It took me awhile before realising that I am a non-essentialist. For a few years, I have been an avid watcher of self help vlogs on youtube. I became addicted to it. You know, learning things like how to be smart, hot to get rich, how to invest your hard earned money, strategies on how to cope with frustrations, how to be successful, etcetera. The list goes on and I try my best to ingest all of these in my head. Equally, these videos usually inspire me to do something out of the ordinary or something I haven’t done before. However, it can be overwhelming. I would see myself all over the place. Plans are never executed and passion projects I started were never sustained. I found myself doing less important stuff. Somehow, for a very long time, I never dared to do something significantly specific where I have poured my creative energy in one direction and become really productive.
I think I am on my way to become an essentialist. Yes, I still watch motivational videos on youtube but I try to limit the channels I watch now. Basically, it all started with Matt D’Avella, the minimalist filmmaker and digital creator, who I have been following in all social media platforms for 2 years. I stumbled upon his interview with Greg Mckeown, author of the best-selling book Essentialism, last April 2019. In the interview, Matt asked Greg questions pertaining to Becoming An Essentialist. Basically, Greg was preaching Essentialism as the disciplined pursuit of less but better.
Greg said in the interview,”We can spontaneously and naturally change our behaviour when we realise that it is difficult to overstate the unimportance of practically everything.”
I was hooked in their discussion especially when I finally admitted to myself that I am a “YES” man. I say yes to everything even when I know that it will stretch me too thin. I just don’t want to disappoint people and I keep telling myself that I can do everything as long as put a lot of hard work into it. Surprisingly, Greg was saying that a Yes Man like me is unknowingly saying NO all the time. Meaning to say, I say No to the most important stuff – the essential ones that will help me grow as a good, balanced and sound person and will help me have a satisfying and loving relationships with the people in my life like friends and family.
Aside from Matt, I am also influenced by Nathaniel Drew, another Youtuber who produces good content, in my opinion, with awesome cinematic B-rolls and posted a series on essentialism in his channel last year. Personally, I like how he dealt with the concepts with regards to decision making, stoicism and mental clarity. Among all the things he stated, one statement caught my attention:
Change is Essential.
You know that feeling when you force to put things back together but it’s too broken, modified or changed. In time, you’ll see that your effort will become pointless. Change is inevitable and constant. So, when Nathaniel introduced Stoicism as part of his Going Essentialist series, it became all clear to me. We cannot control all things that happens around us but we can always control our reaction… our attitude.
I am working on the path of becoming an Essentialist. I bought Greg’s book and he wrote there in big letters that “If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.”
I am willing to fight for the life that I want. I want to have a happy and abundant life with my wife, family and friends in the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Becoming relentless and disciplined to choose the essential things in my own life is the number one priority and nothing else matters. Although I tend to go back to my non-essentialist mindset from time to time, I see to it that I bounce back. I refuel my passion to seize life the essentialist way by trying to read the word of God. Reflecting on it, I see Jesus as an essentialist. He knew His mission.. His purpose on earth despite all the distractions of the mundane living. He is the Son of God, our Teacher and our Friend who doesn’t change and the one who reconciled us with the Father. He is Our Saviour.
John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.”
The impact of essentialism in my life is something I won’t and should not forget. From Matt’s ground up show podcasts, Greg’s book, Nathaniel’s journey towards self improvement, nothing beats the teachings of Jesus Christ. He is the light of the world. Our path to a happy life. At present, I can concentrate my energies in to one specific direction one passion at a time.
As I start to apply Essentialism in my life, I can’t help but think about the past… but that is the non-essentialist way. I should think about the present because that is the most important. Instead of me saying,”I should have done this..”, I should say, “Right now, where do I go from here?”