5 Books To Help You Focus On What Matters
“If it’s not a ‘hell yes’, it’s a ‘no’.” -Derek Sivers
I feel like a broken record lately when giving advice. No matter where the conversation starts, CrossFit, nutrition, running a business, parenting, etc… I keep coming back to the same message.
Focus on the few things that will matter most.
What are the 1-2 things you can do right now, and possibly every day, that will move the needle the most in your life? Where is your biggest return on investment?
I know it can be frustrating when your coach doesn’t have a simple answer for you, but it’s my job to ask questions until YOU uncover your biggest needle movers. It’s my goal to get you to ask yourself better questions.
I wish I had this gift of clarity decades ago, but it’s something I’ve only developed in the past few years as I’ve studied this science of doing less to achieve more.
It always intrigued me to think about what rich people have figured out that poor people don’t? Or what do healthy people know that obese people don’t? How can someone who seems to do everything in their power not see the results that someone working seemingly half as hard can?
It turns out, every action isn’t created equal. Every minute spent doing something, is a minute not spent on doing something else. There are certain actions that have a much bigger return on investment when they are aligned with our goals.
I remind myself of this saying daily, so don’t be surprised if it ends up on the walls of CFPB somewhere…
More is not better. Better is better.
This has definitely been a process for me and still is. But every day I have an opportunity to strengthen the muscles that only focus on what matters.
It’s not like I watched one episode of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and I was instantly surrounded only by the things that brought me joy. Although, I did watch one episode and it was quite informative and inspiring.
So where did this clarity in my life come from?
I thought about the books that have influenced this thinking the most over the past few years. Here are five that had a big impact on me.
Maybe you’re not convinced reading is “spending time on what matters”, but I believe the time spent investing in these books will return dividends for years and years to come.
Here they are…
5. “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less” By Richard Koch.
This was a shorter read and I wasn’t as impressed with the book as I am with the message. You can Google “80/20 Rule” or “Pareto’s principle” and probably get just as much valuable information from watching some videos. Nonetheless, this book planted the seed for me for being efficient. Basically it says that 80% of the results we see come from 20% of our efforts and vice versa, 80% of what we spend time on only give us 20% of our results. The key is identifying which actions get us where, and spending more time there.
4. “Building a StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message So Customers Will Listen” by Donald Miller. I read this book for marketing our gym, but didn’t realize how much it made me think about the cluttered narrative in my life. If someone asked me about the core values I wanted to pass onto my kids could I explain it simply in a few sentences? Or if someone asked what I do every day, could I speak my truth in a few short minutes? I’ve worked on simplifying my message in my life as well as our gym. If you go to our gym, you know that message, “Just Show Up.” Forget about the stresses of everyday life and just show up. I think everyone could get something out of this book because I believe we are all salespeople at times. We are always sending messages hoping to influence others.
3. “Anything You Want: 40 Lessons For a New Kind of Entrepreneur” by Derek Sivers.
Derek is one of the most insightful people I’ve ever learned from. His podcast episodes on the Tim Ferris Show are amazing. Check out episode 125 or listen to it on Youtube here. This book is short and could be read in an hour. He shows how quickly you can tell impactful stories to get your message across. And the messages are on point too.
2. “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living” by Ryan Holiday. This is a book I read every morning. One of the main teachings of stoic philosophy is focus on what you can control. And what you can control is usually all that matters. It’s meant to be read one page daily, but the lessons are so good you may find yourself reading into the days ahead.
1. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” By Greg McKweon. I wrote a post on this book you can check out here. In the post I talked about the importance of defining your core values so you can revisit them when a question or conflict arises. You can make a more essential decision when you have your core values clearly defined. With each choice we embody more of the essentialist or non-essentialist. I’ve learned it’s a neverending process. We are in an ongoing pursuit of what is essential in our lives and working towards it.
Keep Living Superhuman,
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