“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” - Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
We all want more -- more time, more things, more love or more money. How about wanting less? People with too much on their plates can suffer decision fatigue and ego depletion. Basically, you can only do, be and desire so much. If you want to succeed, you have to Dream Big and Focus Small. Your time, your life, is finite. So instead of always trying to do more, consider doing less of what does not matter, so you have the resources for what is essential.
Doing less might be as simple as wearing the same thing everyday, a tactic used by Jobs, Zuckerberg and Obama. But, if you like wearing more than one thing, here are five other places in life to cut the unessential.
Your Stuff - Studies have found that clutter diffuses focus, competes for your attention, and at its worst can be exhausting. You collected spoons as a kid, now its shoes or magazines or apps. No matter what or where, it’s in your life and it doesn’t need to be. Let it go. Make space for what matters -- physically, virtually and (correspondingly) in your mind.
Your Commitments - Being busy all the time is self imposed BS. It gets reinforced by American culture -- busy people are important and essential. But why you’re busy is what counts. If you never say no and run around doing things that don’t matter. . . then it’s time to hack the schedule. Isolate what really matters to you and then Make Time for it by letting the rest fall away, guilt free.
Your Negativity - Complaining is bad for your health. Can you spend time more effectively than happy hour with coworkers bitching about the boss? Ask yourself why you’re talking and then engage people in a way that benefits your relationships and the world. The rest is unessential.
Your Debt - Some people dream of going to Iceland (but I could never afford the ticket!) and then spend $500 landscaping their backyard. See the disconnect? Do you value a cosy, aesthetically pleasing homestead or the experience of travelling somewhere new? Both are fine values. No judgement. But if you know your values, they can guide financial decisions and help eliminate debt, so money exists for what matters to you.
Your Relationships - Start cutting ties with those who make withdrawals and no deposits. If you can’t turn a toxic relationship into a positive one, it doesn’t make you heartless to let it go, it makes you healthy. Realize that hanging around negative people doesn’t help them, it enables them. Make space in your life for inspiring people.
Now, get out the machete and start hacking. Eliminate the unessential. Otherwise, you will never fly.