Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More (#510)

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“If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. And if you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have.”

— Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown) is the author of the new book Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most and a previous book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which hit The New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than a million copies. He is also a speaker and the host of the popular podcast What’s Essential.

Greg has been covered by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fast Company, Fortune, Politico, and Inc., has been interviewed by NPR, NBC, Fox, and The Steve Harvey Show, and is among the most popular bloggers for LinkedIn. He is also a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. Originally from London, England, he now resides in California with his wife, Anna, and their four children.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#510: Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear the last time Greg was on the show? Check out our conversation in which we discussed applying Essentialism to project hurdles, making allowances for poor planning, separating decisions from relationships, a third option when processing a “yes” or “no” response to someone’s request, what happens when we decide not to make a choice, and much more.

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Greg McKeown:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SHOW NOTES

Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • We begin with some thoughts on Gandhi and four words he said that neatly sum up Essentialism.
  • On the power of symbols and a story about how they helped Greg’s family through a profoundly difficult time.
  • What prompted Greg to write his latest book, Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most?
  • How Effortless is like three books in one — covering effortless state, effortless action, and effortless results — and what we can learn from them.
  • Why holding grudges and dreaming up ways to even the score when we feel wronged by others is a huge waste of time and energy, and what we might accomplish instead by spending this time and energy more constructively.
  • Greg demonstrates how life experiences can unwittingly write scripts that hurt us more than they serve us, and I talk about what I’ve done to close the loops on my own grudges and overwhelming need to right perceived wrongs.
  • The three questions from Byron Katie’s The Work that I ask myself when I cross paths with — and need to cope with — one of my biggest peeves: entitlement.
  • An estimation of the wasted energy I’ve spent holding on to grudges and other useless hangups, and what Greg suggests to those of us seeking to lower our electric bill, so to speak.
  • The real lesson of observing gratitude, and the “habit recipe” BJ Fogg uses to make gratitude actionable.
  • The star chart game Greg and his family have used to get through pandemic lockdown together.
  • How Greg helped his son use effortless action to accomplish a not-so-effortless goal: to become an Eagle Scout by age 14.
  • To avoid unnecessary steps, sometimes you’ve just got to start from zero. Just ask Mike Evangelist how Steve Jobs taught him this valuable lesson.
  • The tragedy of the Vasa and what the King of Sweden learned about making a project impossible to finish by constantly redefining what “finished” should look like.
  • What’s the difference between effortless action and effortless results?
  • Sometimes the right question to ask is “Who?” not “How?”
  • A powerful example of effortless, residual results.
  • What does Greg’s editing process look like, and is there anything that got left on the cutting room floor that was particularly difficult to omit from the final book?
  • Greg shines a little more meaning on his previous answer to the billboard question.
  • Parting thoughts.

PEOPLE MENTIONED

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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8 Replies to “Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More (#510)”

  1. Dear Gentlemen,
    This episode reminds me of a book that I am reading now. “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. It has really helped me release all of those ridiculous thoughts and fears that I keep agonizing over.
    Thank you

  2. Best quote from this episode: “It’s all so simple.” The only problem is I can’t recall the full story behind them and there’s no mention in the podcast notes. I think they were the wisdom of a dying man. When Greg shared this, it was so beautiful. Is there a full transcript I can access to refresh my memory?

    Thanks for your work. Each episode gives me something new to chew on. Amazing value!

    1. Hi, Karen.

      For links to all transcripts, please refer to the sidebar at the right. Under “Topics,” you’ll see “The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts.” If you’ll click that link, you’ll find the transcript you’re looking for.

      You’ll also see a transcript link below the bio of each guest once a podcast is published on the blog. (The link for the transcript typically appears within 24 hours of the podcast going live.)

      Here, also, is a direct link to all the transcripts: https://tim.blog/2018/09/20/all-transcripts-from-the-tim-ferriss-show/ .

      So glad you enjoyed the Greg McKeown interview.

      Best,

      Team Tim Ferriss

  3. Hi Tim, this was another great episode, thank you.
    Over the years you have discovered and passed on so many useful and life changing resources and I just wanted to return the favour.
    I would like to recommend a book to you that I have discovered recently and found incredibly useful. (You may have read it already, it was published a number of years ago.) The thing that I like most about it is that the information is very practical and the technique is instantly applicable. I have heard you talk in the past about the notion that perhaps emotions come up first and then our mind grabs on to thoughts to justify that feeling. This book speaks to that. It’s called ‘Letting Go. The pathway of Surrender’ by David R. Hawkins.
    I hope you and your loved ones are safe & well. Best wishes, Miranda Nolan (Actor and fan)