“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” — Greg McKeown
Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown) is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and the founder of McKeown, Inc, a company with a mission to teach Essentialism to millions of people around the world. Their clients include Adobe, Apple, Airbnb, Cisco, Google, Facebook, Pixar, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Twitter, VMware and Yahoo!, among others. Greg is an accomplished public speaker and has spoken to hundreds of audiences around the world, and in 2012, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
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Want to hear two chapters from Essentialism read by Greg himself? — Listen here to learn more about saying “no” gracefully and cutting losses in the aftermath of a premature “yes.” (Stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Greg McKeown:
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Essentialism and the Paradox of Success as a Financial Advisor by Michael Kitces
- How Will the “Endowment Effect” Affect You? by Mariana Bockarova, Psychology Today
- What It Feels Like to Be a Stormtrooper by Ralph Morse, Great Big Story
- Jerry Before Seinfeld
- Who Said “Worrying Is Like Praying for Something That You Don’t Want to Happen?” by Barry Popik
- The Price of Everything (Documentary)
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- The Planning Fallacy Can Derail a Project’s Best Intentions by Yael Grushka-Cockayne, The Washington Post
- Why You Start Things You’ll Never Finish by Tim Herrera, The New York Times
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker
- Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Quarterly Personal Offsite Meetings by Dennis Kennedy
- What is a Clearness Committee? via Wikipedia
- The Presidential Biographies: John Adams, Mornings on Horseback, and Truman by David McCullough
- The Listener by James Christensen
- The fool’s bargain Greg McKeown made that led to the genesis of Essentialism. [07:38]
- Not a business phenomenon, but a human phenomenon. [09:51]
- Using the Endowment Effect to question and reframe priorities that may no longer serve us (and not wind up with stormtrooper outfits in our closets). [12:52]
- Greg walks me through an exercise from the Designing Life, Essentially course he co-created at Stanford, which prompts me to talk about potential directions I’ve been mulling over for future projects. [22:30]
- “Don’t write a rubbish book” is an appropriate mantra to address a fear Greg and I share. But what might be a more productive mantra? [36:26]
- If I can talk myself into writing the next book I want to write, what’s ideally the first phase of the process, what’s my biggest hurdle to overcome, and how can I apply Essentialism to move the project forward? [42:58]
- Moving on to phase two and finding the one decision that removes a thousand decisions: what non-essentials am I willing to give up in the process of writing my next book? Which ones are currently overtaxing my resources? [49:00]
- Making allowances for the Planning Fallacy — the constant underestimation of time and other costs of getting things done (even when we should know better). [54:43]
- Why taking ownership of someone else’s problems probably does neither party any favors in the long run. [57:56]
- Separating decisions from relationships to avoid committing to the unsustainable — while minimizing potential damage to these relationships. [1:01:27]
- When his assistant took a month off and Greg overcommitted himself, he devised these three rules to avoid taking on “floor angel” projects. [1:09:29]
- When processing a “yes” or “no” to a request, don’t forget about your third option: negotiation. [1:15:30]
- How I’ll know when the essentialist system devised to streamline my next project is working. [1:16:26]
- What well-reasoned, polite declines look like — with examples from Peter Drucker and Warren Buffett. [1:17:32]
- A challenge for Type A personalities: say no to an opportunity so you can take a nap. [1:26:29]
- The strategic insights and benefits discovered by taking personal quarterly offsites. [1:28:02]
- Where should a personal quarterly offsite take place, and how much time should it take? [1:33:28]
- What we learn about ourselves by taking pause to consider the legacies — both good and bad — of generations past and future. [1:34:40]
- What makes a good design partner? What makes a bad design partner? [1:41:01]
- Gaining perspective with a design partner using a Quaker technique. [1:47:02]
- Literature that helps Greg find his center. [1:48:27]
- The role of prayer in Greg’s life — and how he can tell if it’s working as intended. [1:50:57]
- Why is it that we so often feel we do not have — or forget that we have — choices? What’s actually happening when we decide not to make a choice? [1:56:05]
- What would Greg’s billboard say? [2:04:54]
- Parting thoughts. [2:07:42]
- Jim Collins
- Andrew Grove
- Carl R. Rogers
- Jerry Seinfeld
- Henry Cloud
- Oprah Winfrey
- Peter Drucker
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Warren Buffett
- Tony Robbins
- Steve Jobs
- John Adams
- David McCullough
- John Quincy Adams
- James Christensen
- Gautama Buddha
- William Shakespeare
- Lao Tzu
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