Addition by Subtraction

Addition by subtraction

The more I grow, the more I evolve, the more I appreciate the value of doing less.

I believe evolution is synonymous with simplification. Not doing more – not constantly trying new things and thinking in new ways – not always wondering “what’s next?”, but wondering, “what now?” and diving deeper and more passionately into what’s in front of you.

My friend Brett said something a couple weeks ago that’s stuck with me ever since I read it:

“In reality, I’m already exactly the artist I need to be. I’ve just lost sight of the need to let go in the wake of all this hunger for change.”

My greatest strength, and, contrarily, one of my greatest weaknesses, is that I am always tinkering. I’m always thinking about what else I can do – or how I can take on more challenges – how I can be better. But instead of realizing that my potential for great things is already within – I look outward for influence and inspiration.

What does this lead to? It leads to not giving myself nearly enough credit. It leads me to comparing and feeling like I can’t possibly keep up with the rest of the world’s innovation. Plain and simple, it leads to exhaustion.

Like Brett, I’m learning that the artist, the entrepreneur, the writer, the husband, the boss, the colleague, the friend, I want to be and need to be – isn’t something I need to look elsewhere to find, but rather, something at different times I’ve lost sight of in the pursuit and hunger for change.

All of these things are within me – and are within you. The only way to discover our true potential is to clear out the clutter and focus on what matters. (tweet this)

Getting to the heart of what matters involves letting go and making room for the important stuff. Start with the basics:

  • Say “no” (confidently) to projects that don’t fit so you can pursue the work you (really) want.
  • Shorten your emails and get to the point.
  • Pick up the phone to clarify things – and stop hiding behind your inbox.
  • Let go of fear by articulating your worst case scenario.
  • Ask for help instead of struggling to do it alone.
  • Instead of doing what makes sense, do what feels right.

The more I grow, the more I evolve, the more I appreciate the value of doing less. Your greatest strength and truest potential isn’t something “our there” but rather, something that’s been “in here” all along.

Now go find it.

(Photo credit)