Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Life scares me. I just have no damn idea how I am meant to live it. Currently I am: looking for a new job, working a shitty job, teaching myself Greek, trying to find time to keep up my Italian, jogging every day, going to the gym every day, keeping up two blogs, trying to work on my own fiction, trying to study epistemology, trying to work on my own non-fiction, trying to be meet people, trying to eat right, trying to read a little every day, listening to too many podcasts, trying to find the time to somehow enjoy life.

I probably missed a few in that list.

Essentialism is a book that suggests that I live my life incorrectly in a deep, fundamental level. The author has come to understand that all humans pile their plates with far, far too much responsibility, and that we need to calm it down. It suggests that at any given moment we should really be putting our energy into one thing, and one thing alone. But the author isn’t just talking about when you are in a singular instance, but more generally in your life. This is very good advice that I cannot bring myself to follow.

In a respect my reading this book was a complete and utter failure, as evidenced by the fact that I read this book in late 2017. No joke. I never put it to this blog because I always had a nagging feeling about it. What was that nagging feeling? The fact that I just can’t implement this advice. I would love to be able to just focus on one thing. For instance, it would be nice to just be able to spend some time mastering Python, so much so that I got really good at it. But who is going to take care of me while I do that. Would I learn it better if I were doing only that? Certainly, but its a fantasy to assume that life is ever that kind.

I also could not help but wonder to what extent a person has to have a certain amount of pull in their workplace to be able to even suggest to a boss that they cannot do something because they are needing to focus elsewhere. It honestly starts to seem like an attitude only certain very lucky people can permit themselves. Such choices do come with consequences.

The book is right, and yet I haven’t been able to follow its advice at all.

I have no idea who Greg McKeown is. But the fact of the matter is that focusing on just one or two things is something that I will not be able to do, at least for the time being. It’s just not feasible for my social class. Regardless of how correct he is.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

4 thoughts on “Essentialism – Greg McKeown

    • I work three jobs (albeit two of them are part time). If I want to have a hobby of kind, I need to multitask.
      Yes, i am writing this from work. Yes I am doing two things at once.
      The ‘relax and do one thing at a time’ mindset is really nice. But some of us can’t afford it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries.
        A lot of the people at my jobs are in very similar situations. A common refrain is “after this shift I go to my other job”. Unfortunately, with a rising cost of living everywhere this is going to continue to be the case.

        Liked by 1 person

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