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Nate’s Notes 73: Greg McKeown | Essentialism & Effortless

By May 25, 2023June 2nd, 2023No Comments

Greg McKeown

Author of Essentialism and Effortless

Greg McKeown just demonstrated why he is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world, and I love the lessons he shared. 

First, one of the simplest questions we can ask ourselves is, “What is essential?” As we succeed in our lives we have more opportunities, which can distract us from what is essential. For example, hours after Greg’s daughter was born, he left his wife and newborn in the hospital to attend a meeting with a client, making what he called, a fool’s bargain. But Greg learned from that experience that if you don’t prioritize your own life, someone else will. When we get pulled into the undisciplined pursuit of more, the antidote is the disciplined pursuit of less…the pursuit of the essential.

Second, the word priority came into the English language in the 1400s, and it was singular and stayed singular for the next 500 years. But now it’s plural, and nonsensical. How can you have very many, very first, before all other things, things? An essentialist goes back to the first definition, and understands what matters most, and categorizes opportunities as either a clear yes or no.

Third, another question we can ask ourselves, once we’ve identified what is essential, is “How can we make this effortless?” In other words, how can we simplify? Rather than start with complexity and try to reduce it, Steve Jobs started from zero, and tried to achieve what was essential in a single step.

Life isn’t always about trying to achieve more by doing more, but by doing less, but better. 

It’s a simple idea. Please take it seriously. 

Greg McKeown Bio:

Greg McKeown is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” and “Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most”. Together they have been published in 37 languages.

Greg is one of the most sought-after public speakers in the world and has spoken to more than 500 companies and traveled to more than 40 countries. His clients include Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Nike among others.

Greg is also the host of The Greg McKeown Podcast which has been ranked in the Top 5 of all Self Improvement podcasts and Top 10 in all Educational podcasts on Apple Podcasts.

His work has been covered in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Fast Company, Fortune, Politico, Inc., and The Harvard Business Review. It’s also been covered on NPR, NBC, FOX and many times on The Steve Harvey Show.

Greg serves as a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum, and at Stanford he co-created the popular class, Designing Life, Essentially.

Greg earned an MBA from Stanford, a Global Leadership and Public Policy certificate from Harvard, and he is currently doing doctoral research at the University of Cambridge.

I hope you enjoy learning from Greg McKeown today, because I always do.

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