How to highlight the important

We can refuse 90% of our troubles without harming ourselves. Moreover, we must give them up if we want to be happy and free.

Each of us has a moment in life when there are too many things to do, and there is no energy for them anymore. And I want to say: “Enough! I'm over it!" Or is it really enough?

Generally, we can drop 90% of our hassle without hurting ourselves. Moreover, we must give them up if we want to be happy and free. This is exactly what the essentialists do (from the Latin essentia - essence). But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Greg McKeon, author of Essentialism, shares five methods to help you get there.

1. Space for Thought

There is a secret hideout at Stanford School of Design called booth noir. This is a tiny room that can fit no more than three people. There are no windows or any objects that distract attention, and the walls are upholstered with sound-absorbing material. They come here for the sole purpose of thinking. Here students get the opportunity to think clearly and focus on the problem that interests them.

Such a place for solitude and reflection is necessary for every person. It will help you fully concentrate on the problem, deeply analyze all the alternatives and determine the most significant ones, make an important decision or complete the project. No wonder Isaac Newton, working on the "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", almost did not communicate with anyone for two years. It was voluntary solitude and continuous concentration that allowed him to make a breakthrough in scientific thought.

2. Listen and look closely

Essentialists are good observers and listeners. Knowing that it is impossible to treat everything that is said with the same attention, they compromise, that is, they try to hear what the interlocutor is silent about. They read between the lines. You can describe this approach in the words of Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter saga: "I just think logically, and this allows me to discard unimportant details and see clearly what others do not notice."

Ordinary people also know how to listen, but they do it in preparation for something to answer. They get distracted by the information noise and pay too much attention to the little things. They hear the loudest voice, but at the same time they get not the most necessary facts. Essentialists, on the other hand, are able to isolate the most important thing from the noise.

3. Permission to play

At the end of the classic musical Mary Poppins, Mr. Banks, usually unfriendly and sad, comes home and says that he was “fired, fired thrown out into the street."However, he seems perfectly happy, so much so that the servants say that he is out of his mind, and even his son notices that he does not look like himself. Indeed, Mr. Banks seems to be a completely different person.

For example, he repairs a kite broken by children and offers to fly it. Having thrown off the terrible work stress, Mr. Banks releases his inner child. His good mood completely changes the whole atmosphere in the house, and the once melancholy Banks family becomes joyful and friendly. Of course, this story is just fiction, but it shows how important the game is in our lives.

Let yourself play. According to the founder of the National Institute of Play, Stuart Brown, who studied the "gaming stories" of six thousand people, the game develops brain plasticity, adaptability and creativity. As Stewart says, "nothing fires up the brain like a game."

4. Peaceful sleep

The main asset available to us is ourselves. If we do not invest enough in ourselves, that is, in our brain, our body and our spirit, we endanger the tool with which we can bring the greatest benefit. The most common way people, especially ambitious and successful people, endanger this asset is through lack of sleep.

For non-essentialists, sleep is just another burden in their crowded, busy, but always productive lives. Essentialists, on the other hand, never deny themselves a healthy long sleep. By protecting their assets, they fill life with a store of energy and creative power. Mark Andressen, one of the founders of Netscape, says: “Seven hours of sleep and I start to get dumb. Six is ​​a dangerous level. Five is a big problem. Four turns me into a zombie." On weekends, he sleeps over 12 hours.

5. Strict selection: 90% rule

This rule can be applied in case of any choice or dilemma. When you rate an option, think of the most important criteria and rate it on a scale from 0 to 100. If a particular option scores below 90, discard it. This will help you avoid hesitation when choosing alternatives with scores between 60 and 70. Estimate how you would feel if you scored 65% on any test.

So why can you consciously choose an option of this level, making an important choice? The application of such a criterion forces one to sacrifice something; sometimes you have to turn down a good opportunity and trust that a great opportunity is about to come. Sometime it will be so, sometime it won't; the point is that such a criterion forces you to choose the ideal options, and not let other people or the universe do it for you.

Surprisingly, in ordinary life, all these things - space, observation, play, sleep and choice - can be regarded as something superfluous. At best, they are considered a pleasant addition to the main activity of a person, and at worst, manifestations of weakness and frivolity. But these are not distractions at all. On the contrary, only with their help can we understand what actually distracts us from the goal.

Based on the materials of the book "Essentialism".