:14
necessarily the thing at this point it’s
33:16
it’s the yeah you could go down this
33:19
journey and conclude okay no this isn’t
33:21
the right time for it and so on but but
33:23
what is your
33:24
daily amount of time that you would need
33:28
to invest in this for you to say to me I
33:31
now feel like I’m not under investing
33:34
anymore you know I I now feel so what’s
33:37
the Delta between where you are right
33:39
now in a daily amount and where you say
33:42
no I’m not perfect it’s not like I feel
33:44
amazing about how much time time and
33:45
something but I feel good about it’s not
33:47
under invested anymore this this is a
33:49
really good question and I want to
33:51
explain why I struggle perhaps a bit to
33:56
answer it and I think this will also be
33:58
a struggle that applies to other people
34:01
this this is a this is a project where I
34:05
don’t yet feel I have gathered enough
34:09
research to proceed to the writing and
34:14
synthesis phase even though I’ve
34:16
collected notes for almost five years
34:18
and so there’s the question of am I
34:23
ready or am I not ready or am I simply
34:26
putting off the next step because I am
34:31
fearful of something I would say once I
34:35
get into synthesis phase and I am doing
34:39
a lot of experiments and have for the
34:40
last four or five years I would be
34:43
putting in four to five hours a day
34:45
minimum on this to feel fully vested I
34:49
can’t I find it very difficult to put
34:53
together pros in any fashion or attempt
34:55
to put it together for more than three
34:57
or four hours a day so probably probably
35:00
yeah 3 to 3 to 5 hours per day but I
35:03
would be thinking about it all day every
35:07
day it would be running in the
35:08
background right yes Seinfeld was asked
35:11
recently how many hours did he spend
35:13
working on his the the recent one our
35:16
specially done fit for Netflix how long
35:19
how many hours did it take for him to do
35:20
it and he said he said he’s the best
35:22
like asking God how long it takes for
35:26
him to grow an oak tree he’s like but
35:29
all the time that’s what he’s doing all
35:30
the time he’s just growing trees in the
35:33
world and everything is it he said that
35:34
that’s what I’m doing it’s not five
35:36
hours of 10 hours my whole
35:37
that’s what I’m doing so I understand
35:40
that from what you’re saying okay so
35:42
that that’s interesting so so of the two
35:45
you just said two interesting things so
35:47
you said you said I don’t know what it
35:49
is that’s really keeping me back from
35:52
doing it you know so you don’t there’s
35:55
that there’s a question mark here around
35:56
do I spend time on more research per day
36:03
yep or do I spend do I shift you know
36:06
you’ve got a gathering of research phase
36:08
and then there’s a I’m gonna consciously
36:10
be applying it and writing about my
36:13
applications there’s sort of a two-phase
36:15
process that you’re following
36:16
overlapping but still distinct and to
36:20
answer my question about how much time
36:22
you need to spend you have to know which
36:24
phase you’re in right right I would also
36:27
say if this is something that’s useful
36:30
for that the the fear may be as simple
36:32
as it up because I’ve built this
36:34
book up in my mind for the last five
36:36
years is as almost certainly the most
36:40
important book I will have written today
36:43
and may ever write and there is a
36:46
there’s a there’s a very clear fear of
36:51
fumbling the ball when I’ve been given a
36:54
fantastic opportunity to do some good so
36:57
I think there’s that as well there’s a
36:58
fear of it up oh absolutely
37:00
i I could relate to that I just barely
37:05
begun in this very early process of
37:07
working on it and on a book and and and
37:10
my manager to myself for quite a while
37:13
with this has been don’t write a rubbish
37:15
book yeah and and actually just recently
37:20
I think I say tearing that with my wife
37:21
and she’s like yeah you might want to
37:23
come up with another mantra it’s not
37:34
cute inside it’s real fear I mean you
37:37
don’t you and you when something’s
37:38
important it way and and frankly when
37:41
from my point of view it’s the easiest
37:45
thing in the world to write a bad book
37:47
pray that dad’s dense like that’s what
37:49
happens in fact and often
37:51
after a book that’s been successful the
37:53
next books very hard for people to write
37:55
so so that alone is a fear but then
37:59
you’ve got this double whammy fear
38:00
because you’re going it matters so much
38:02
I cannot get this wrong I cannot mess
38:06
this up yeah and and and and I think you
38:10
can sense but I’m pretty much in your
38:11
mouth but I think you can sense that
38:13
that may be just an obstacle that’s
38:18
that’s that’s keeping you back but it
38:21
isn’t really real like you’re not gonna
38:24
write a rubbish book but you but you you
38:26
worry that you are and that worries
38:28
holding you back does that sound right
38:30
were your thoughts that sounds right to
38:31
me
38:32
it’s helpful just to talk through
38:33
frankly so this is this is valuable for
38:36
me and your your mention of the the
38:40
mantra replacement that your wife
38:42
suggested made me think of something I
38:43
was told and I can’t recall the
38:45
attribution so someone can find this
38:47
certainly but that worrying is like
38:50
praying for what you don’t want so in a
38:53
sense that’s brilliant I have the wrong
38:55
the antecedent framing that I have right
39:00
now is is preventing me from from taking
39:03
the the most essential next actions okay
39:08
so I can see III I accept and I agree
39:12
that it that’s probably a phantom worry
39:14
like I’m not even if I wrote a book that
39:16
I felt was rubbish I also wouldn’t
39:17
publish it right so you wouldn’t publish
39:19
it there really isn’t that fear isn’t
39:22
real yeah what’s the best mantra’ for
39:25
you well the first thing that came to
39:27
mind was good now is better than perfect
39:29
later since there’s a lot of suffering
39:32
in the world and not that I’m playing
39:35
Savior or anything like that but I’ve
39:36
experienced a lot of pain myself and
39:38
found things that work so there’s an
39:39
argument to be made that the sort of
39:42
compounding of suffering over time would
39:46
mean that if I put out a book that is
39:49
80% of what it could be in ten years
39:52
it’s still better than I put it out now
39:55
that may not be the the right mantra but
39:58
just to say enabling belief that could
40:00
be one or assumption
40:02
yeah yeah I like I like that um it I’m
40:07
one I’m curious about whether it’s
40:10
perfectionism that is the barrier yes I
40:14
think that’s absolutely think it is I
40:16
won’t lie I cut short your multiple
40:19
choice second element is is is it is it
40:27
just the very subject itself yes that is
40:32
a form of perfectionism still isn’t it
40:34
it’s just it masses so much it can
40:36
really make a difference but if I don’t
40:38
get it right what what if you don’t get
40:41
it right what what happens then let’s
40:43
let’s say you didn’t get it right what
40:45
what’s what’s the fear really what’s the
40:48
fear really oh that I let people down
40:53
then I receive wide-spread criticism
40:57
because I didn’t do enough due diligence
40:59
to cover all the bases and to test the
41:03
different modalities that I should part
41:05
of the big challenge in this particular
41:07
arena for me the subject matter which is
41:10
so broad is that unlike physical
41:14
performance where you have many
41:16
measurables unlike in the realm of
41:20
startups where you have key metrics and
41:25
so on which are measurables a lot of
41:27
this emotional terrain is very squishy
41:32
there’s a lot of and a lot of
41:34
charlatans and a lot of I would say
41:38
imprecise thinking and faulty logic that
41:43
needs to be sifted through so it’s it’s
41:45
it’s been a very challenging realm in
41:49
which to do testing and research if that
41:52
makes sense
41:52
oh yes we’ve got we’re like in the germ
41:57
theory era yeah exactly
41:59
most notes formers yeah we’re just just
42:02
you know it’s a wild wild west in
42:04
comparison to what eventually we’ll know
42:06
and we’ll learn about the subject ok so
42:10
so so let’s say let’s say you you are
42:16
it’s too bombastic way of saying it but
42:18
let’s say you’ve kind of been a little
42:19
bit hiding behind this concern this this
42:22
fear and and and we’re gonna now shift
42:24
towards phase two of the project right
42:27
where it’s where okay I don’t have it
42:29
all of course I don’t have it all there
42:31
is no such thing as that you know eighty
42:33
percent is going to be good enough my
42:35
manager at 80 percent if it’s 80 percent
42:38
good I’m gonna be able to move forward
42:40
so let’s say you do move to the second
42:43
thing you said you identify three to
42:45
five hours is that additional three to
42:49
five hours of from where you’ve been
42:51
before is that you spending some time on
42:54
a now so now you have to add another two
42:56
hours what what’s the I’m spending the
42:59
way I’ve been working on it and my
43:03
apologies for folks if this is if this
43:04
is does not immediately seemingly apply
43:07
to what you’re doing but hopefully this
43:08
is helpful just to hear people or to
43:11
hear the two of us work through this
43:13
process wise the research phase for me
43:16
is very chunky if that makes sense
43:19
it’s two weeks of 24/7 and then four
43:23
weeks of trying to figure out what the
43:24
just happened and it’s it’s not a
43:28
daily slow and steady process whereas
43:33
the if I were to say enough is enough
43:36
Tim you could always do more research
43:38
this is a defense mechanism you’re using
43:40
to put off starting the composition of
43:43
the book start the composition of the
43:45
book then I would get it into a phase
43:48
where I’m looking at that three to five
43:50
hours a day on a regular consistent
43:53
basis so I would say I’m effectively
43:56
starting at zero because I’m in Phase
43:58
one where for instance ending about a
44:02
week ago I was two weeks off the grid
44:05
doing pure experimentation and research
44:07
and gathering notes so I have that but
44:11
then for the last week I have
44:13
effectively spent zero time on it
44:16
because I am in the down the downshifted
44:22
phase mm-hm
44:23
without an active experiment okay so so
44:27
before we can move on this is all
44:29
everything
44:30
we’ve done is really covering the first
44:31
phase they’re not equally they’re not
44:33
equal phases but phase one of applying
44:36
essentialism is what is essential and
44:38
that includes why does it matter what
44:40
does success look like and what’s the
44:42
the thing you want to shift to and so on
44:44
so it’s it’s you know and and I always
44:46
want to emphasize this small side point
44:48
which is that sometimes when people even
44:50
when they read essentialism or certainly
44:52
if they’ve record about just the
44:54
peripheral level they think I’ve written
44:55
a book about sort of saying no and that
44:58
is part of it but I didn’t write a book
45:00
called you know called no ism it’s it’s
45:04
about essentialism and so that’s why the
45:06
the thrust of this conversation has to
45:08
be there because we’ve got to get clear
45:11
what’s essential what do we actually
45:13
need to make a change if that’s in that
45:15
that is highly important to us and
45:17
that’s what gives drive to everything
45:18
else so just before moving on to the
45:22
trade off phase I think I can identify
45:24
my my core question before with the
45:27
multiple choice I don’t feel like I gave
45:28
the multiple choice properly it’s it is
45:31
the primary thing the the perfectionism
45:34
or is the primary thing just a personal
45:39
pain not not of writing a book that’s
45:43
its own kind of pain heavy lifting right
45:48
for sure there’s that but there’s just
45:50
this particular subject the very nature
45:53
of it is riskier you know riskier to put
45:57
it out there riskier to be vulnerable
45:59
riskier to to explore these things that
46:02
kind of a level riskier to be criticized
46:05
when it’s something that’s so personally
46:09
so personally vulnerable I go there’s a
46:13
very fair question I think it’s I think
46:15
it’s perfectionism
46:16
I’ve except spent the last handful of
46:19
years coming to terms with the risks
46:21
inherent in writing a book like this and
46:24
the inescapable barrage of criticism
46:28
that I will get and so I’m really trying
46:30
to in gathering the notes focus on or
46:35
have the base assumption that it’s not
46:39
how many people don’t get it that
46:41
matters it’s how many people do get it
46:43
and yeah focusing I mean there are and I
46:46
heard recently in this actually a
46:48
documentary which is very entertaining
46:49
called the price of everything
46:51
paraphrasing here but there are three
46:53
categories of people those who see those
46:57
who can see when shown and those who
46:59
will never see and I’m really in the
47:02
context of a book like this trying to
47:04
focus on the first two categories so
47:07
I’ve accepted the the risks I think come
47:10
to terms with most of them it’s it’s
47:13
perfectionism I think yes that is that
47:16
is the hurdle I’m not clearing at the
47:19
moment yeah at least one yeah and it
47:24
just I mean I just still want to be on
47:25
this just for a moment I mean I I just
47:28
want to support you in the process I
47:30
mean that this the idea of a kind of
47:34
tools the Titans but applied to this
47:39
pain point
47:40
mmm-hmm just seems totally relevant
47:43
it just seems you know as anxiety has
47:46
become the number one you know diagnosed
47:50
condition
47:51
beating out depression now right does it
47:53
is there’s stuff going on and there’s
47:56
stuff going on there’s more traumas
47:58
going on in a variety of ways I think
48:00
that’s fair to say but also there’s more
48:03
openness to talking about traumas so all
48:05
these backlog of things not discuss to
48:08
suddenly be you know being able to be
48:12
discussed and and there’s just so much
48:15
going on in the cloud of noise out there
48:18
in social media and a variety of ways
48:20
you know that that I think people feel
48:23
unsettled inside and we’ve always known
48:26
that there were things out there that
48:27
could hurt as writers that we had the
48:29
Cold War we had there’s always risks in
48:32
the world but recently I feel like the
48:34
risks feel more within people than they
48:38
used to and so I just think it’s so
48:40
relevant and and and I think I think the
48:44
way that you would approach in you know
48:47
there’s there are obviously people that
48:49
will need it just the way you do it
48:51
weaknesses and all you know yeah what’s
48:54
and all that there so I
48:57
okay so that’s it there’s the case one
48:59
okay so so so let’s let’s move down to
49:02
Phase two which is what what are you
49:04
willing to give up to do this you know
49:06
what let me ask it slightly differently
49:07
which is what is something non-essential
49:10
that you’re over investing in currently
49:13
yeah that’s a great question
49:16
I’ve already categorically in the last
49:19
six months cut out certain things say
49:24
certainly any type of book blurbs which
49:27
necessitate reading books those are all
49:28
gone yeah speaking engagements all gone
49:31
with very rare exception unless they
49:33
happen to be within a 15 minute walk of
49:36
where I live which doesn’t doesn’t
49:38
happen very often and so is just like
49:45
classic there’s ever a your email
49:52
bounce-back has a word attachment to it
49:56
am I making this up I think this is what
49:57
I seem to recall it might it might it is
50:01
evolved over time but it’s it’s very
50:03
it’s very clear on the things that I do
50:05
not do one after another after another
50:09
like none of this stuff you ever eaten
50:12
had to be for any of this stuff there is
50:15
no point and I do I do when possible try
50:21
to point people to other helpful
50:22
resources would you which for whatever
50:24
for whatever reason people really don’t
50:27
want to read they want me to regurgitate
50:28
it in a half-assed manner to them one on
50:31
one rather than just pointing to them to
50:33
resource but that’s a whole separate
50:34
conversation so there are there are
50:36
things that have categorically decided
50:39
to say no to because I do not do
50:41
moderation well with those those items
50:46
right I don’t do moderation well nobody
50:49
does moderation well that’s my is my
50:52
opinion about this Soviet people don’t
50:54
do moderation well I decided go out
50:56
sugar a year ago and almost a year ago
50:59
New Year’s Eve talking to somebody I’ve
51:02
been thinking about doing it for a while
51:03
they’ve been on sugar for 12 years and
51:05
I’m like okay you know 12 years I can do
51:06
a year I’m going to make this decision
51:08
if I’ve gone 95 percent off
51:11
oh no I’m out before I begin
51:14
everything’s an exception well that’s
51:16
you know that’s amazing cake I’ve gotta
51:18
eat that I mean that’s oh this is a
51:20
holiday I’m gonna eat that it’s the
51:21
weekend I’m going how’s my wife I got it
51:24
now she’s into that guy everything’s an
51:27
exception so I think there’s a variety
51:29
of things in life that it’s a much much
51:32
easier to go a hundred percent than it
51:35
is to go 95 percent because what you’re
51:38
doing is you’re taking out the decision
51:39
process it’s done we are not doing sugar
51:43
now I don’t have to think every time and
51:45
by the way there’s crazy amounts of
51:47
sugar in this world yeah I don’t have to
51:50
think about it every time the decisions
51:51
already made so anyway I guess it’s oh
51:53
there’s a lot of things you’ve cut out
51:54
what not so I have one so the first I
51:59
want to just mention that one of the one
52:02
of the concepts in essentials and that I
52:04
really appreciated is trying to find the
52:06
one decision that removes a thousand
52:08
decisions such as the the elimination of
52:11
sugar that you mentioned as just one
52:14
example I will tell you where I struggle
52:18
and I think I’m better than maybe
52:22
average Joe or Jane at saying no to
52:25
things I’m quite good but one of the
52:27
great ironies of writing a book called
52:30
say essentialism or the 4-hour workweek
52:32
is that if those concepts hit and the
52:35
books do well you suddenly have a flood
52:37
a torrent of inbound requests and all
52:41
sorts of new categories of things to
52:43
contend with and I find myself
52:48
struggling to say no to people who
52:52
probably land on the spectrum of good
52:56
acquaintances to reasonably good friend
52:59
who asked for help with various things
53:03
and there are certain things that I feel
53:07
very comfortable saying no to like the
53:09
book blurbs but I have hundreds of
53:14
requests those aren’t all from friends
53:16
but dozens certainly for promotion of
53:20
their books on social it’s usually book
53:22
related because people want their books
53:23
to sell being on the podcast you name it
53:26
and I have I feel like friends who do
53:31
not fully think of the ramifications of
53:35
their request often times when it’s
53:37
last-minute where they wouldn’t ever go
53:39
to the New York Times the day before
53:41
they have something come out and ask for
53:42
everything to be reshuffled for their
53:43
benefit that is what ends up happening
53:46
to me on a fairly regular basis so I
53:48
think I allocate too much time to trying
53:51
to explain myself to those people or
53:54
placate those people in some way and I
53:58
would love to hear your thoughts on best
54:04
practices or heuristics related to that
54:07
specifically because I don’t view myself
54:09
as a people pleaser but nonetheless with
54:12
this particular subset of people I do
54:15
find it really challenging and there are
54:17
times when people I would like to
54:19
maintain a good relationship with who
54:21
come to me last-minute for help that I
54:22
cannot deliver without massively
54:25
inconveniencing my entire team and
54:27
reshuffling get very pissed in a way or
54:31
they take it very personally and maybe
54:34
that’s okay I think I tend to think that
54:36
it is and I’m going a little long here
54:38
but it’s I think a challenge that a lot
54:40
of people face what are your thoughts
54:42
well let’s let’s just agree on the
54:46
problem first of all because as a CEO
54:51
friend of mine once told me he said is
54:52
that I take every time and resource
54:57
estimate that’s given to me now and I
55:00
multiply it by PI so he’s saying I
55:06
thought he was exaggerating at first but
55:08
he’s saying he’s saying that people so
55:11
massively underestimate everything and
55:13
there is another heuristic for this
55:15
right it’s called the planning fallacy
55:16
the final fallacy is saying these things
55:20
take we as humans underestimate almost
55:23
all the time how long things will take
55:26
and we do that even with things we have
55:28
done ourselves before driving from point
55:30
A to point B takes us 15 minutes but if
55:33
we
55:33
in the middle of writing an email we
55:34
will convince ourselves we can do it in
55:37
five minutes this time well get there
55:39
all green lights everything’s gonna work
55:41
somehow it’ll be done in five minutes of
55:42
course we do it doesn’t take that long
55:44
it takes 50 minutes so we’re late for
55:45
the meeting right but we want Connor
55:47
selves into it what you’re describing I
55:49
think as two pieces to it the first is
55:52
this piece and the second is the
55:53
relationship impact of how to handle
55:57
this but what you’re describing is a
55:59
problem where somebody is really under
56:01
estimating what their request is they’re
56:06
saying in their head they’re going this
56:08
is a two-minute favor Tim it’s not hard
56:13
all you have to do is put out a tweet
56:15
how hard can it be or whatever and so in
56:19
their head they’re asked is very small
56:21
but the reality is that their ask is
56:24
much bigger right they don’t link them
56:26
they also don’t think about the
56:27
reputational risk or anything like that
56:29
of endorsing something that I don’t have
56:30
time to read a for instance well that’s
56:33
exactly so you know so so I think that
56:37
there is something around this again
56:40
before we get to the relationship impact
56:41
of and maybe it’s maybe you already did
56:44
it but of actually creating one page
56:48
you’ve got the email bounce-back
56:50
document having a page that says look
56:53
this is the real cost the total cost of
56:56
ownership of me saying yes to this so so
57:00
that and maybe because even once it’s
57:03
created it could be used in a variety of
57:04
ways one is reactively right when the
57:06
request comes in okay I needed to read
57:08
this first I need to understand but
57:10
maybe there’s a proactive approach which
57:12
is like look this is I’m just putting
57:14
this out there this is what this
57:16
actually costs because even what you
57:19
just said reputational costs not that
57:20
people aren’t thinking about that you
57:22
know they’re just thinking about getting
57:23
their thing achieved and and so being
57:26
able to try and calculate all of that
57:28
the total cost of ownership I mean
57:29
that’s what you have to do with the
57:30
planning fallacy is we have to consider
57:32
the total cost so that we don’t start
57:34
projects so we don’t complete in fact
57:36
there’s a New York Times just ran a
57:38
piece about exactly this that I’m aware
57:41
of because of because it’s quoting
57:43
essentialism you know in in trying to
57:45
address the problem but of
57:47
all these projects can start we don’t
57:48
finish this is just a version of that
57:51
problem that they’re coming they’re not
57:53
sure they’re not being the maybe are
57:54
being thoughtless maybe they don’t think
57:57
they’re being thoughtless they just
57:58
think it’s not a big deal for you and
58:00
they don’t understand the full range of
58:02
impact so I think writing this out live
58:04
almost like it’s a recipe this is the
58:06
cost and in that I think in the helpful
58:09
side of it you could say so in the
58:11
future if you want to be considered this
58:15
is the process you would need to go
58:17
through you know so that so again what’s
58:21
what’s happening is that you’ve got to
58:22
help other people’s problems be their
58:25
problem right and and there’s a story I
58:29
came across with a book that I really
58:30
like on this this principle which is I
58:32
think it’s a true story
58:34
I said quite remember now but it’s a dr.
58:37
cloud he’s talking about meeting with a
58:41
couple or husband why their parents and
58:43
they come to see him and they say they
58:46
say look you know our son we have so
58:48
many problems with our son and you know
58:51
he says I’m drugs he’s he’s drinking all
58:53
the time it’s living back at home with
58:54
us now I mean he’s just not got a job
58:56
everything is just such a mess for this
58:59
is so concerning he says okay well I
59:01
understand where is he though where you
59:03
have an appointment here to deal with
59:05
this where is your son they said they
59:08
said well you know he’s he doesn’t
59:10
really see that he has a problem and and
59:13
and that’s a person’s well I think I
59:17
think he’s right and they’re shocked at
59:22
that what do you mean that he’s right
59:24
you know just described all the problems
59:27
he said no he says he says listen he
59:29
says if if you look outside your window
59:32
in the morning and your sprinkler head
59:35
on your lawn is faulty and it’s spraying
59:40
on your neighbor’s grass and your
59:43
neighbor’s grass is green and your grass
59:46
is dying who has the problem you’ve got
59:50
the problem right because your grass is
59:52
dying your neighbor doesn’t have a
59:53
problem their grass is fine either your
59:55
son doesn’t have a problem because he’s
59:58
comfortable at home with you he has to
60:00
do whatever
60:00
she’s looked after life is fine he
60:03
doesn’t have a problem you have a
60:04
problem and your job now is to help your
60:07
son to have a problem your son have his
60:16
problem in a well-intended you’d be well
60:19
intended to truck but you’ve got it all
60:22
wrong you’ve got to let him own it if he
60:25
doesn’t have a problem if he if
60:27
everything’s taken care of for him he
60:29
can’t move forward he can’t get better
60:31
and and so now obviously it’s a bit
60:34
strong to use that example with the
60:36
example that you’ve you’ve led this
60:37
conversation with but but it is a
60:40
similar principle is that there has to
60:42
be a boundary and there has to be an
60:44
education of going you know you’ve made
60:46
this from my problem right now let me
60:48
just lay this out so that you can own
60:50
the problem so in the future we can do
60:53
this
60:53
perhaps in a better way yeah it’s it
60:56
makes perfect sense I I was told
60:58
something not not too terribly long ago
61:00
maybe two years ago it’s just along the
61:02
lines of a line you could use with such
61:05
people although you’d probably have to
61:07
dress it up a little bit which is you
61:09
know your lack of planning does not
61:10
constitute my emergency right right and
61:14
which is just I suppose in theory makes
61:17
a lot of sense but it sometimes falls by
61:20
the wayside and practice due to fear of
61:23
social repercussions which we can get to
61:26
and in a second I mean I’ve had some
61:28
awful experiences and I don’t to turn
61:29
this into a 100 percent Tim Ferriss
61:32
therapy session but just so people know
61:35
for those people out there who may be
61:37
like oh yeah that Tim Ferriss you never
61:38
agreed to X or whatever it is I’ve had
61:41
instances where journalists from
61:43
mainstream publications have reached out
61:45
for book blurbs or help with their own
61:47
projects I have Paul very politely
61:50
declined because I’ve been unable to
61:51
help them in the capacity they required
61:54
and they’ve gone on to write like hit
61:56
pieces or hatchet pieces or slammed
61:58
pieces about me out of spite and it’s
62:01
like that kind of happens so I
62:03
think I’m a little once bitten twice shy
62:07
from a lot of those experiences but
62:09
ultimately does any of that prevent me
62:11
from doing the
62:14
essential project that we discussed not
62:17
really so well that well that that right
62:21
there is of course is is exactly the
62:24
point if you know one can say let’s take
62:27
the let’s take the the opposite argument
62:29
for a moment and and I’ll just play
62:32
non-essential astir the conversation
62:34
which is yes Tim you’re getting it wrong
62:37
you’re thinking about yourself too much
62:40
and you every single request that
62:44
someone from from from media or any
62:47
friend or any acquaintance that anything
62:51
that they want from you you should be
62:53
saying yes there’s what you know you got
62:55
helped by lots of people therefore
62:57
you’re under total obligation to do it
62:59
for everybody else and and and you got
63:01
this wrong so is that argument right is
63:04
it really right it could be right is it
63:06
right it’s it’s I don’t think it’s right
63:09
and even if it were right it’s not
63:11
sustainable right it can’t be right or
63:24
will not continue it cannot continue
63:27
right so what you just said which is
63:28
awesome is like is like well it’s
63:32
correct other than it’s impossible yeah
63:35
right you helped us to to understand the
63:43
basic foundational error with
63:45
non-essential ISM like the problem with
63:48
non-essential ISM is that it happens it
63:51
was the only from happens to be a lie
63:54
it’s just got that inconvenience
63:56
associated with it you you can’t
63:59
actually do everything you can’t
64:03
actually get this next book that we’ve
64:07
just identified what it is why it
64:09
matters deeply why it matters launched
64:13
living and and out into the universe and
64:16
also do everything that people think is
64:21
reasonable for you to do you cannot do
64:24
both of those things
64:28
as soon as you come to terms with that
64:30
you say okay well good okay that’s not a
64:32
solution I can have that actually isn’t
64:35
it’s not you say not sustainable that
64:37
means it can’t be done you can pretend
64:39
you can be doing it for a little while
64:41
and then the book doesn’t get written so
64:44
all those people that the ones that
64:46
aren’t probably asking anything from you
64:48
but they’re still in pain and you could
64:50
still do something to be useful to them
64:52
provide them some helpful insights that
64:54
you’ve gained you know you can do that
64:56
or you can you can keep helping the
65:00
people that are asking for the things
65:01
that that really you know disrupts that
65:04
whole process so which do you want you
65:08
know which problem Tim do you want
65:11
yeah the former the former right mm-hmm
65:14
okay now you’re right it doesn’t make
65:15
the problem go away that you suddenly
65:17
feel bad and there could be other hit
65:20
jobs and there could be other
65:20
misunderstandings increases and that’s
65:22
true now so what we do is separate the
65:26
decision from the relationship you’ve
65:28
got to think of the decisions in two
65:30
separate buckets we’ve just done that
65:33
you know you’ve made the decision you
65:35
understand the decision and then of
65:36
course you say well there is still gonna
65:38
be relationship impact and that is true
65:40
and I don’t think you should pretend
65:41
that that isn’t true you know somehow in
65:44
some area fairy essentialist land oh you
65:46
can edit you know because that would be
65:50
violating the whole idea which is that
65:52
essentialists embrace the reality of
65:54
trade-offs of course there are
65:56
trade-offs you know of course there will
65:58
be people that are frustrated right
65:59
there they want the peace but just think
66:01
about think about you know think about
66:04
somebody Oprah how many requests are
66:09
going that she can’t possibly ask how
66:12
many people send her books can you
66:13
imagine how many books were being sent
66:16
to Oprah and the height of her the the
66:18
Oprah Show and everything I mean it’s
66:20
insane you’re number of well warehouses
66:23
for had to be warehouses for going that
66:26
way and she had to get somehow we
66:29
assumed that she appeared to to be to
66:31
get to a level of peace we don’t look
66:33
this is no way I can even touch any of
66:35
that stuff I’ve got to find to be truer
66:38
to this to this voice within me
66:40
clarity about what my mission is and my
66:44
essential mission and not all of this
66:47
other stuff it’s not being unhelpful to
66:49
the world for you to say no to something
66:53
that’s less important is not being
66:57
unhelpful or selfish in the world today
67:00
I don’t buy that your application is to
67:04
this to the highest point of
67:06
contribution you can make and but what I
67:07
think happens a lot is that people get
67:09
caught up in the idea that can I do this
67:14
thing and they it’s like they they
67:16
pretend there’s nothing left nothing
67:18
else going on in their life the request
67:19
comes in and they go can I do this
67:21
well yes I can do this I know how to do
67:24
is I can make this happen
67:25
and and and that’s not life that’s non
67:28
essentialist junk that’s just rubbish
67:30
the question is if I do this thing what
67:33
doesn’t get done what else gets pushed
67:36
out now I’m not saying don’t be help the
67:38
people to come requesting things that
67:40
can be absolutely ways of helping people
67:42
I want to help people but but if it’s at
67:45
the cost of something that’s actually
67:47
more important that makes a higher
67:49
contribution we have a obligation not to
67:52
do it now there’s one more piece here
67:54
which is important which is that you
67:55
don’t want to hurt these relationships
67:57
and that’s where the concern really
67:58
comes from so the question is is how can
68:00
you deal with this in a way that
68:02
minimizes the damage to you through some
68:05
media outlet stuff doing some hit peace
68:08
or help people to understand the context
68:11
behind it and I think that still comes
68:13
back to at least for yourself writing
68:16
this all out you know this is what I am
68:20
trying to do and why it matters I mean
68:22
in a way it’s having the conversation
68:24
we’ve just had mm-hmm but written out so
68:27
that it can be expressed again and again
68:30
and again the why behind this answer the
68:33
why it’s the thing that we miss out on
68:36
so let’s in fact move to step three so
68:38
step one was what is essential step two
68:40
is what is non-essential in step three
68:42
is how do you create a system that makes
68:44
executing what’s essential as effortless
68:46
as possible and it’s a perfect way to
68:49
get there at this point because because
68:51
having this this written out document
68:54
and
68:54
how you’ll use it is not sure yet about
68:57
that in my own head but if you have it
68:59
clearly written out this is what I’m
69:01
doing this is why this is the cost of
69:04
disrupting that this is what it does
69:06
this is who will lose out if I don’t
69:10
stay focused on this now all of that
69:12
becomes like a core a communication core
69:16
for yourself at a pivot but place to
69:18
pivot to when the request comes in you
69:20
know I maybe I can change it you know
69:23
everything today to make that possible
69:24
and you go hold on let’s go back to the
69:27
document my system was was away from
69:31
look a while a couple of weeks and and
69:35
the amount of damage I managed to do in
69:36
those couple of weeks we predicted us
69:38
you know the number of things I managed
69:41
to commit to pay attention but actually
69:43
she was gone for a month I’m remembering
69:44
now it’s for a honeymoon and and when
69:47
she she comes back and I I was very
69:50
positive
69:50
I wasn’t saying I’ve messed everything
69:52
up I said let me tell you all the things
69:54
that happened in the month you’ve gone
69:55
and it was just had a little silence at
69:57
the end of it all because she’s like if
70:00
she didn’t say it but this is this is
70:01
what’s in the silence it’s like you know
70:03
what’s wrong with you
70:05
you know how are you thinking that you
70:07
can take on all of those projects and
70:10
all of those ideas like that’s you you
70:14
aren’t you aren’t thinking fully about
70:16
the cost of doing all those things that
70:17
she was dead right and what grew out of
70:19
that is we came up with three rules of
70:21
things that I would and wouldn’t do and
70:25
I’ll give one of the rules was no
70:29
personalization and ending any
70:32
personalization so if I’m if I’m doing
70:35
keynotes workshops whatever I’ll listen
70:37
I’ll understand what the you know what
70:38
the company or the client at the
70:40
conference needs but but I’m not going
70:43
to redo rethink re-change I’m not
70:46
changing the slide and I’ll change it
70:48
that you know the subtle things you can
70:49
do in the moment but I’m not redoing
70:51
stuff because if you refuse personalize
70:54
everything as I as I want to do you it’s
70:59
like you’re rewriting a book every time
71:01
I mean you have to rethink everything
71:02
and that was one rule and we had to of
71:05
the world there are those are so helpful
71:07
and when I’m
71:08
you willing to share the other two rules
71:09
I’m trying to I should I should know
71:12
what they are right if I say those three
71:13
rules and they were really useful to me
71:17
if they come up they come up you can
71:19
also walk wait for them to surface yeah
71:23
so actually one was one was don’t over
71:27
over over correct based on based on a
71:33
negative feedback and that’s a little
71:36
more volatile to share that one but I
71:37
think everybody suffers with that vets
71:38
that’s why you know which is most
71:40
persons most universal I you know so
71:43
some so we do an event do a keynote
71:45
conference gets good feedback one of the
71:48
people you know in the comments says X
71:51
and I think Jesus elute right that isn’t
71:54
that is a valid criticism let’s change
71:56
it let’s redo how we’re doing this to
71:59
address that concern it’s the same sort
72:01
of thing it’s overreacting to it and
72:04
frankly when you overreact to this kind
72:06
of feedback you really cause a problem
72:10
for other people giving feedback and I
72:12
in hindsight can see how that’s been in
72:14
my life right somebody who’s trying to
72:15
be helpful they’re trying to be honest
72:17
they’re giving the feedback and I’m
72:18
multiplying the effect of it and then it
72:21
so that was number two and I think
72:28
number three might have been something
72:29
like you know it was like either no new
72:34
projects like beyond what we’d
72:36
identified like we very identified a
72:38
couple of really big things I want to go
72:40
after it was like no no no new projects
72:43
outside of that it might have been it
72:47
might have been specifically no workshop
72:49
business which is there’s always a
72:52
demand for it with essentialism there’s
72:54
always been interest in it I always feel
72:56
an obligation because one there’s a need
72:59
people are interested and to you know
73:02
just just I think there’s a full
73:04
business here and it could it could
73:06
easily be or have been successful
73:09
business and those things have keep
73:11
pulling me into it and and I just might
73:14
whenever I start working on it I’m like
73:17
you know you see those kids in a
73:20
Superman you see a kid
73:22
on the floor not throwing a tantrum they
73:24
just lying on the floor like legs spread
73:27
out I’m spread out just like that they
73:32
have no energy to even get up off the
73:34
floor this is this is how much passion
73:37
they feel too for being in the
73:39
supermarket on this day just like
73:40
nothing here is interesting not one part
73:44
of me wants to be getting up and doing
73:46
this that’s how I feel in that business
73:57
say that in one way or another so many
74:00
times okay should do I know I should do
74:04
this okay let’s do it we make it happen
74:07
and finally she’s just like look there’s
74:10
no part of you that wants to do this why
74:13
are you doing this it’s so weak most I
74:14
think those are the truth we got there
74:16
so instead of storm trooper you could
74:18
use floor angel as a shorthand for that
74:21
we’re doing floor angels what you can of
74:32
building a system for you and I don’t
74:34
want to I don’t want a short changes too
74:36
much we needed a little more which is
74:37
sure you’ve identified now something
74:39
that you is essential to you you’ve
74:41
identified something that’s
74:42
non-essential but all quit for you that
74:45
that’s risky for you that you you could
74:47
give up so there’s a trade-off now so we
74:49
have an essential trade-off and but
74:52
that’s not enough because as soon as you
74:54
know we’ve finished this conversation
74:55
all of those dynamics that have been
74:57
there before still are there there is a
74:59
system in place that keeps you away from
75:03
getting on with this next book it keeps
75:06
you saying yes to requests and feeling
75:09
really fearful about about pushing back
75:11
we’ve identified one thing so far you
75:13
can do to build a system which is
75:15
writing this all out so that you have it
75:16
there so that you can either say in
75:19
person or put in email or express
75:22
clearly the why in of why this cannot
75:27
simply be an easy yes why this is a
75:29
costly yes and and this makes me just
75:32
think for a moment just about this
75:33
simple idea which is that too
75:35
every request whether there are quest
75:37
comes from somebody else or from within
75:38
ourselves which is where a lot of the
75:40
non-essential stuff comes from there’s
75:42
only three options right you can say yes
75:44
you can say no or you can negotiate and
75:47
that’s it and and I think what happens
75:51
is that people default yes because
75:52
they’re so fearful of a rude no and its
75:54
effects and so they forget that there is
75:59
a negotiate part of this there is a
76:02
educate part of this and that’s what I
76:04
think this is this document can help
76:06
with is is reminding yourself at Edo
76:09
getting yourself clear and then you can
76:11
educate other people too because they
76:13
just don’t know they don’t understand
76:14
what their request really means and what
76:16
the cost really is so so that’s one
76:20
thing but there’s got to be more and we
76:21
ought to do something else that will
76:23
actually help you make the shift let me
76:27
just ask one more time do you want to
76:29
make this shift
76:30
do you want to make this trade-off yes I
76:32
do okay so so what would help do it I
76:37
mean you’ve got masses and ideas
76:39
yourself already of hats and tools and
76:42
tricks to be able to help people to
76:44
execute when they otherwise wouldn’t so
76:46
you could definitely help to co.design
76:48
this right that’s how we began right the
76:50
design school at Stanford to help
76:52
actually design a system that’s weighted
76:55
in your favor and we know when we’ll get
76:57
there we’ll know when we’ve achieved it
76:59
because on a day you don’t want to make
77:02
the trade-off you’ll still make it right
77:05
on a day that you don’t want to make the
77:08
trade-offs you’ll still make it that’s
77:09
when you’ve got a system working on your
77:11
side yeah which is I should just also
77:14
note for people listening applies to
77:16
diet applies to exercise applies to just
77:21
about anything where a system can be
77:23
designed that is weighted in your favor
77:27
in such a way that it’s it’s unlikely to
77:31
fail right so one question / topic that
77:36
would be very helpful just to hear you
77:39
talk about I’ve thought about it quite a
77:40
lot but I’d love to hear your thoughts
77:41
and it’ll give me also an excuse to read
77:44
something from your book that I that I
77:46
enjoy is
77:49
determining what a fair well reasoned
77:55
polite decline looks like and
78:00
recognizing that I only have control
78:03
over the delivery of that message not
78:05
how people emotionally respond to it and
78:09
really just leaving it at that like I
78:11
have delivered my message in a fair
78:13
even-handed manner and it’s up to the
78:18
recipient as to how they want to respond
78:20
and if they if they over react in some
78:23
negative way that is their problem not
78:26
my problem and I bring it up on a meta
78:29
level I just want to mention one line
78:31
that I highlighted in your book actually
78:34
I mentioned to the first is make your
78:37
peace with the fact that saying no often
78:38
requires trading popularity for respect
78:40
and I’ll just read this part here yes
78:45
saying no respectfully reasonably in
78:46
gracefully can come in a short-term
78:47
social cost but part of living the way
78:49
of the essentialist is realizing respect
78:51
is far more valuable than popularity in
78:52
the long run this gives me an excuse to
78:55
just read I don’t think I would use this
78:57
exact text but Peter Drucker who is one
79:03
of my favorite authors his extremely
79:06
boring lis titled book the effective
79:09
executive is he remains one of my my my
79:12
repeat reads but his response and you
79:15
may have to help me with the last name
79:17
here but I think it’s is it check sent
79:19
me hi is that the professor is replying
79:22
to you but he’s replying to a request
79:24
and his polite decline goes as follows
79:26
quote I am greatly honored and flattered
79:28
by your kind letter in February 14th for
79:30
I’ve admired you in your work for many
79:31
years and I’ve learned much from it but
79:33
my dear professor C I’ll just abbreviate
79:35
I’m afraid I have to disappoint you I
79:37
could not possibly answer your questions
79:39
I am told I am creative I don’t know
79:41
what that means I just keep plotting I
79:43
hope you will not think me presumptuous
79:45
or rude if I say that one of the secrets
79:46
of productivity
79:47
whereas I do not believe in creativity
79:50
is to have a very big all caps very big
79:52
waste paper basket to take care of all
79:55
all caps invitations such as yours
79:57
productivity in my experience consists
79:59
of not all caps doing anything that
80:01
helps the work
80:02
people but to spend all one’s time on
80:04
the work and the good Lord has fitted
80:05
one to do and to do it well end quote
80:09
that’s that’s very clear and very direct
80:14
ha do you have any suggestions for
80:17
templates or favorite ways of saying no
80:22
to requests from people you know that
80:25
you simply cannot or do not want to
80:27
comply with let’s just pause for a
80:29
second on that story how do we have the
80:32
text why do we know that that’s how he
80:35
responded well we know because we know
80:39
because it got published in the book on
80:43
creativity positively saying this is one
80:48
of the keys to creativity is you know I
80:51
reached out to him and he showed me this
80:53
and I learned something in the process
80:54
which is that highly creative people are
80:57
willing to block out space to do the
80:59
work that they are built to do and want
81:01
to do and aren’t just doing everything
81:03
that everybody else is doing what
81:05
everybody asks of them so it what it
81:08
helps us to identify is that there is
81:10
such a situation as being able to push
81:14
back say no and there to be a positive
81:16
result come from it you know I liked you
81:19
I liked your email bounce back this was
81:21
positive to me I learned things from it
81:23
myself this is you know there is such a
81:26
thing and often with such novices at no
81:30
we just are so fearful of it we don’t
81:33
learn how to do it and we don’t do it so
81:35
we just assume that bad things are going
81:38
to come sometimes they do but I think
81:41
that we are we have to do like reverse
81:43
pilots sometimes where we try not doing
81:46
something and saying no to something or
81:48
just not doing it at all and seeing what
81:50
the effects are and learning from it in
81:53
our way you know in terms of a template
81:56
I’ve explored lots of templates and lots
81:58
of things as an example that came up
82:01
recently I really liked which is the
82:03
illustrates one way to do this is from
82:05
is from Warren Buffett Warren Buffett
82:09
right respected yes right quoted all the
82:14
time
82:14
arguably the most
82:16
did investor ever you know he’s
82:19
constructed a system in his life that
82:21
allows him to communicate and give back
82:23
to people you know through his through
82:26
his annual conference for example but
82:28
that doesn’t mean that he’s saying yes
82:30
that every quest along the way so in
82:33
fact there’s an interesting story Tony
82:34
Robbins tells a story in his in his book
82:37
on finance about Warren Buffett in which
82:39
he basically failed to get Warren
82:42
Buffett to ever be interviewed for his
82:44
book he’s getting all the big top
82:47
investors that he’s priding himself from
82:49
being able to access these people and
82:50
he’s he’s using all of those named
82:53
people and those relationships excuse me
82:55
to go after warren buffett to keep
82:57
tapping him for an interview and and and
83:01
still he’s not getting anything so then
83:03
they’re at some meteor event together
83:04
they’re about to you know one’s bet he’s
83:07
leaving and tell he’s going on to be
83:09
interviewed and he catches him for
83:10
saying he says oh i’m doing this book
83:12
and so-and-so is reaching out to you and
83:14
i’d love to have you in this and and his
83:16
response was was uh you know i just
83:19
don’t i think i just said everything i
83:21
could say on that subject I just don’t
83:23
think there’s you know there’s anything
83:25
else I could I could I could add to
83:27
what’s what’s already out there well
83:29
that’s that’s his polite though and the
83:33
people that are best that I don’t think
83:34
are saying no and I don’t even think
83:36
they have to be as Peter Drucker was
83:37
kind of I mean a particularly explicit
83:43
necessary either I think you could just
83:46
be very quiet
83:47
happily gently you know I’m I just don’t
83:50
think I could add anything to that
83:52
projects a thanks for thinking of me I
83:54
just don’t think I’m I’d be the right
83:55
person for that I just think you know
83:57
I’ve done everything I can do on that
83:59
and and it’s so important I mean Peter
84:02
Drucker’s not director and Warren
84:04
Buffett I cannot find the original
84:07
citation of this that it’s him but he’s
84:09
quoted as having said that the
84:12
difference between successful people and
84:14
very successful people is that very
84:16
successful people say no to almost
84:17
everything mm-hmm and that’s what he’s
84:21
doing so I think what I’m trying to say
84:23
sometimes you can simply say no I mean
84:26
it it does depend on the relationship
84:28
and the request
84:29
but also I think sometimes it’s just the
84:32
best no is a yes it’s saying it’s saying
84:34
look yes I can I can do you know I’m
84:36
doing this so I just couldn’t do
84:40
anything beyond this you know I I’m your
84:44
request to be interviewed with something
84:46
hi you know I’ve I’m working on this
84:48
book this this really important project
84:51
it’s high-risk for me I think it can
84:53
make a huge difference but it’s
84:54
consuming all of my energies and
84:57
creativity right now to do this right
84:59
and I just can’t get this wrong that’s
85:02
that’s that’s you know that’s what I’ve
85:04
that’s what I can do I think it’s it’s
85:09
starting with the yes in some ways I
85:11
think the best knows are really really
85:13
saying the yes that we’re committed to
85:15
saying what we’re what we’re doing and
85:18
you’re right sometimes people they’ll
85:20
react badly but that if we’ve been
85:22
respectful if we’ve been thoughtful if
85:25
we’ve been useful within the parameters
85:29
that we’ve identified for example if you
85:31
can actually do a favor for someone in
85:33
five minutes if you really have a system
85:35
that allows it to be five minutes fine
85:37
five minute favor I’m a big I can be a
85:40
believer in that discipline giving I’m a
85:42
believer in that but if within that
85:45
context you’ve made if then somebody is
85:47
upset takes the victim approach is
85:50
basically throwing a tantrum yeah that’s
85:53
that’s no fun for anybody but that’s not
85:55
good enough reason to have said yes to
85:57
it as every great leader who’s ever
86:00
dealt with and every great parent has
86:02
dealt with almost of the daily basis
86:04
every great parent is dealing with a
86:06
situation where a child wants something
86:08
and they may throw some sort of tension
86:10
if it is not a major tantrum because
86:13
they didn’t get the thing they wanted of
86:14
course and we just have to be adults
86:16
about it and mature about it and and
86:21
recognize yeah you know I’m gonna keep
86:23
everybody happy all the time what’s a
86:25
calm definitely you you have is it for
86:30
kids Yeah right so not not very
86:34
essentially something but you’ve had a
86:38
fair amount of practice
86:40
with the the tantrum mitigating or at
86:42
least accepting of those possible
86:45
consequences I’d love to chat for a
86:47
second if if we if we can and this just
86:52
gives me an option to to read also
86:54
something that that’s stuck with me from
86:57
your book which was and I’ll just read
87:00
the excerpts so this is a case study or
87:03
a story of a gentleman named Jeff GE o
87:07
FF and talks about his progressive
87:11
burnout effectively but he he ultimately
87:15
quote paid a high price to learn a
87:17
simple yet essential lesson and that is
87:19
protect the asset and then I I thought
87:23
this was worth mentioning for people who
87:25
are type-a personalities achievers who
87:27
are very good at getting things done or
87:30
pride themselves on that and the quote
87:34
is as follows in the many hours Jeff
87:37
spent resting he came to see an
87:38
interesting paradox resting after he
87:40
burned out interesting paradox in his
87:42
addiction to achievement for type-a
87:43
personality it is not hard to push
87:45
oneself hard pushing oneself to the
87:47
limit is easy the real challenge for the
87:49
person who thrives on challenges is not
87:51
to work hard he explains to any
87:53
overachievers quote if you think you are
87:55
so tough you can do anything I have a
87:56
challenge for you if you really want to
87:58
do something hard say no to an
87:59
opportunity so you can take a nap and I
88:03
thought this might be a good place to
88:05
explore the quarterly off-site which I
88:08
don’t recall is being explored very much
88:10
in the book but I’ve heard it mentioned
88:12
in some interviews that you’ve done
88:13
could you perhaps elaborate on what the
88:19
personal quarterly off-site is it’s it’s
88:24
creating space for you to actually think
88:28
long term about what really matters in
88:33
the great you know in the greater scheme
88:36
of things I mean it’s the same as any
88:38
executive team they have a quarterly
88:40
off-site and annual off-site why do they
88:42
do it because they know if they don’t
88:43
they’re going to get buried in reacting
88:45
to to the proximate issues instead of
88:52
seeing strategically where they want to
88:53
be
88:53
headed and what trade-offs they need to
88:55
make in order to get there and if it’s
88:57
just the same for it’s the same for at
89:00
the individual level we my wife and I
89:06
started doing the quarterly off sites
89:08
two or three years ago and and that that
89:14
in fact in fact one of the things I did
89:15
to try and describe the system to make
89:18
sure we followed through is I did it
89:19
where we had a few people come together
89:21
and and I was sort of leading the the
89:25
process but but underneath one of the
89:28
important intents of it was so that Ana
89:30
and I could actually have a full day
89:33
once every quarter you know way from
89:36
everything else and to think about the
89:38
the long-term calls and and out of that
89:41
process for us and what what are you
89:44
doing on that in that process you you’re
89:46
saying okay what’s happened over the
89:49
last you know that big picture you could
89:52
say okay what’s happened to my life
89:53
well what’s the long-term perspective
89:55
here we’re about where where am i where
89:58
whatever bid what’s been going on you
90:02
see you’re trying to get a clear view of
90:05
of your life what’s been going on with
90:07
it and then you say okay going forward
90:09
long-term perspective what what would I
90:12
like to be achieved
90:13
what what what feels important again
90:15
it’s not just success says it’s not just
90:18
goal setting you know set the wrong
90:20
goals
90:21
it’s what’s essential to me what it
90:23
feels like my mission to pursue and and
90:27
I remember in that very first official
90:29
session that we did and as she was going
90:32
through the process had identified a
90:34
couple of things that were really
90:36
important and I could tell they were
90:38
they had been within her but they just
90:40
have came to us the surface one of them
90:45
one of them was a Hello might sound
90:48
funny to people but but it was like
90:50
horses horses right that’s a weird thing
90:52
to say isn’t there horses there’s
90:53
nothing we expect me to say she said I
90:56
just had this vision of having a place
91:00
with horses and it’s not necessarily
91:03
even that we were in the horses it
91:05
wasn’t even necessarily that
91:07
and we don’t have any horse background
91:09
it’s not a horse people I mean nothing
91:13
like that but but it was a sense of if
91:16
we if we were to achieve what that means
91:21
our children would grow up in a certain
91:24
kind of environment it was like a symbol
91:26
of a certain type of childhood and our
91:30
children were at the time was sort of in
91:33
in the golden years which means which
91:36
means the years before they’re driving
91:38
and after they’re out of diapers and so
91:42
it’s like a magical period because you
91:44
can do things you can make memories
91:45
together you can do it and we weren’t
91:47
living in a place at the time we were in
91:49
the middle of Silicon Valley which is
91:50
terrific in lots of ways but it’s not
91:51
it’s not you know you’re not gonna end
91:53
up with horses right you have to think
91:56
differently and that single insight in
92:00
that core to the off-site shifted a
92:02
whole sense of intent and we realized if
92:05
we want to do this while our children
92:07
are still in this golden years we’re
92:08
gonna have to move sooner rather than
92:12
later to be able to achieve this dream
92:14
otherwise we’re going to achieve it
92:16
after at least the Elvis is out of the
92:18
house and then well as the point and so
92:21
it was an insight a strategic insight
92:23
that has had profound influence on a you
92:26
know it’s a one decision that makes a
92:28
thousand there’s a whole series of
92:30
things we had to do to put in process to
92:32
be prepared to organize it to find such
92:34
a place and so on and it took a while to
92:36
do it but it took a couple of years
92:39
maybe maybe as much as that and and and
92:45
out now we live in a community that
92:47
you’re required to have space for horse
92:49
that you don’t have to have them but you
92:51
have to have space for them and and that
92:53
single criteria again makes a lot of
92:56
other influences change right you’re
92:58
going to be around a lot of nature
93:00
you’re going to be even the kind of
93:01
people in some ways that you’re around a
93:03
certain certain value system that they
93:06
care about all those kinds of things
93:08
and so and so that’s the that’s sort of
93:11
a personal example of why to hold
93:16
personal quarterly off sites it shifts
93:20
whole direction you’re going in it gives
93:22
you it tilts and bends your your you
93:25
know your narrative as you go forward do
93:28
you have any recommendations for other
93:32
format best practices or any best
93:35
practices for personal offsites is that
93:37
it is it an afternoon is it a day is it
93:39
two days is it in your living room is it
93:44
off-site okay here’s what I think I
93:48
think I think it’s off-site it’s in
93:51
nature or thereabout you know it’s it’s
93:54
somewhere that’s that’s quiet
93:56
uninterrupted I know if some people I’ve
94:00
never done this but I know some if
94:03
someone who has a second phone and their
94:05
second phone is a it’s like one of these
94:07
little credit card sized phones and
94:10
there’s only two people in the world
94:12
that have the number to this phone and
94:13
so when they go it means they can be
94:15
reached for emergency but that’s it and
94:17
so they are just gone so that they can
94:19
have an under trip to space which is
94:21
very hard to have these days so you want
94:23
to be in an uninterrupted environment
94:26
you want to not have tags that email and
94:29
all of that available
94:30
you know III recommend you either to on
94:33
your own or maybe with one other person
94:36
you know a design partner that you can
94:38
you can really go through the process I
94:40
think that the longer the perspective is
94:43
the better you know the one I was
94:45
referring to we actually started prior
94:47
to our life you know it’s back to those
94:51
who started great-grandparents in fact
94:55
great-grandparents parents your own life
94:57
and then going forward to the end of
95:00
your life to your kids grandkids
95:01
great-grandchildren or if you have
95:03
children it’s just the people that you
95:04
would influence generations from now and
95:06
it’s that kind of huge vision that kind
95:09
of level of perspective that helps to to
95:12
draw up within you an unexpected insight
95:15
something that you already know but
95:17
somehow is being buried because you’re
95:19
you’re thinking about life in in in just
95:22
sort of reactive ways what questions do
95:24
you ask related to you or might you ask
95:26
related to say your grandparents or
95:28
great-grandparents it portion of the
95:31
of the session things that include well
95:37
first of all write down anything you
95:40
know about them it won’t take long
95:44
it’s its own kind of lesson actually
95:47
what what what do you know about them
95:50
most people I think less than 5% of
95:54
people not scientifically but based on
95:56
thousands of people many thousands
95:59
people I’ve asked this question to now
96:01
cannot name the first and last names of
96:04
each of their great-grandparents right
96:06
eight great-grandparents they cannot
96:08
name the first and last name of all
96:10
eight we cannot even name the the first
96:15
and last names of the people that male
96:16
is everything we I it’s extraordinary
96:18
it’s its own lesson then we they that’s
96:22
where where we live at the country we
96:23
live the the language we speak that
96:25
everything was in with either determined
96:28
by them or largely influenced by these
96:30
people we don’t even know their names
96:31
amazing but we know something about them
96:34
if we know anything about we should
96:35
gather it what has lasted what decisions
96:40
have they made that still affect us even
96:42
if we don’t know anything about them
96:43
what to see you know they we know know
96:45
their names we know that well they move
96:46
to this country they move to this place
96:48
they did anything that we know they’ve
96:50
impacted us so what what lasted for good
96:52
or ill what has lasted here two
96:55
grandparents so people know a lot more
96:56
about their grandparents in general
96:58
you’re asking okay what positive things
97:00
that they do that they’re still with you
97:02
how did they JQ that in ways that you
97:05
would want to pass on to others what
97:09
challenges did they bring into the table
97:11
meaning to almost always not meaning to
97:13
if you you’ve been impacted by decisions
97:16
they made it’s true for almost everybody
97:19
I mean great very rare you have all
97:21
positives from your ancestors right
97:24
every that would be fantastic
97:25
sometimes people do get pretty close to
97:27
that but but but moat for most of us
97:31
it’s pretty dysfunctional family history
97:33
once you get back a little ways and it’s
97:36
same for parents so you you’re really
97:38
trying to understand what is their
97:41
impact what have their decisions been
97:43
impact on me positively
97:45
negatively now what am i grateful for I
97:49
mean I’m a big believer in the idea that
97:51
if we’re going to blame people we got to
97:54
blame them intelligently I watch
98:00
somebody talking about this one’s had an
98:02
impact on me which is if you go to blame
98:03
your parents or your grandparents or
98:04
something you can blame him for
98:05
everything meaning yeah yeah I blame you
98:08
for this bad decision but I also blame
98:11
you for giving me my life you know I
98:14
also blame I blame you for having you
98:17
know mess this thing up that’s always
98:19
made this particular thing hard for me
98:21
or for my for my brother father but I
98:23
also blame you for the fact that they
98:26
turned that around and became strong and
98:28
I’ve always always benefited from that
98:30
strength so you blame intelligently you
98:32
see the good and the bad you blame and
98:34
tells you that you’re looking at the
98:35
whole picture so that you can see a life
98:37
with some sort of perspective mm-hmm and
98:42
this is something I learned that the
98:43
design school it Stanford I didn’t know
98:45
it then I was still thinking birth till
98:49
death thinking I thought that’s pretty
98:52
long-term perspective if you’re getting
98:53
people to think about their whole life
98:55
from birth till death you are doing a
98:56
good thing and I think it probably was a
98:58
good thing and it’s certainly far more
99:00
long-term than most people think on a
99:04
daily basis but it’s so insufficient
99:06
it’s necessary but insufficient we kind
99:09
of what a self-centered perspective I
99:11
couldn’t believe it actually when I
99:13
really realized how blind of a
99:15
perspective I was suggesting I mean but
99:19
like like like my story begins like like
99:24
the story of my life is really about me
99:26
what a weird thing to think that I it’s
99:31
about my birth my death and what’s
99:33
happened in between
99:33
the narrative is so much richer than
99:36
that and I’ve got to tap into that so
99:39
that as I then move into the future I’m
99:41
also doing the same thing so in these
99:43
personal quarters off sites it’s pushing
99:44
yourself beyond that you’re saying okay
99:45
what what do I want my children
99:48
grandchildren generations especially
99:51
this idea what do I want my the
99:55
generation that has forgotten me
99:59
what impact do I want to have on them
100:01
yeah if it’s true that we can’t even
100:04
name my great-grandparents then it’s
100:06
gonna be true that our
100:07
great-grandchildren can’t won’t name up
100:09
there than a month or it might be true I
100:12
know the true might be true but the
100:14
impact doesn’t change just the memory
100:17
changes its its impact outlast memory
100:20
and so and so this perspective this
100:23
helps to reveal for us the difference
100:27
between good things and essential things
100:31
and that’s the whole shift you know the
100:34
the essentialism is different to every
100:36
other productivity system that I’m
100:38
familiar with in this primary way it’s
100:41
not about getting more stuff done it’s
100:43
about getting more of the right things
100:45
done and it’s not about efficiently
100:48
doing what’s on the to-do list it’s
100:51
realizing but the most important thing
100:53
isn’t even on the to-do list that’s the
100:57
insight and that’s what the personal
100:59
course the off-site can do could you
101:02
chat a little bit this is very helpful
101:05
about the what makes a good design
101:10
partner and what that might look like
101:12
how you help each other because Design
101:16
Thinking came up a little bit earlier
101:18
maybe you could just define that for
101:20
folks since it came in the context of
101:22
the d.school at Stanford but you know
101:25
what what is design thinking and what
101:26
makes a good design partner and what
101:30
might they ask you or do in a quarterly
101:34
off-site okay well let’s start with what
101:37
makes a bad design partner perfect yeah
101:41
a bad design partner a bad friend but
101:44
you know relationship is one that they
101:48
eats their heart out if you’re
101:50
successful and has some sort of pleasure
101:53
if you’re unsuccessful right I guess
101:56
that’s that’s what’s that that’s that’s
102:00
like a bad relationship and and and
102:03
unfortunately I think because of our
102:05
human weakness that that is often what
102:08
we’re offering you know that’s often
102:10
what we’re offered
102:12
and so you got to find that person who
102:14
is celebrating your success who wants
102:17
your success when you’re successful they
102:19
don’t they don’t go genius I’m now
102:21
jealous of that huh what’s wrong with me
102:23
T Chester delighted and I I say this not
102:28
in a small way I mean that’s I am
102:30
fortunate they might design partly right
102:32
that’s my wife
102:33
and it is is this and she has been the
102:35
whole time I’ve ever known and it’s been
102:37
really amazing and I think often about
102:40
how different my life would have been
102:41
without her being that design partner
102:44
I’m not making some I don’t know some
102:47
cheap comment or cheap praise me without
102:51
her is is not to have written
102:53
essentialism no way I most wanted to I
102:57
might have thought about it but the idea
102:58
of executing that the idea of completing
103:00
it the idea of the the key breakthrough
103:04
moments it’s it’s not that she’s done it
103:06
is that she’s believed in me as I’ve
103:09
tried to do these things I mean I read
103:12
somewhere that all you need is one
103:13
person to believe in you for the rest of
103:16
your life to have somebody believe in
103:18
you affirm you just not and the weaker
103:23
version of that is like don’t talk them
103:25
down but don’t you know why are you
103:28
doing that man since we’re why would you
103:31
want to achieve that there any of that
103:32
kind of stuff just to have somebody that
103:35
isn’t doing that is something but but
103:38
that’s that is dad has been incredible
103:40
useful to me with Emma and so with the
103:44
design partner you know that’s that’s
103:46
what you’re trying to at least
103:47
approximate and so it could it could be
103:50
doesn’t have to be a spouse of course it
103:51
could be it can be a friend it can be it
103:53
could be a colleague it could be you
103:55
know some it could be a parent it could
103:56
be you know anybody but as long as these
103:59
are the rules of the road I I think I
104:04
think the only other thing I want to say
104:06
about the design part is is that one
104:09
shouldn’t expect the conversations to
104:12
all be easy especially if you’re
104:15
choosing someone who knows you well
104:17
because they’re a support review doesn’t
104:20
mean that they’re going to say easy
104:22
things to you I mean I don’t
104:26
I mean the idea of having a close
104:28
relationship with someone I mean I’m
104:30
talking marriage there for some reason
104:31
and you reflecting on that the idea that
104:37
you can have relationship without having
104:40
conflict is absurd there is conflict in
104:43
all of life and so having conflict about
104:48
what is important it is really to be
104:54
expected and to figure out together to
104:58
have even what is sometimes painful
105:01
conversations Oh what is most important
105:05
to us is it this thing or that thing
105:06
which is the trade-off how much of this
105:09
are we really going to have in our life
105:11
this is hard work and it’s not one more
105:15
thing to do it’s like the very work of
105:17
life and so with the design partner you
105:20
you’re engaging you’re willing to engage
105:21
now in something over time that could be
105:24
quite quite tough especially as I say if
105:27
you’re living together with this look
105:29
the output of the decisions you know
105:33
those those are some of the things I’ve
105:35
learned that I’ve thought about but I do
105:38
think having a design partner or two is
105:40
it can be a good idea there may be maybe
105:43
one of the comment about is that maybe
105:46
I’ve been a little idealistic to say it
105:47
this way but but having people who can
105:50
powerfully listen is got to be a key
105:54
element of success with a design partner
105:57
to be a powerful listener is is is also
106:01
pretty rare there are people that aren’t
106:05
the second you say well I’ve been
106:07
thinking about this jumping in with
106:08
their opinion reading their
106:10
autobiography into your life telling you
106:13
what you know you got to have space and
106:16
and I think it would be better to go on
106:18
a personal course with offset on your
106:19
own then it would be to go with somebody
106:23
who’s just going to jump in immediately
106:25
and interrupt your thinking and tell
106:27
them about what you think and the whole
106:30
idea is to create space to be able to
106:34
discern that voice we will have lots of
106:39
names
106:40
right but we’re just the voice your own
106:43
conscience your own sense of direction
106:46
and to be able to listen to that so that
106:49
you can discern again between all these
106:52
good things all these different tools
106:54
and so on and really what it is that you
106:57
feel even you you know what you came
106:59
here to do and that’s the point of it if
107:02
there’s no one who can help with that
107:04
process
107:05
go on your own but if you’ve got
107:08
somebody who can do it together with and
107:10
you’re doing it for them too so it’s not
107:11
one way you you’re being listener for
107:14
them and not just what they’re saying
107:16
but to try and get deeper and to hear
107:20
what they’re not saying in pursuit of
107:23
and if the Quakers have a process it’s
107:26
very powerful if you even put a link to
107:28
this possibly I don’t know if I’d get
107:30
some notes or whatever but but a process
107:32
that they follow called the clarity it’s
107:37
not the clarity Council but it’s
107:38
something like that the clarity and it’s
107:41
they they they have rules these two
107:43
rules which is that you’re not allowed
107:45
to make give any opinion and you’re not
107:48
allowed to give any advice and advise
107:52
any opinion you can only ask honest
107:56
questions in pursuit of helping someone
108:00
to find clarity and so your goal is not
108:04
to persuade them to do something or
108:06
persuade them not to do something it is
108:08
to ask questions so that they can feel
108:11
and get clear on what is they feel right
108:16
to do mm-hmm
108:18
that is that’s again I know I’m talking
108:20
high standards I know this is
108:22
aspirational things but that’s really
108:26
what you’re trying to get to you’re
108:28
trying to create an environment I mean I
108:30
one of the things I’ll do and I
108:31
certainly meditate I mean I I pray and
108:34
so I pray when I’m on these off sites so
108:37
that I can feel that sense of direction
108:40
you know I’ll read I bring literature
108:44
with me that gets me centered what type
108:47
of literature any examples yeah I mean
108:50
beyond beyond Scripture which I do bring
108:53
it to
108:53
read it can be it can be you know it’s
108:57
classic literature it’s it’s you know
109:00
what it’s not as as important as what it
109:02
is it’s not rubbish it’s not just
109:06
thoughts of the day latest reactive
109:09
thing it’s you know it’s as far away
109:12
from the latest news update as I can get
109:15
so I just finished reading John Adams
109:20
autobiography not automatically
109:23
biography by by David McCullough and I
109:27
loved that that’s a long biography and
109:29
by the end of it I just loved John Adams
109:32
and loved what he was trying to do and
109:34
it inspired me no end to what I want to
109:38
be able to do with my you know with my
109:40
son I have a son and actually he’s a
109:42
namesake just like John Adams has John
109:44
Quincy Adams and it’s just inspiring of
109:46
each other Adams reads he was reading
109:49
Latin Greek all of these not these
109:53
classic texts not just classic texts in
109:55
English in their original Greek and
109:57
Latin I mean that’s amazing it puts me
110:00
without excuse something I think okay I
110:02
need to give up this kind of junk
110:04
gossipy news that that is so easy to get
110:09
dragged into multiple times a day
110:11
berating everything’s breaking news now
110:13
everything’s breaking breaking news
110:15
there’s it the most important thing
110:17
that’s ever happened and it’s and when
110:19
you you click on the bait what you find
110:22
is that somebody is now talking about
110:25
someone who was tweeting about somebody
110:29
else who was tweeting and that’s the
110:31
breaking news this is gossip this is
110:35
just gossip this is just nonsense
110:37
well at least that’s how I feel about it
110:39
and and and so so that’s an example of a
110:43
kind of book I would that I would want
110:45
to be reading something something that
110:47
can that can ground me in principles
110:50
that longer-term then hopefully than my
110:54
own life I mean that’s what I want to be
110:56
connected to let’s come back to if
110:59
you’re willing to prayer for just a
111:01
second do you have any prayers or types
111:05
of prayers that you
111:07
I return to more often than others you
111:12
know so so prayer for me is what it is
111:17
characterized by is not being wrote not
111:22
saying I’m sorry
111:23
ungodly wrote wrote so so when it’s when
111:28
it’s great it has a single a single test
111:35
point which is already kind of mentioned
111:38
which is that you can feel that voice of
111:44
clarity you can actually send a center
111:47
yourself in it okay I can now feel the
111:49
difference between all of these voices
111:53
around me there’s a in my office I have
111:55
a picture of by James Christensen has
112:00
called the listener and in in the
112:02
picture you have the listeners in the
112:04
middle is a young man and and around him
112:07
he’s got all these people it’s very
112:09
colourful picture he’s sitting there
112:11
almost did it almost in a sort of
112:13
Buddhist seated positions eyes closed to
112:16
represent that he’s trying to listen to
112:18
his voice of conscience instead of all
112:20
these other people around him some of
112:22
them are laughing some of them are
112:23
yelling them shakespeare’s in there I
112:25
think his mother-in-law was painted in
112:27
there you know he’s got all these
112:28
different people and he’s trying to
112:30
listen not to all of that but to the
112:33
voice within it that’s when I know the
112:35
prayers working so to speak is that it’s
112:38
not just sort of one way I’m not just
112:40
going through it not going through the
112:41
motions if I go through the motions but
112:43
when it over the motions then it’s not
112:45
it’s not changing I don’t feel different
112:47
afterwards you just yeah you’re having a
112:50
I mean if you if you and I got on the
112:52
phone and every time I got on the phone
112:54
with you I said exactly the same things
112:56
thoughtlessly our relationship would not
112:58
be very real you know this would get
112:59
very irritating and so so for me you
113:05
know it’s about the realness I mean I
113:07
certainly subscribe to to the idea to
113:10
the principle that the state of my heart
113:14
before God that matters at any given
113:18
moment it’s not what I did yesterday
113:19
it’s not what I did 10 you
113:21
good or bad it is this moment and it’s
113:24
course that’s true in every moment this
113:26
moment you’re conditioned am I am I
113:29
willing to admit my vulnerabilities and
113:31
that’s that’s what I’m trying to do in
113:33
prayer is look this is what’s going on
113:35
this is what’s a struggle for me this is
113:37
what’s a trouble and I’m really willing
113:39
to do whatever I’m I can hear the voice
113:43
of clarity I commit right now I’m doing
113:44
it I will do it and if I’m in that state
113:47
then it becomes clear what to do and
113:52
what not to do and especially important
113:54
on something like a personal portly
113:55
off-site but also true a course in in
113:58
this you know this ongoing journey of
114:01
trying to discern not between not just
114:05
between us as you could frame it yeah
114:09
good and evil maybe is that still it in
114:15
some way but really for me I don’t think
114:16
about it like that I’m trying to discern
114:18
between essential and good I’m trying to
114:22
say look it’s all good I got got a long
114:26
list of things I can do today and
114:28
there’s nothing on it that there’s
114:29
nothing on this list that’s like bad
114:31
there’s nothing in me I don’t personally
114:35
struggle with like oh I want to do
114:37
something bad in my life I don’t feel
114:39
that but I want to know between the
114:42
essential and the good I want to know
114:45
what that is because I don’t have time
114:47
to get all the good and all the
114:49
essential thing that’s done I don’t have
114:51
that time I don’t think actually any of
114:53
us do I think really we have enough
114:56
essential things to fill the rest of our
114:58
life and that is precisely why I must go
115:01
it’s look so so jugular Lee important to
115:04
me to to figure it out is because every
115:09
time I’m not doing what’s essential I am
115:11
giving up something that is essential
115:14
hmm that’s a great way to put it and we
115:17
could talk for many many hours we I may
115:20
have to at some point ask for a round to
115:23
this is incredibly enjoyable and helpful
115:26
and I and I thought I would start to
115:29
wrap up just by reading a few other
115:32
highlights on these many pages in front
115:34
of me
115:35
and and then we can we can start to put
115:40
a close to things but the first is quote
115:42
to embrace the essence of essentialism
115:44
requires we replace these false
115:46
assumptions which previously come up in
115:49
the book with three core truths number
115:52
one I choose to number two only a few
115:55
things really matter and three I can do
115:57
anything but not everything and then the
116:01
culinary two highlights later on are
116:04
quote the ability to choose cannot be
116:06
taken away or even given away it can
116:08
only be forgotten I think that’s really
116:10
important and then to become an
116:12
essentialist requires a heightened
116:14
awareness of our ability to choose and
116:18
so I wanted to open the door if you
116:20
wanted to to elaborate on that at all
116:22
but then also to ask you metaphorically
116:25
speaking if you could put you know one
116:27
question one line word quote whatever it
116:30
might be on a on a gigantic billboard to
116:33
reach billions of people what that might
116:35
be but that that’ll be probably my last
116:37
question but the the ability to choose
116:40
and how often we forget that we do have
116:43
choices we may not love our choices but
116:45
nonetheless we do have choices why is it
116:51
that we so often feel we do not have
116:54
choices or forget that we have choices
116:56
well we’re creatures of habit and so we
117:00
get pulled into into a whole set of
117:03
things as if and eventually those habits
117:07
are acting on us and so we just really
117:09
start to believe I I don’t I don’t have
117:12
a choice I and we say it that way we say
117:14
I have to well what we’re saying what we
117:17
say we have to is there isn’t there
117:18
isn’t there is nothing else that could
117:20
be done we I have to means there is no
117:22
agency involved there’s no choice
117:24
involved and I had a great little
117:26
experience with this where we had them a
117:28
son through it through a funny and and
117:31
and welcomed sort of wager that I did
117:34
justice friendly silly wager with it
117:36
with it with a friend of mine he said we
117:41
had this to see if I won the wager then
117:43
he would take my son to baseball for the
117:46
whole season
117:48
and every and and and if I lost I had to
117:51
take him to baseball the whole season
117:53
which seemed like that was a wager in my
117:55
favor but really unlikely that I was
117:58
gonna win the weight and at least at
118:01
least he thought so and so as it turns
118:03
out he lost the wager so he’s now doing
118:07
this and and so this is all just fun and
118:09
games but then as the season began we
118:12
realized that we of course had been
118:13
conned in our own thinking planning
118:16
fallacy of course there’s still
118:17
requirements for us
118:19
it’s got like to get him all the
118:20
equipment and we’re still gonna get him
118:22
ready every single time and we still got
118:23
to go take him to this still it’s not
118:25
gonna literally be zero impact
118:27
just because someone else is taking them
118:29
to the practices and so on and so right
118:32
as it came there was so enough going on
118:35
in our life it just felt like definitely
118:37
one more thing and quite a big one more
118:39
thing but here we are we could have said
118:43
look we have to do it we don’t want to
118:44
but we have to and we almost didn’t make
118:46
that mistake and then we changed the
118:48
language you said and this is important
118:49
I choose to have a son in baseball
118:52
because and we had to fill in the blank
118:54
because if we don’t he’s gonna be really
118:57
disappointed by Framing it like that if
119:00
you say I have to it just that it’s the
119:02
end of your reasoning end of your
119:03
thinking you can’t prosecute the
119:05
hypothesis you can’t do anything there’s
119:07
no hypothesis you just send a story by
119:10
saying I’ve chosen do this because he’ll
119:12
be upset now we could test it now it
119:14
could have been upset we didn’t know so
119:16
we can test it Jack came in here comes
119:19
in some we’re thinking about this
119:21
baseball season we’re thinking it might
119:24
just be you know one more thing and and
119:27
we’re just wondering you know what what
119:28
are your thoughts about this about you
119:30
know if we did it didn’t do it what are
119:31
your thoughts it instant reaction oh god
119:34
be fine that was easy
119:39
I saved months of work he was no love
119:42
loss from at all that’s why we get
119:45
caught into this we think we have to do
119:46
we don’t take responsibility it’s a
119:48
choice it’s a choice because I don’t
119:50
want this output now let’s go and find
119:51
out if that output really is what would
119:53
happen so I think that that’s kind of
119:55
where we get into it and in some ways
119:58
you could say well that’s not what’s the
119:59
big deal
120:00
but it’s the it’s a huge deal
120:02
because at the core of it what we what
120:04
we are is our ability to choose that’s
120:06
who we are
120:07
that’s what makes us human and so when
120:10
we when we remove that when we forget
120:12
about it we’re removing what makes us
120:15
most human and and so that’s when we
120:18
start living in kind of non-human ways
120:22
machine ways robotic ways disconnected
120:26
ways disconnected relationships we’re
120:28
not choosing anymore we are but we’re
120:31
not doing it very consciously we’re
120:33
doing it compulsively and that’s exactly
120:36
the shift did I’d be advocating for I I
120:38
rarely advocate explicitly for what I
120:41
think is essential or non-essential like
120:43
I there’s almost there is a there’s some
120:45
for those that are paying attention in
120:47
the book you know some of my values I
120:49
think are in there but it’s not explicit
120:51
I’m not saying how you should value this
120:53
thing over that thing but I am
120:55
advocating that that people should be
121:00
conscious about the value that they are
121:04
choosing not compulsive compulsive this
121:07
is this is the environment which we
121:09
don’t know we’re choosing we don’t we’re
121:12
not conscious of it and we just become a
121:14
function of everybody else’s choices and
121:16
what everyone else is doing and whatever
121:17
we just last thought in our heads kind
121:20
of a thing which is a choice in of
121:22
itself right if you think you’re not
121:24
making a choice or you abdicate yourself
121:27
from making a choice that is in fact a
121:29
choice right you are just putting fate
121:32
in the hand of you’re in the hands of
121:34
other people other forces or
121:36
subconscious and so on as opposed to
121:39
exerting agency over your set of
121:42
circumstances and it’s easier to do that
121:44
in the short term it feels easier I
121:48
don’t have a choice see I’m not
121:50
responsible I’m not I’m not I’m not on
121:52
the hook for this I mean I’m the victim
121:53
of everything I mean of course in that
121:56
in a sense we don’t have to worry as
121:57
much because we don’t I don’t like this
122:00
but this is what it is
122:02
and and that’s all fine if everybody
122:06
around us is making the right choices
122:07
and society is going in the right
122:10
direction and culture is supporting the
122:14
highest values and our best contribution
122:16
that we could make in life fine but of
122:20
course that’s not the case and so in a
122:23
world where you know that can be tilted
122:26
in all sorts of pernicious directions
122:28
all sorts of negative themes and
122:30
influences if you just go with the flow
122:32
yes can’t I don’t have a choice I think
122:35
yeah I think yeah you know you can end
122:37
up living a life so differently than the
122:40
one you really intended to live that
122:43
that you again it’s waking up to this I
122:46
yes I have a choice I got to make a
122:48
choice oh no it might be the wrong
122:49
choice I might guess it wrong of course
122:51
I am but I’m gonna make it I’m gonna
122:53
actually you know to lean into that
122:56
reality you can’t the one choice you
122:59
can’t make is to just to get rid of your
123:01
ability to choose which account cannot
123:03
be done it’s like not not theoretically
123:05
not practically possible so that’s a
123:07
good it’s good news that this discovery
123:10
I am choice whatever has happened to I
123:12
can make a different choice going
123:14
forward whatever is happened to me
123:16
intergenerationally it’s full circle
123:18
back to this new work that yeah you’re
123:21
gonna start working on in a new way from
123:23
this moment on forever is that we we
123:29
don’t have to do what happened to us we
123:33
don’t have to repeat what happened to
123:34
our mother father grandfather
123:36
grandparent great-grandparents bad stuff
123:39
did happen I’m almost certainly but we
123:41
can be a transition person we can say I
123:44
have a new choice and I choose
123:47
differently and and it’s so powerful the
123:50
moment somebody discovers that from a
123:53
weight has an awakening around that
123:56
they’re able to they’re able to move
123:58
forward and change everything that comes
124:01
after them we didn’t talk about it my
124:03
family but I’m gonna talk about it my
124:05
family we you know this was a black box
124:09
and we didn’t deal with it but we’re
124:10
gonna deal with it it’s not gonna be
124:12
easy but we’re dealing with it now so
124:13
that it doesn’t just get passed on to
124:15
the next my great grandkids are still
124:17
struggling with this stuff I’m gonna
124:19
shift it yeah we had alcoholism and I
124:22
family but we I’m not gonna I can choose
124:24
not to drink alcohol I can choose not to
124:26
pass the song you know see this is this
124:28
is
124:30
to me empowering inspiring change in
124:34
perspective hugely and you like you said
124:39
you do have the option to flip the
124:44
switch to switch the track to redirect
124:47
the Train and you can be that transition
124:49
point for yourself and for the people
124:52
around you and for the people who come
124:53
after you
124:54
well Gregg this is this has been such a
124:57
a wonderful conversation for me I hope
125:01
it was somewhat stimulating or fun for
125:05
you to be a part of and perhaps we could
125:08
just close on the on the Billboard
125:09
question this is it does anything come
125:10
to mind is a question a word a lion a
125:14
quote anything that you would put on a
125:15
billboard as a message to convey to
125:19
millions or billions of people liked
125:21
liked just that word Li gh t that’s it
125:25
light is that every moment in our lives
125:29
in whatever capacity we’re in there is
125:32
always this choice in this moment to
125:35
step towards light but a step towards
125:38
darkness and I don’t mean grandiose you
125:42
know as I said before massive good
125:44
versus massive evil it’s not that but
125:46
each moment we have the choice do I step
125:48
towards the light do I step towards some
125:51
dark version of this moment do I do I
125:55
get irritated with my kids or do I be
125:57
patient
125:58
do I do I listen to the voice of
126:00
conscience in this moment or do I just
126:02
go after what my ego would want me to go
126:05
after and my experiences with this and
126:07
I’m just just beginning my own journey
126:09
of it of course but is that if I if I
126:13
pursue what is light it will bring more
126:17
likely and that light grows brighter and
126:20
brighter and maybe it carries on forever
126:23
until the perfect day but that’s that’s
126:26
the idea wherever anybody is that they
126:29
can do that right whatever choices
126:30
they’ve made before and all of us have
126:33
made mistakes right all of us have
126:35
chosen in those moments huh I went down
126:38
I was a dark choice I don’t mean that
126:40
the dark side like
126:42
you know like some Star Wars thing where
126:44
you go over to the dark side no but just
126:47
in this moment I chose the impatient
126:49
part they chose the negative part I
126:51
chose the self-interested part they
126:52
chose the you know or I could just
126:56
choose the like in my experiences
126:58
wherever anybody is on this journey you
127:00
know between light to dark let’s say
127:02
wherever they are on that continuum the
127:04
people that are most full of light
127:06
aren’t the people who have done all the
127:08
best things in their lives necessarily
127:10
it’s which direction they’re headed in
127:12
it’s which decision they just make and
127:15
and and so that’s why it’s so powerful
127:18
it’s this is not getting all burdened
127:19
about whatever the past has been it’s in
127:22
this moment am i leaning into the light
127:25
or leaning out of it and that to me is
127:28
like seriously it’s like the whole of
127:31
life written in one single rule and and
127:35
so that’s that that would be I think
127:36
that would be you know my answer for
127:38
that at least today light I like it well
127:42
thank you so much Greg people can find
127:44
you online
127:45
Greg McEwan comm they can say hello give
127:48
a wave on social at Gregory McEwen on
127:52
Twitter and probably elsewhere the book
127:56
essentialism I highly recommend it and I
127:58
don’t say that much about many books it
128:03
is a it is a very useful book I found it
128:06
personally useful it’s something that I
128:07
revisit as is there anything that you
128:11
would like to say in closing remarks
128:15
anything else you’d like to add for
128:17
people listening and he asked you’d like
128:19
to make of them if anything no I I don’t
128:22
have any ask for them but I do want to
128:23
say to him I really appreciate how you
128:26
know this conversation I feel like you
128:29
know it’s it’s been I found it more than
128:32
a normal podcast kind of conversation
128:35
and that’s you know that’s credit to you
128:38
and you know I appreciate it that you
128:42
you’ve brought so much to the
128:44
conversation and helped it to be what at
128:46
least for me is felt rich and and and
128:48
meaningful and real and so so thank you
128:51
to you thanks so much Greg this this is
128:54
this is
128:55
so this is a conversation I think I will
128:57
I will certainly listen to again I’ll be
128:58
revisiting the book I think that’s a
129:00
good starting point for my next
129:03
quarterly off-site and for people
129:07
listening I will include links to
129:10
everything we discussed of course
129:11
everything that Greg is up to the Quaker
129:14
process have taken notes on things to
129:17
follow up on the piece of artwork you
129:20
mentioned as your reference point all of
129:22
that will be in the show notes which you
129:24
can find at tim blog forward slash
129:25
podcast just search essentialism or
129:28
Greg’s a name and it will pop right up
129:30
and I want to mention one more quote
129:36
before we close and this is also from
129:38
the book it is a quote of Lao Tzu and it
129:41
goes as follows quote to attain
129:43
knowledge add things every day to attain
129:45
wisdom subtract things every day so
129:50
until next time folks thank you for
129:53
listening
129:55
hey guys this is Tim again just a few
129:57
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