“We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important…We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people…Life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.” ― Leo Babauta
This quote basically boils down to that gnawing feeling I often have… I’m not doing or experiencing enough.
I make fun of my parents because we’ll be eating lunch and as we’re eating start planning what we’re having for dinner.
Jeff Dettmer at Boot Camp would say that his wife Kim would scold him to stop “shoulding” all over himself. I love that phrase because I do the same thing!
When I observe my mind it’s telling me I should be meditating or exercising or reading or learning that new valuable skill or traveling or checking out that podcast that everyone’s been talking about and on and on and on.
One of my favorite books is Essentialism
by Greg McKeown (listen to our interview with him here
). Greg writes, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
So I have started being more mindful of my time and even more intentional. On Sunday nights, I plan out on my calendar the most important goals I want to accomplish that week and then block out the time on my calendar to get them done.
Then, I try to fill my calendar with the activities that I know I would enjoy and block out all the other distractions like social media or the news that would just give me more FOMO anxiety.
I have so many incredible books and I love to read. I don’t have the time to read them all and so as I’m reading if It doesn’t grab me, I just stop reading it. On to the next! I’m trying to apply that attitude to more aspects of my life. There’s just an abundance of everything and if it’s not a "hell yeah” then it’s a no and I’m on to the next thing.
This way, I’m trying to live more intentionally, purposefully and with much less anxiety. There’s an old Zen story of a Zen Master shopping in the open market. He says to the butcher, “Which is the best cut of meat?” The butcher says all my cuts of meat are the best. After hearing that, the Zen Master becomes enlightened. He realizes all the moments are the best moments…
Whenever, I start “shoulding” on myself, I think of that story and just ground myself in the moment and get back to what’s most important in my life and let go of everything else.
“The things that matter most should never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.“ - Goethe