If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.

Not by default, but by design

Essentialists don’t simply react to events and make choices by default. They follow discipline and systems in creating a lifestyle to make their decisions, because they know not all things in life are equally important.

Essentialism is all about making decisions what’s important and what’s not in your own life.

3 core truths

Replace “I have to”, “I can do both” with

  • I choose to
  • Only a few things really matter
  • I can do anything but not everything

Change your mindset and be free from non-trivial essentials. Essence – It’s all about mindset.

When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless.

In turn, we surrender our power to choose to others. That’s the path of non-essentialist.

Invest a little bit of extra time to prioritize the pay-off

Almost everything is unimportant. Sit back and explore your options.

Embrace trade-offs strategically and thoughtfully

You want to really put all of your time and effort into ‘go big on’. So, embrace trade-offs.

Learn constantly to discern the vital few from trivial many.

Exploration is not an end in itself. Do it and do it regularly.

Time and space are only available to you if you design yourself to escape.

  1. Design – away from all distractions.
  2. Concentrate – on all important essentials.
  3. Read – classic literature, not blogs, modern books, news…

Mine your past for ‘play’ memories.

What did you do as a child that excited you? How can you re-create that today?

Sleep helps you do less but better throughout your waking hours.

Hell Yeah! or No

No more yesses. It’s either Hell Yeah! Or No.

  1. Write down the opportunity e.g. speaking at an event.
  2. List 3 key factors to pass to pursue this opportunity e.g. over 1,000 audience
  3. List ideal criteria e.g. over 5,000 audience

If your opportunity doesn’t meet all 3 criteria, learn to say no.

If you could truly be excellent at only 1 thing, what would it be?

Be brave. Look deep. There’re always going to be competing priorities but recognize and acknowledge them as a distraction, getting in your way of true intent. It’s difficult to eliminate, but it’s beneficial.

With real clarity of purpose, people and teams fully mobilize and achieve excellence.

People are effective because they learnt to say no

You’re not going to be the most popular. But done with authenticity, they’ll respect you as such.

Either you can say no and regret it for a few minutes or you can say yes and regret it for days, months and years.

Always be editing

Editing means removing unimportant or completely trivial. Editing also means adding essentials.

Boundaries allow you to thrive when set in limits

Close your door so people won’t barge in. Stop replying to emails or phone calls. As long as you make it clear and set limits, boundaries don’t set you back.

Leave room for unexpected

Add buffer to give yourself breathing room and flexibility. Plus, you’ll feel better finishing early and taking a well-deserved break.

Ask yourself before jumping on an opportunity.

  1. What risks are you taking on?
  2. How would they affect you?
  3. Are there any social effects?
  4. What’s the likely financial effect?
  5. What can you do to reduce these risks?
  6. What can you do to strengthen social and financial resilience?

Start small and celebrate MVP (minimum viable progress)

Ask yourself what’s the smallest amount of progress that’ll be valuable to what you’re doing?

Achieve them. Celebrate them. It’s worth doing.

Instead of making just a mm progress in million directions, begin to generate tremendous momentum towards accomplishing a thing that’s truly vital.

Every second spent worrying about past or future distracts us from what’s important here and now.

8 ways to say No

1. Awkward No

Pause for a moment. Count to 3. Wait for him to fill the void.

2. Soft No (No but…)

I’d love to get together once the book is finished…

3. Let me check my calendar and get back to you.

It buys you time to think.

4. Use email autoreplies.

5. Yes, what should I deprioritize

6. Say with humor

7. You’re welcome to X. I’m welcome to Y.

You’re welcome to borrow my car. I’ll leave the keys here for you.

8. I can’t do it, but X might be interested.

Identify Herby (what’s holding you back) and Improve it

As a scout leader, it’s your responsibility to get all of the team members to the camp site before the sun sets. Some scouts go really fast, some go really slow. One boy in particular, Herby is the slowest of all.

You can get the group to stop and wait for Herby to catch up. This keeps the group together but as soon as they walk again, the same gap begins to form all over again.

Or you can put Herby at the front and lines up all the boys in order of speed (slowest to fastest). The pack now begins to move in single group. The downside is the whole group is now moving at Herby’s pace. You’ll arrive late. What should you do?

Do anything and everything easier to make things easier for Herby. If Herby moves one yard faster, the whole group will get there that much faster.

Any improvement with Herby, however how small, will improve the pace of the whole group immediately.

So, take the weights out of Herby bag pack, extra foods and supplies, and distribute it throughout the rest of the group.

Instead of trying to improve every facet of the factory, you need to identify the Herby, the part of the process that is slower relative to every other part of the plant and improve its efficiency.


Kyaw Wai Yan Tun

Hi, I'm Wai Yan. I love designing visuals and writing insightful articles online. I see it as my way of making the world a more beautiful and insightful place.