So a friend sent me a book the other day after reading my story on going “all in” on myself, and I seriously think it’s about to change my life. I haven’t read a book cover to cover in over 5 years now (is that bad?), and I’m a little over half way through it already after day #3!
IT’S SO GOOD!!!! AND IT’S NOT EVEN ABOUT MONEY!!! :)
It’s called Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown, and it’s about taking control of your life and what you care about, and what you don’t, and helping you find a much better way to manage everything that’s important to you like your jobs and passions/family/projects/dreams/etc.
It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.”
It IS deep and about life’s greatest challenges, but it’s also highly readable and enjoyable at the same time. Which is good, because this kind of subject matter tends to put you to sleep – and fast ;)
And while I did say it’s not a book about money, oddly enough the first few chapters were LITTERED with financial takeaways, and so of course another great reason for me to share this with you today :)
I even went old school and grabbed my highlighter and sticky notes! (You’d be proud of me, Hélène)
Here are some of my favorite clips so far:
“If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?”
HOW GOOD IS THAT??? Take a look at all the things around you right now. Do you love them so much that you’d go out and replace ’em right now if they magically disappeared? How many of them truly brings you joy? I’ve used this question handfuls of time anytime I’m going back and forth with something I want to declutter and keep at the same time. It def. puts things in perspective.
“…when I looked at something I wanted to buy I would translate it into the number of days I would have to deliver the papers to get it.”
This is another GREAT trick to use when you’re trying to figure out if you should buy something or not. How many work days (or hours?) would it take to come up with the money? Does it still seem worth it and exciting to you, or not?
This always reminds me of a friend in college who used to measure units of time in numbers of cigarettes. Any time I’d ask him how long it would take to go somewhere, he’d tell me “7 cigarettes” and I’d have to decipher from there. (Let’s see here… it takes you 4 minutes to smoke a cig, so 4 x 7 = 28, got it! We’re 28 mins away, thanks! :))
“Working is important. But more effort does not necessarily yield more results”
This is something I struggle with a lot as I’m a GREAT task do-er, but no so much an “efficiency figure outter.” I could spend 3 hours answering emails or responding to comments which is all fine and well (especially relating to this blog – both of which I do daily!), but in relation to growing or building up a business or project/career/etc, those hours could have been put to more productive use.
The same goes for side hustles as well. If you spend 5 hours and make $100 that’s great, but what if you spent 5 hours and made $1,000 instead? Or spent 5 hours and made $0.00 at first, but every month paid you $20.00 in passive income for the rest of your life? Same amount of time, drastically different results.
“20 percent of our efforts produce 80 percent of results”
Y’all probably know this one already as we talk a lot about it in the personal finance world (it’s popularly known as the Pareto Principle), but it means that only a small portion of our work really produces the most gains. And is why you’ll often hear that it’s more important to focus on your housing or car(s) or loans when shaving expenses because those will give you much more bang for your time when focused on than, say, making lunch at home. Both are great and will save you money, but one will produce much bigger results than the other.
You’ll also find this in business with finding your core clients that pay you the most, or the opposite where you’re finding the clients that take up 80% of your time but only give you 20% of your business. The principle can be applied all over.
(I’m even using it right now in writing this blog post. I could spend another hour cleaning it up and editing it to be better, but it’s already 80% good and the extra hour won’t make that drastic of a difference (or maybe you’re done putting up with my grammar? ;))
There was even a passage on our community’s hero, Warren Buffett!
“Warren decided early in his career it would be impossible for him to make hundreds of right investment decisions, so he decided that he would invest only in the businesses that he was absolutely sure of, and then bet heavily on them. He owes 90% of his wealth to just ten investments.“
10 investments!!! Crazy!!! Can you imagine focusing like that in your life/career/finances?? I guess I kinda am myself having all my retirement $$$ in just one index fund (VTSAX), and all my banking accounts under one roof (USAA – why go anywhere else when to me, they’re the best?), but I’ve always filed it under minimalism than essentialism. Though they kinda go hand in hand, don’t they?
In fact, here’s a great last line to leave y’all with today:
“Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.”
It’s minimalism merged with efficiency merged with importance merged with straight up AWESOME. And I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and pick up a copy if you’re having a hard time keeping up with everything too :)
You can find it at Amazon for $8.06, or check it out at your library for free!!
If I find any more financial correlations in the second half of the book, I’ll come back and share those next. Huge thanks to Michael Kitces for caring enough to send this to me. I wouldn’t have opened it up had you didn’t, man! I’m loving it!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!