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  • Writer's pictureFernanda Mueller

Essentialism: When saying no is the best answer

Before reading the book "Essentialism", from Greg McKeown, I used to think that saying yes to every opportunity and doing as many things as I could was the right path to success. But the truth is that I wasn't making relevant progress in anything. And so I started to notice how wrong I was.

The picture below explains really well the difference between the paths of the essentialist and the non-essentialist:

The one on the left uses its energy to do many activities, so it has minimal progress in several directions, while the one on the right focuses its attention in only one activity. The result is clear: when we invest in less things, we can make more significant progress in what matters the most to us.

It's easy to notice how our society is formed by non-essentialists. The word priority should mean the most important thing, but we often use it in plural: "my priorities are". So we have many first things.

In the book The Dip, the author Seth Godin uses a very good example to notice how the essentialist acts: “A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”

How to apply essentialism to content creation

The concept of essentialism can be applied in every aspect of our lives, and it is extremely necessary for content creators. We are drowning in a sea of information. This is bad both for those who consume all this content and those who create it.

The Internet brought many benefits, but it also has brought us the sense that we have to be everywhere, all the time. And if you are a content creator, you feel like you have to be posting about everything as much as you can to be seen. But guess what? You can't.

And if you try it, you will probably be wasting your energy to do all of these things that you think you should be doing, when you actually will not be doing what people need and expect from: delivering top quality content.

According to author James Clear, there are three questions you should ask yourself before speaking, writing and/or putting your content online:

  • Does this need to be said?

  • Does this need to be said by me?

  • Does this need to be said by me right now?

This doesn't mean you have to be insecure about sharing your content, the whole idea is to simply focus on what you want to say, what you're good at and what you believe in.

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