#121: Essentialism & The Pursuit of Less with Greg McKeown
#121: Essentialism & The Pursuit of Less with Greg McKeown
In today’s episode, we are talking with Greg McKeown, best-selling author and CEO. Greg’s break-out book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The book is frequently ranked as a #1 Time Management book on Amazon, and challenges core assumptions about achievement to get to the essence of what really drives success.
Greg is the CEO of McKeown Inc. Clients include Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Pixar, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Twitter, VMware and Yahoo!. His writing has appeared or been covered by The New York Times, Fast Company, Fortune, HuffPost, Politico, and Inc. Magazine. He is among the most popular bloggers for the Harvard Business Review and LinkedIn’s Influencers group: averaging a million views a month. McKeown has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows including NPR, NBC, and FOX.
In this episode, we talk about Greg’s path from studying to be a lawyer to becoming a writer, the definition of Essentialism, and how we can decide what’s ‘essential.’ We’ll also discuss the three steps to being effortless, how to make essential work more fun, and how to achieve residual results with your work. If you’re a high-achiever and looking to step up your productivity without dedicating all your time, this is a must-listen!
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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts: www.youngandprofiting.com
00:37 – Greg’s Upbringing
02:12 – How Greg Strayed From Being a Lawyer and Became a Writer
08:30 – The Definition of Essentialism
09:45 – How Achieving Success Can Cause Failure
12:32 – The Way Essentialism Relates to Being Effortless
15:37 – How We Can Decide What’s Essential
21:17 – Why Greg Wrote Effortless
24:51 – 3 Steps for Being Effortless
29:05 – The Problem With Effort
31:41 – Strategies to Achieve the Effortless State
36:07 – Does Effort Equal Time?
38:19 – How to Make Essential Work See More Fun
42:21 – Ways to Combat Complex Projects and Make It Simple
50:59 – Why Rest is Essential
58:35 – Difference Between Linear and Residual Results
1:04:32 – Greg’s Secret to Profiting in Life
Mentioned in the Episode:
Greg’s Website: https://gregmckeown.com/
The Essentialism Website: https://essentialism.com/
Greg’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/gregorymckeown?lang=en
#121: Essentialism & The Pursuit of Less with Greg McKeown
[00:00:00] Hala Taha: [00:00:00] This episode of YAP is sponsored by Olay Body. Why do you shower? The most obvious answer is cleanliness, but there's way more to it. If you listen to YAP, that cold showers can improve your energy and increase your alertness. But I bet you didn't know that taking a shower as part of your morning routine can positively influence your mood for the rest of the day.
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Olay Body fearless in my skin. You're listening to YAP, Young And Profiting podcast. A place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha, and on Young And Profiting podcast, we investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world.
My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life. No matter your age, profession, or industry, there's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guests by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires, [00:02:00] CEOs, and bestselling authors.
Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain influence, the arch of entrepreneurs and more. If you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love it here at Young And Profiting podcast. This week on YAP we're chatting with Greg McKeown CEO and best-selling author of Essentialism:
The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Essentialism offers actionable advice to avoid the zoom, eat, sleep, repeat loop that we've all become accustomed to. So you can achieve the best results without burning out. Greg is the CEO of McKeown Incorporated and services clients like Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
He's been published in the New York TImes, fast company, fortune and featured on numerous television and radio shows, including NPR, NBC, and Fox. Greg is also an accomplished global public [00:03:00] speaker and hosts a podcast called What's Essential, where he interviews thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and celebrities on how to do less, but be better.
And this episode, we talk all about Greg's path from studying to be a lawyer, to becoming a writer, his definition of Essentialism and how we can decide what's truly essential in our lives. We'll also discuss his three steps to becoming effortless, how to make essential work more fun, and how to achieve residual results.
If you're a high achiever and looking to step up your productivity without dedicating all your precious time, then this is a must listen episode. Hey Greg, welcome to Young And Profiting podcast.
Greg McKeown: [00:03:40] Oh, it's so great to be with you. Thank you.
Hala Taha: [00:03:43] Looking forward to this conversation. So you are a two time best selling author.
You're also a public speaker, a podcast host. You're many things. And we like to start back at your upbringing, your childhood here at Young And Profiting podcast. So from my understanding, you had a very entrepreneurial [00:04:00] spirit. You started a car washing service from when you were a young boy. So talk to us about what it was like growing up for you.
What were you like as a child? And tell us about leading up until college. Like what your life was like.
Greg McKeown: [00:04:11] Oh it was a good life. I was born in London, England, but grew up in Leeds. I'm the youngest of five children, great family, not a lot of money. If I wanted to get extra things and it, and I was motivated to do that, I had to figure out a way to do it.
And yeah, as you say, car washing was my first real business and foray into that. I was nine years old, but I didn't just wash a couple of cars. Like I was for real about this. And I learned a lot from that. And even in all that's followed and all the companies I've worked with and all the entrepreneurial ventures that I've advised and being a part of, I still come back to the lessons.
I learned nine years old, starting that business. Who's your customer, who's your competitor. How can you earn more money, increase your profitability and all those things? That was a formative experience for me, for sure. And I, I intended and imagined to stay my whole life [00:05:00] in in England, but circumstances came up that shifted the direction for that.
Just live north of Malibu in California with Anna, my wife and our four children, all of them teenagers now.
Hala Taha: [00:05:12] Lovely. So from my understanding, you are going to be a lawyer and that's what your parents really wanted for you, but you decided to change paths. So talk to us about what it was like, going against your parents' wishes for you to be a lawyer, and what really steered you into the direction of becoming a writer.
Greg McKeown: [00:05:32] I was visiting friends in the United States and somebody in passing, it was just an off the cuff comment, but he said if you do decide to stay in America, then you should help us with this consultation committee that that I was talking to him about. And I left his office and went down. I remember distinctly it was dusk.
And that question just stayed with me. I grabbed a piece of paper off someone's desk and just brainstormed. If you could do anything, what would you [00:06:00] do? And the answer to what I would do is a, a list of things that I started putting down all the answers for 20 minutes. And when I suddenly stare at the list at the end, I'm struck not by what I've written down, but by what's I haven't written down law school is not on my list, which as you mentioned was inconvenient because I was at the time at law school in England.
And so that I call my call back to England and my mother answers. Fortunately she listens for a while. She says, I think you better talk to dad and that's it. So he comes on the phone or what does he say that, what would you say? What does a father say after all this time and money and effort and opportunity?
I'm, it's a big deal to even be at law school for me at this point. And he listened, which is not entirely like him. And then he, because all Englishman quote, Shakespeare over tin crumpets for breakfast in the morning, he pulls this line straight out of Hamlet. Till they own self be true.
And that's a layer [00:07:00] teas. Are you speaking to I'm speaking to some ladies rather. And that was what he was saying to me is just, he didn't say this, but it was like, choose what's essential and everything will work out. Just do it, choose what is right. Let the consequences follow. And that's really what I did in that moment.
It was permission to not do what I had imagined doing and it wasn't like it was completely harebrained. It wasn't somehow I'd never imagined the life I was now trying to pursue it. Just, I was just trying to do it on the side. I was trying to say I'm I weren't going to do law as my main thing, but I'm going to, I want to teach right on the side.
And suddenly I was like you don't have to do what you've been doing in the past. You can do what it is. You have a real sense of mission for your highest points of contribution. Isn't it doesn't have to be just a pipe dream. You can start making those trade-offs right now. And that, that has made all the difference.
[00:08:00] Hala Taha: [00:07:59] I find it so funny because I feel like almost 50% of the people that I interview we're going to be lawyers and then change paths. Like literally, like it was every, I feel like I talked to someone, if you had one leg, you were supposed to be a lawyer, but then you decided not too. Cause I think that like doctors, lawyers, engineers, it's you choose that because you think it's safe.
You think that's what society wants. You think that's what it means to be successful and being an artist or doing something like that you feel like is unrealistic when in reality, there's so many people out there who are successful doing what they love. So I just wish anybody who's listening right now.
And if you're young and if you're in school, get experiences, figure out what you like. And don't just take the path that you feel is right. Because society says it's right. Yeah. Make money doing anything.
Greg McKeown: [00:08:47] I certainly believe that it's been one of the important things for Anna and I with with our children is to say, look, you're like, who are you
uniquely. Life is hard enough. Even if you [00:09:00] pursue in your career, things that you're naturally passionate about, that, that speak to your talent. It's hard enough. Even if you do have those things in place, you don't need to make it harder by designing your whole career about around stuff that actually you don't enjoy.
And you're not good at, as you, once I say it that way, it seems obvious which path to take, but it is so normal to see people saying law's the path. I just have to do this. This is it. This is respectable. Yeah.
Hala Taha: [00:09:30] I want to make 200 grand a year. This is the way like guaranteed way, so.
Greg McKeown: [00:09:34] Yeah there's a, there's, that reminds me of the beautiful question. What will you do with your one wild and precious life and to make sure that we're not living a parallel path, as we all remember parallel path is by definition, a two lines that never meet. And often what I found is that people, even when they're trying to do what they came here to do, they tend to compromise and go this is, [00:10:00] this is okay, this is a best of what it is I want to do instead of saying is there anyone
who has actually taken the path that I want to take as, has anyone actually done it? And often the answer is many people have and been successful at it. So you can model yourself, reverse engineer, what it is that they have done and increase your chance of success. Certainly reduce your chance of significant failure by modeling what they've done and how they've done it.
And so it's a mental block, more than an actual it's more than the work itself that I think holds people back. It took me being in a geographically different place with this permission to explore my life for me to suddenly get past that mental block for a lot of people, they're just trapped in the assumptions of their current lives.
And that's what keeps them from breaking through to a higher point of contrast.
Hala Taha: [00:10:58] Totally. I love that advice. [00:11:00] Okay. So you are known as the father of essentialism. And so I would love to tell a, to give some color to our listeners, provide a definition because I'm sure there's a lot of people who have heard of this, but don't really know what it means.
So what does essentialism mean to you?
Greg McKeown: [00:11:14] Essentialism is the disciplined pursuit of less. It is to pursue what is essential, the very important things, the most important things. It means eliminating all of the non-essential, the things that don't matter at all. And then it means creating systems and routines to make it as effortless as possible to do what's essential so that you can do it not once, but many times.
So that you can do it in a sustainable way so that you can become successful at success so that you can break through to a higher point of contribution instead of being trapped at the level that you are, that's essential.
Hala Taha: [00:11:57] And I love that you mentioned [00:12:00] success, and I know that you got the idea for writing essentialism, which is his first breakout book.
And we're going to talk about your next book called Effortless soon in a bit, but for your first book, you got that idea because you were in Silicon Valley, you were working with executives and you notice that people often, when they had clear goals, they would be successful. But once they reached success, they would get a little bit sloppy in their goals and experience failure.
And so actually the problem isn't necessarily becoming successful. The problem is what happens after success and maintaining that success. So talk to us about that.
Greg McKeown: [00:12:33] First of all, just look at the literature. We'll show you that most of what's been written about success is about how to become successful and almost nothing has been written about what to do once you are.
And that's a problem because everybody listening to your show, everybody watching this is successful. Literally they might not feel that they might not even self identify, but if you have [00:13:00] any kind of historical context, then you, then this is clearly true. They're literate, they're interested. They have discretionary time to even be able to do this.
They're not working in some child labor environment. Th this is a tremendously successful time. And these people by virtue of these choices self-evidently successful. And so for every person listening, it's not a question of how to be successful. It's actually a question of now already, how do we make sure that our current level of success doesn't rub us from the next level?
And so in order to do this in order to be successful at success, or in other words, how to go from successful to very successful, you have to become more solid. You have to not do everything good at your current level, because that will consume you so much, that you will have no room to even think about what the 10 X is.
You, you won't even have the space in your calendar. Quite literally. You'll stop [00:14:00] prioritizing you just wake up in the morning. As many people do with all this optionality that they have, and it just check email. And so their day becomes run by, living in their inbox. We were at risk. I know I am on my worst days of, my, my tombstone reading, he checked email.
It's just this endless, that sort of stuff and even good stuff. But what I have learned is that to help people break through, they have to apply what I would call the 90%. You're saying what is 90% or above essential, on an importance continuum. And to try to then say anything that's below that is either a clear note.
You actually just eradicate it or at least negotiate it. You consider it. That's what I've lived.
Hala Taha: [00:14:50] That's really helpful. And before we get into effortless, is there anything on essentialism that we need to know in terms of background to more clearly understand? So [00:15:00] your takeaways from your second book,
Greg McKeown: [00:15:01] I think that what's important to understand is that these are complimentary books.
I think of them this a bit presumptuous, but I think about them as like the Paul McCartney and John Lennon of my work so far, that, that is both of those musicians have created music or did create music outside, separately, but it was when they were working together. Then the magic happened.
That was when we had the Beatles and this, this extraordinary thing. And I think that's important for people to appreciate it's essentialism plus effortless together. And, we can do that with a single question, which is just this, what would happen if the trivial things in our lives became harder.
And the essential things became far easier. And to me, that such a hopeful question, and it's such a, that would change everything. And in my experience it does change everything. And it's such an important, [00:16:00] there's these two elements. It's are you doing essential versus non-essential right.
So that's what essentially is about. Let's do the essential things, get rid of the non-essential. Okay. That's step one. But then I've learned that a lot of people then approach the essentials in the wrong way. So even once they get clear, I know what my goals are. I know what matters to me. I've started to eliminate the non-essentials for my life.
That's great, necessary, but insufficient because if you approach it in the wrong way, you'll still burn out without achieving the results that matter the most. And that's really what effortless is about. And it happens to a lot of people, lots of people listening to this are either burned out. Actually I think everybody listening to this right now is either burning.
They know that burned out, that's it? Those are the two types of people that are in the world right now. If that's the reality, you have to find a new way of executing. Why? Because you can't be both burned out [00:17:00] and continually sustainably achieve next levels of success. Those are like mutually exclusive though.
Your job is to find not just the right thing, that's essentialism, but to be able to do it in the right way, that's effortless.
Hala Taha: [00:17:14] I love that. I can't wait to dive into you effortless and all the steps and everything like that. I do have a personal question because I want to understand how can we decide what's essential because it's relative to everyone.
And I know in your work, you talk a lot about how family relationships, all these things are really essential. For me, I'm like obsessed with my podcast. I just launched a business. That's blowing up, I'm obsessed with YAP Media at 40 employees, really passionate about my work and it's essential to me.
So how do I prioritize? If work is really important to me and I love it. I love doing the work. What is like the litmus test, to know, like how to prioritize things, I guess that's my question. Like, how do I, how do you effectively prioritize what's essential in your [00:18:00] life?
Greg McKeown: [00:18:00] That's a great question, but let me tell you what I heard when you said that.
I want to make sure I heard it but what I think I heard you say was this really matters to me what I'm doing, my professional work and I'm killing it. You didn't say that, like it's, it is just, I like it. I love it. It's working, it's growing succeeding. But what I actually heard you say that the, but to that statement is, but I sometimes wonder if I'm really doing what is essential, whether there are other things I'm supposed to be.
Or is it just society is telling me I need to do something else. That's what I heard in you was like a tension between all these things you're doing that do produce a fulfillment for you, but a sense of something else. Am I hearing it right?
Hala Taha: [00:18:51] Yeah. 100%. Like I wonder I spent a lot of time at work and sometimes I don't hang out with my friends enough.
Am I going to regret that later? But I guess [00:19:00] that's personal, you know of course, but I'm just wondering for anybody listening out there, like how can they prioritize what really matters to them? Are there questions that we need to ask ourselves? Is there like an activity that we can do to get it all down and figure it out?
Like how do you suggest we go about figuring out what is essential to us?
Greg McKeown: [00:19:18] If you don't mind, if it's not too uncomfortable to just push on you just a second more or at least use utilizing what you've shared to the benefit of your listeners. The, how is already present in you and in everybody listening, it's just, you have to amplify what you're already implying.
There's something in you saying, this is all great, but there's something else here that needs different investment. There's an essential, there's something essential that you are under investing in. And you already mentioned friends, but I don't know if that's what you really mean. It could be friends.
It could [00:20:00] be when you said the word friends, I felt like there was more to the word friends than you're implying. Maybe it's relationships, maybe it's family, maybe it's, maybe it was friends, but in a deeper meaning. And what I'm saying is that my mission isn't to go around telling anybody what's essential, but people do know, they just have to listen
to that voice, the you it's subtle in what you're saying to me, but I heard it. And other people listening have it in their lives to a, what a friend of mine called, the difference between the SCAD voice and the sacred voice, which I like that language, that there is quietly in as a sacred voice that knows what's essential.
That knows what we need to be doing. That knows the right path beyond that. That's me. When the person says, if you just, if you could do anything, what would you do? It's just creating space to [00:21:00] listen to what is already available. But in my I've got all these people telling the law professors do this by this date.
I've got, society where it's a good thing to do. I've got family conversations from the past saying if you do study law, it will keep your options open. These are all the external voices. Yeah, they're worth listening to as well. I'm not saying we ignore all of that completely, but if we listen to all of that and don't listen to that, still quiet voice inside of us, then we will end up pursuing the non-essential.
And I think that's the thing to do. And no one should tell us what that saying. And no one, I think even really can, but it is vitally important in a world that is often consumed in the undisciplined pursuit of more, to get quiet, to get still, to listen, amplify that trust it. It knows that voice knows what's [00:22:00] this.
Hala Taha: [00:22:00] Yeah, 100%. I totally agree. Sometimes you need to like, sit back, look at the big pictures, see what you're doing. So you're not just like running in place and getting nowhere, I think that's really important. Okay. So I know that you had a lot of success with essentialism. It was a breakout book.
And part of you writing Effortless was because you felt like you were trying to follow your principles in everything that you wrote. And then you realize that there was more to this. So talk to us about your own personal experience and what that aha moment was that like, okay. I need to write this book, Effortless.
Greg McKeown: [00:22:34] Everything I've just described about success leading to plateauing into progress is something I experienced myself and I was eliminating nonessentials would be more selective than I'd ever been.
So I'm on that one criteria like what's essential is clear. Eliminate what's not essential. That's clear. But even with all of that, I still felt like I had more responsibilities. You said I'm father of [00:23:00] essentialism, but I'm also now father of four children by this point, but all of those responsibilities.
So I, and I'm wanting to do what I'm doing. There's no oh, I think I'm in the wrong direction. I'm going down the right paths, but it's still too much. And in the midst of that, do you use a metaphor? We've all heard. I'm sure of the big rocks theory and the big rocks theory basically says, you've got a container.
If you put the sand in first, the really trivial stuff, and then the small rocks, the good stuff. And then the essential things, the big rocks lost. If you do that, audit it won't fit. And what is how it's supposed to work is if you put the big rocks in first, your health, most important relationships, vitally important projects in next.
Then it fits geometrically. That's how it's supposed to work. But what happens if you just have too many big rocks? If they're big rocks by definition, they're essential. But what [00:24:00] if there's too many for the space you have then? And in the midst of this question? Yes. Then I have a family emergency. Where my daughter in the picture of health suddenly just has to just discombobulates, her abilities just suddenly slowed down inexplicably and suddenly we're dealing with this family crisis and even bigger rock let's say, and it's an it there's, you're out of space.
And so it just pushed me to a point of first of just necessity. I've got to find a better way to approach what's essential because we can't just give up on these things. I can't just put down one of the children. Sorry, you don't matter. And this happens a lot when you're dealing with family crisis, you can end up putting down other essential things and there's costs all of that.
And so what grew out of my experience over the next couple of years of dealing with that were strategies for making it easier to do what matters most. A ways to make life [00:25:00] overall easier than it was before. But ways also to make specific projects, to streamline them, to make those easier, but overall, to build systems that produce results for you, whether you can focus on them or not.
And so these strategies are, I went on to then codify these and to now write about them. And I've been delighted to see, as you mentioned, became a New York Times bestseller and it's it's just been great to watch this compliment Essentialism in helping people at this time of particular strain and stress.
Hala Taha: [00:25:32] Yeah, it really does compliment each other. And it's super interesting stuff. So I know that you have three main sections in your book and you compare these three main steps for being effortless or having effortless work. Like you compare it to an MBA player, giving a free-throw. So talk to us about those three steps.
Give it to us at a high level. Maybe use that analogy to set the stage and then we can walk into some more detail.
Greg McKeown: [00:25:57] Yeah. The, if you watch somebody take a [00:26:00] throw in the NBA or the w NBA, they find the doc, they get ready that we've all seen a little ritual that it's different for different players, but everyone has a ritual.
Maybe they bounce the ball three times, close your eyes sometimes deep breath. What are they doing? Why are they doing that? Why don't they just, why don't they just throw the ball immediately? Get it, throw it way. We all know this, but it's worth just breaking down to, to just pause that they're getting into a certain state.
I call it in the book, the effortless state. They're trying to clear away all the clutter they've got these they've got the fans from the other team, cheering them, screaming at them. They've got burdens worries. What if I don't get this in? What happens to my, my school is what happens to my team and there's all this noise that will make it harder for them to do the essential job that they are there to do.
Now, this is all before the task it's before the actual job of throwing that ball. [00:27:00] But it's still vitally important because this, if they let that clutter consume them, it will make it harder to execute well on what matters. So that's the effortless state it's to do with removing all of that mental and emotional complexity that just gets in the way of performance.
Step two. Okay. There's this, there's effortless action. You watch somebody who's, particularly talented about this and they've done it many times. They're bringing you that, they're bringing their elbow up to the square flick, pop it's it's a very smooth don't over-complicate it?
They're not trying too hard if they try too hard, they're going to miss it. You can imagine someone because they want to get it done so badly. They could overexert. And so it's all about being able to, yes, we care, but it's gotta be in that effortless action and people that master anything or an effortless action.
That is effort, but there's not too much effort. It's not over complicated, not simple. So that's effortless action. And that's for any of us who are trying to get a project [00:28:00] complete, a task done is that we need to make the action itself as streamlined and effortless as possible. And then of course the third part is you want the ball to go in a predictable manner.
That satisfying sound, as it goes through the net and to be able to do it, the people that are the best in this, they can do it almost on repeat so that one of the best free throws of all time and can do it a hundred in a row. And it will get to the point where it's just almost like robotic and it just lands.
He doesn't even move his feet between the ball just keeps coming back. So that's the metaphor is it says effortless results and effortless results. What that means is some very specific, which is how do you create residual results instead of linear results. Linear result is a one-time thing. You put the effort in, once you get the effort back, what the result back once residual results are, how do you construct systems having they're the ultimate effortless.
Idea because the results flow to you, [00:29:00] whether you put any effort in at all, because you built a system that then works for you, a system that stacks the deck in your favor. So that's it, that's the model effort, the state and the in the center of the diagram, concentric circles, then effortless action, then effortless results.
This is the model.
Hala Taha: [00:29:16] Brilliant. Brilliant. So let's talk about Effortless. A lot of people say if it's comes easy, it's not worth anything, no pain, no gain. Like these are all things that are really common in our culture for people to think that you need to do hard work in order to get good results. And if you're not doing hard work, you're not successful or you're actually not getting anywhere.
And if it's easy, it means nothing. So talk to us about why that's the wrong way to think about it.
Greg McKeown: [00:29:46] I'm, as in favor of effort as anyone you're ever going to meet, I do believe in effort. I believe that effort matters. There's only one problem with it. And that is that it's a finite resource. And so the people I work with a high [00:30:00] performers, they're part of what my brother, Justin calls, the HIT squad, hardworking, intelligent, talented people.
That's who I write to that's who I'm speaking to. That's who I'm coaching. So you've got this HIT squad group of people and they want to go to let's say 10 X results. They want to achieve 10 X, what they have in the past. Can they work 10 times harder? Can you work 10 times harder?
Hala Taha: [00:30:22] No, not at that. No. No, not about what I want to
Greg McKeown: [00:30:27] Even if you said I'm willing to make the crazy bargain and I'm going to kill myself, you still couldn't work 10 times harder. There's just, people run out of space. I couldn't work 10 times harder. I can't work 10 times harder now, but I still want to achieve 10 times the contribution in the world. I want 10 X impact even more than that.
So how do you do that? Then you've got to construct. A different way to do it. You've got to come up with a different strategy. Otherwise you, you will, in your attempt to go further. You'll just burn yourself out more. [00:31:00] And so that's the challenge. You just run out of space on that strategy, keep putting an effort.
But now we have to figure out a way to use that effort in a way that it has a higher return. So we're talking here about ROE, you've got whatever effort you've got put in effort by all means. But now we have to figure out how to put that effort in so that we can return back for 10 X or the a hundred X outcome that you want.
That's what I'm arguing for. That's who I'm trying to convince that there is, if you can't work harder, but you still want to go further, you have to find a smarter, easiest strategy to achieve that. This is what Effortless is really advocate.
Hala Taha: [00:31:40] I'm glad I asked that question. Cause I think that's super clear and I think that makes total sense.
So let's talk about each one of these three stages. Let's start with effortless state. Talk to us about some strategies. I know you mentioned this happens really before you start working on your task and maybe let us know if you have any routines or routines that you suggest that we take when it comes [00:32:00] to preparing for our work in this effortless state.
Greg McKeown: [00:32:03] Yeah, one of the, one of the smartest things that we can do in trying to create breakthrough effortless results is to accept this premise that easy does not equal lazy. That upfront is a huge unlock for entrepreneurs and high achievers who have running out of space. Because if they've been taught, as many people have been taught to distrust the easy.
Then they are closed. It's like they've closed a whole door because yes, there are some easy things that are actually cheating. Of course, we have no interest in that. I have no interest in violating virtue in order to achieve a goal. We were not, I'm not advocating for that, but as soon as you say anything easy is lazy.
There's a lot that you've just taken off the table. That could be incredibly helpful in you making a better contribution in the world that you've closed. [00:33:00] Literally, if you look up the definition of the word, easy, the definition of the word lazy, they're not the same. I'm stating summary Scott obvious, right?
But like lazy is unwillingness to work. Easy is just something doesn't require a great deal of effort to achieve it. If you stop saying, they're the same thing, then you're going to just, you just, the problems are so predictable. I think about somebody, I was coaching her totally hit squad. She's the type of person who's up till four in the morning, Photoshopping for a project in her, at church for her, for the youth group the next day.
So no one's asking you to do that, but she's so motivated and driven that she wants to make a high contribution. And she's been locked into this idea that the only way of demonstrating that is more and more effort. So that means less and less sleep. So she's the kind of person who, if she even eats lunch, She feels like she's she's being lazy.
She's being, she's [00:34:00] violating something virtuous. As she eats lunch, I don't even mean she takes time to go away for lunch. If he even eats it, she feels guilty. So that's the type of person I'm talking to. So what do I say? I said listen, there is this other virtuous path of let's find easiest strategies to achieve what you want.
Let's not make everything so hard all the time. You still want to make a contribution. But the next day she gets a call from a professor. She works at a university. The professor comes and says, look, I need you to record a class for me for the semester. She just about to jump in because she knows more work that was better results.
And she's going to go, Hey, I'm going to get a whole team, a videography team there. We'll record this from multiple angles. We'll edit it together. We'll have music, intros and outros and graphics, and we're going to make this terrific thing and we're going to wow him. And then she remembers coaching.
Is there an easier path? What if this could be easy? What might that look like? And it turns out that it's for one student, who's going to miss a few sessions because of an athletic commitment. [00:35:00] And the solution they come up with is that another student will just record it on their iPhone and send it whenever this student's going to miss.
That's the solution. The professor's thrilled. It takes only 10 minutes on a conversation to say four months of work for an entire team. She puts the phone down and she's just that's amazing by opening the door that easy does not equal lazy. I have just done this incredibly efficient hyper-efficient thing.
Everybody's happy. And I've got all that time rebate. That's the kind of thing that becomes possible when you suddenly, when you can this idea, when you say look easy, does not equalizing
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So as you were talking, the question that kept coming into my mind was does effort equal time is effort just another word for time, or do you think that there's a difference
Greg McKeown: [00:39:16] I think that effort is anything that requires cognitive work. It's anything that requires mental or physical exertion and that sometimes that can be in place for time, but it could be that somebody is just overthinking something, that they're just overcomplicated.
What's coming their way. I'm thinking of Southwest Airlines when they have they're in competition with these other major airlines and they're trying to be the low cost carrier airline. And and that they're saying we need to put in a new, the competitors are putting in this expensive ticketing system.
It's going cost $2 million for Southwest Airlines. And they we want to spend money on this, but if we don't, then we fall behind our competitors. [00:40:00] What do we do? And then finally somebody said why do we care? What they think a ticket is? Do we have to buy into their complexity and everyone in the room, the executive team's no, we don't care what continental or united thing a ticket is.
So what their solution was is we're going to have. Are we going to the receipt, we already print with the machines we already have. We'll just have it printed on it. This is your ticket. They save themselves millions of dollars at an, a key point in their startup journey, but that they just didn't add on all the complexity other people have on.
So that's an example. It does give them a time rebate, but it was also just all that additional financial cost because they didn't add on all that burden just because other people are doing it. They didn't have to do it that way. So I think if in one word I would say effortless is simplicity.
Effortless is about how do you make it as simple as possible and no, not more complicated than it or harder than it has.
Hala Taha: [00:40:55] So let's talk about some problems when it comes to our work. Some key problems. I know one of the [00:41:00] problems is procrastination. Another problem is people feeling like really just stressed out because a lot of the times essential work just seems like it should be difficult.
It seems like it should be hard. So how do we flip that on its head and make a central work seem more fun?
Greg McKeown: [00:41:16] Yeah. This is, a lot of people think about them as separate that essential things just of necessity need to be arduous and hard. That's a mental model, but we believe it. Thoroughly we sign up for that.
But as soon as you unlock that and say hold on, how can we just make it enjoyable? This essential thing we to get to do it anyway, or it needs to be done. How could we make it enjoyable in our family? The after dinner cleanup was one of 'em was one of let's say not enjoyable task, but you have to do it.
You're going, look we want to have a home that is in order. We want to have a home that feels de-cluttered and works and so on. So that is cleaning up every day. And so we said, okay, how can we make it effortless? I did a [00:42:00] few things. I said, okay, we're going to, what does done look like? We're going to make that clear to the whole family.
We're going to, we're going to divide roles and responsibilities. Everyone knows what they're doing. We train every one each child, each of us. And this all happens. And then day comes, we're going to start this, you know what happens? I'm so anticipating this, nothing happens. Everyone just disappears after dinner, just like always, and I'm grabbing them and pulling them back.
And it wasn't until my eldest daughter added just a little bit of fun to it that it changed the dynamic. It just, that was the tipping point. And it was just putting on music, karaoke music, basically. And suddenly that just tilted the experience to be just fun enough that people wanted to be part of it.
And it took a chore drudgery. That was important into something that was actually an enjoyable ritual. And now it's like more like a party than it is work in the traditional sense. [00:43:00] And I put a clip of it on, on, on Instagram recently because I thought people won't believe me, but that's what we're talking about.
How can you take something that was important, but drudgery before and turn it into something that's an enjoyable ritual.
Hala Taha: [00:43:11] Yeah. Is there any example in terms of like actual work in that you can give in terms of how do we make that seem more fun or easier make it feel easier, even though it's the same task.
Do you have any like business related examples? Sorry to put you on the spot.
Greg McKeown: [00:43:30] No, I don't mind that. This is this is a very entrepreneurs answer. It's not gonna work for everybody. But for me, I'd read it. I'd heard years ago about an entrepreneur who after traveling had like all these voicemail messages and was like, oh, we don't want to do all this.
I don't want to have to call these people back and they fail. And then they say, oh, how can I make it enjoyable? I've stolen this. I do that myself now. But they say, how can I make it more enjoyable? That, and as soon as they asked that question, questions or answers. And so you ask a better question, get a better answer.
And he's you know what if I could just quit if I [00:44:00] call these people back? I want to go sit in the hot tub. I want to go relax that. What if I call them back while I'm there? And then he, while I was talking to them, he's I'm in the hot tub. I can't believe there's. I just got back.
But it, and it became funny and it was fun. And for them it was funny and they just, and by the time he was done calling from Becky's like, gosh, I wish I had more people. This was enjoyable. And so it's about combining the thing that's essential with the thing that's so fun. You want to do it anyway and putting that together into a ritual that, that you look forward to and you can do that's one example.
Hala Taha: [00:44:30] I love that. I love that. Okay. So let's talk about big complex projects. Oftentimes when we have a huge project, we become like inaction. Like we can't do anything. We feel stuck. We procrastinate, we're scared to get started. And it's all because we've got this big behemoth of a project and we're just scared of it.
So what do you suggest that we do to tackle that and make that more manageable?
Greg McKeown: [00:44:53] Yeah his five questions that you can ask to really take a project, a big hefty, [00:45:00] essential project that seems overwhelming and make it a lot simpler. Remove that unnecessary complexity one. What does done look like you, you can't complete a vague project.
No one can. And the Vagrant is the more chance there'll be mission drift in mission creep. Keep on adding and just give up before you even got there. So just being clear, like what is minimum standard for what does done look like? The second question is just what steps can I delete?
How can I remove any of the steps that aren't necessary? There's all sorts of examples about this, but the Steve Jobs was a, it was genius level at this. One of his strategies was don't take something complex and make it simpler. You start from zero. You say, let's say there's no steps involved. How can we achieve this in one sense?
This is step. This is this is question two is what steps can I delete? The third question is what is the obvious first action? A lot of us get caught up [00:46:00] in the hundredth step, the thousand stab and all the possible steps. And it's just literally your body can only do one thing next. And so it's just actually identifying that.
So what's the first obvious action. The fourth question I would recommend is what gradual pace can I sustain? You don't want something on one of these major projects that you go big app for a weekend or for one week or for one day, and then it's just too much. And so then you become intermittent in your effort on it.
You want sustainable efforts. So you want to say, okay, what's the, what's my maximum that I could do this and maintain health and energy. Go step before it so that you don't reach diminishing returns or negative returns. And then the fifth question, which it just makes everything easier along the path is just, what can I be grateful for?
And we all know if you're suddenly were running a marathon that's hard enough. As soon as you start complaining about [00:47:00] the process, you just making it even harder. So whatever your project is, whatever you've signed up for, it's about how can I be grateful along the journey, because that will, it will affect what state you're in and affect your, your overall experience with it.
Those are five questions that people can ask. So I think immediately make a big overwhelming project. We may be procrastinating into something that's more doable.
Hala Taha: [00:47:23] Oh, my gosh. I think everybody should go rewind that portion because I think it's so useful. I love the concept of these like minimum viable actions, to really look at your end goal and say, what is the least amount of actions or steps that I need to take in order to get this done?
And then if you're a perfectionist or overachiever, like I sometimes like to throw in the whole kitchen sink oh, you need this, but I can do this, and that too, but that's not the right thing to do. You actually need to think, all right. If I want to keep making progress and tackle as many things as possible, how do I make sure that I.
Putting too much time into this [00:48:00] project that doesn't really need that amount of time because I'm making it more complicated than it needs to be. So I just think that is so smart.
Greg McKeown: [00:48:07] Not everything needs a second mile overachieve as tend to add, somebody asks for X and we go I can give you X, let me give you X, Y, Z.
I will give you, I'll give you X. All right. And it's no, they just, but I just wanted X. And I had an example of this. It might at a key moment in my career, I had this great opportunity with a tech company that comes to me. They want to part with me that look, want you to come and you do these three presentations for us, but really the goal is to have you come and help us over the next two to three years on this journey and how we can scale it.
It was a great opportunity. We have agreed on what the content is. We have the content ready it's the afternoon before the first presentation. And I'm like let me just tweak. Know, I know they want X, but what if I could give them Y and Z as well? Like I, and there's some new things I'm thinking about here that are really on the edge.
And I think that could be so terrific for [00:49:00] them. And so I stopped working on it. It's the afternoon and I keep working and it's hours and it's hours, and then I'm working in the evening and I'm like, okay let's try out those slides. Let's do new slides. And then with the present, I've already sent them the documents that they've approved those and they've printed them, but what if these would be even better?
And so I work at redo the handouts, but at the time I didn't pull an all nighter, but I was up till the early hours. And by the time I'm driving that to the event the next morning, I'm in my foggy. I can't think as clearly, I'm not familiar with the presentation because I've just done it. It's an, tested and I'm standing up there and I'm doing these slides.
And I keep having to turn around, even know what the slide is. And somebody asks me a question because the slide gave them a certain impression. And I don't know what to say about that. So I'm a bit defensive, it's a disaster, but thing is a disaster. I have stolen victory. The jaws of defeat. Is that what I said?
No stolen. I can't remember how to say stolen [00:50:00] defeat from the jaws of victory. how I had taken a thing that was already in the bank and I have ruined it and why I've ruined it because I'm trying to be an overachiever I'm trying to, and I think if I do, if I push harder, then I'll get to back to result.
And that's exactly opposite of what happened. And that's what we've got to be very conscious of that when we reached diminishing returns, stop, if you ever get two negative returns, what economists call negative returns on this? Yeah, you definitely want to stop because the longer you work in negative returns you're making it worse than if you had done nothing at all.
And that's literally what I did. And I think that it's relevant for a lot of, insecure overachievers. And I can certainly be guilty of that.
Hala Taha: [00:50:46] Yeah, 100%. I'm the same way with interviews. Sometimes I'll kill myself. Like I need to listen to every interview. I need to read every book.
I need to write 50 questions just in case. And then I'm so tired by the time the interview hits that I can't [00:51:00] even just be myself and being in the zone and just kill it. You know what I mean? So every time I screw up an interview, it's always because I'm like overly trying to prepare or, and it's just, sometimes it's better to just absorb it and then be like, all right, we're just going to have the interview.
And it is what it is, so I totally agree.
Greg McKeown: [00:51:16] And you've just made the argument for it, just that, right? That's exactly the point is that this the message that we're talking about today, doesn't work for everyone. If somebody is being in fact lazy then this isn't for them. But if somebody is already an overachiever already driven, if the aura and the hit squad.
You can't, don't push harder. A lot of people do this when they start to hit burnout, they're not getting by the almost by definition, the results they want. And so then they think the answer must beat, push even harder, double down on this. And so of course it gets them in a cycle of just perpetual exhaustion and burnout and so on.
And it's there you go, you got to stop, [00:52:00] walk away, nobody gets hurt, know what? Pay attention, take some self awareness. When am I reaching diminishing returns and stop.
Hala Taha: [00:52:08] And I think something else that kind of relates to this is the important of building in rest. Like for example, I find that if I study a bit for an interview and then I just relaxed.
And rest that I do better than if I just study study, and try to learn as much as I can. You know what I mean? So talk to us about the importance of resting, what that does for us and why we need to actually consider rest as a task that's essential and not just something that we do. If we have the time,
Greg McKeown: [00:52:36] Overachieve as a rubbish arrest, Rast is a responsibility as important as the work.
And the reason for that is not because, oh, I say so. I think so it is because we're biological creatures. And as you study the data on this you're not a machine, we're not a factory, so you can't try to get better results by saying, oh we'll go 24/7 as you could with a factory system that, that, that works in [00:53:00] perpetuity.
We work in rhythms, everything in human performance works in rhythms. So for example and as Ericsson's study he asked the question. He said when we sleep in rhythms, a 90 minute cycles, approximately. We all pretty much we know about this, but he said, did those cycles continue into the day?
And he wanted to study that and he found the answer was, yes. So what's the ramification of that is that you need to try and protect the morning for the most important essential work. And you divide it into three 90 minutes segments, you do 90 minutes, pause for 10 or 15 minutes. You go take a quick nap.
You can go for a walk. You can do whatever, but definitely a break. And then you come back for the next 90 minutes and you do three of these in a cycle. That's like optimal performance is going to follow that cycle. Now you can ignore that as most people currently are. You can just zoom eat, sleep, repeat all day long every day, [00:54:00] but then you're going to be exhausted.
Then you're going to look. You look at your Fitbit at the end of the day. It's 300 steps. Yeah. That's not you, aren't going to, you're not going to break through to the next level. Certainly not in an, all of the important areas of your life. In that approach. So you need a discipline pursuit, rhythms of rest and execution, and literally all of the data supports what I'm talking about here.
It's like you remember blood letting you know about blood letting, right? It used to be that the medical profession universally believed that the problem, a lot of disease existed in the blood. And if you could just get the blood out of people, if you could drain it from them, then you would bring health to them that literally never would.
That is a totally false idea. All you do is we can, the patient, we can, the person sometimes kill them, certainly hurt them. And yet the entire medical profession was at one [00:55:00] time advocating this and doing this and practicing it, even though its results were not didn't never helped. They just may have appeared to help similarly, this endless relentless hustle mentality of treating ourselves as if we aren't rhythmic biological creatures does the same thing.
It's just as wrong, but it's become such a cultural norm that people think, oh but that person is successful. And they do it. Yeah. That that's successful. Not because of it. There's many people who are doing that and they they are slowly dying of that practice. So what we need to do.
Take what is for many overachievers, a zero competence on rest and relaxation and go just learn from zero. People don't even know how to relax. They don't know how to, you have to say, how do I relax? How do what relaxes me? And you have to start. I made a list of 20 things. My, my wife made a list of 20 things just by being observant.
What relaxes what is good rest for us? And as you [00:56:00] construct that list, you can then design your life around this rhythmic approach to success. It's vitally important. If you want to sustain top performance or even get to the next.
Hala Taha: [00:56:10] I literally think that is my number one thing that I need to work on is my rest getting more sleep, taking more breaks, stop working 16 hours a day.
And so that the 90 minutes, 10 minute break, 90 minutes, 10 minute break. 90 minutes, 10 minute break. I think that's a great formula. Are you suggesting that's all we work in a day. Those just 90 minute chunks.
Greg McKeown: [00:56:30] I don't think so. I don't think that's necessary, but I think that if you don't prioritize a lot of people aren't prioritizing at all like that.
It's not, they don't understand the idea of prioritization. It's just, they aren't doing it. They're just on the inbox as we've talked about. And so the first thing, what I would recommend to people is that they schedule a meeting with themselves and in that meeting, You are among other things, you're making a list.
[00:57:00] I like the little formula that works well for me is six things in priority order. This is the six things that are really important to get done today. I like personally to have the first three be personal slash family and the next three be work. So it's then once you prioritize those things, I did it this morning.
I don't do it every day, but when I don't, oh, I could feel the difference. So you go through that prioritizing process in that little meeting with yourself, and then you take those three items like for work, for example, and you schedule those as well as you can. For those early morning, high productivity hours, when you are going to be the best chance you have at being in your effortless state is in those hours where you are.
You're well rested. You're at ease. You're focused on what's important, and you can do it. I just had Arthur Brooks on my podcast to what's a central podcast. And he writes a [00:58:00] column every week for the Atlantic is written 11 best-selling books. I think he's a Harvard professor, great family, man. Like he's a success story and in a lot of ways and he protects the first four hours of his work day, just absolutely for writing and research and creative work.
And so that's the idea is to protect the mornings for the creative work so that then you can utilize. The rest of the day either to rest. Yes, but also for just the other work does that, the things you're going to respond, but they don't require the same kind of attention. Again, your effort is fixed that you'll want to use your effort in the way that helps you to make the maximum progress.
The concentrated work in the morning, three things. If you possibly can identify them, work on those things and then let the afternoon time be a time for, okay. Then catch up on email, then have your phone calls, then have your podcast interviews, whatever, try and do that. Yeah.
Hala Taha: [00:58:57] I actually interviewed Daniel Pink.
I think you know him too. [00:59:00] And he says the same thing too. And after 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, that's when you're going to have a slump. Anyway, you're going to feel tired after lunch later on, you might feel creative or want to work out, but to your point, early in the morning, those first four hours super important, listen to his advice, guys.
He just gave you amazing advice. Make sure you take eight. So let's talk about the last step for results. Talk to us about what we need to think about when it comes to our results. What's the difference between linear and residual results? How can we make sure that we have more residual results in our
Greg McKeown: [00:59:31] Yeah I think this is like the hidden game-changer in an effortless hidden in the sense that it's the final third of the book, but I just, this just hit me so hard as I was researching the book. Let me share a story to put it in context, linear result is one time results. You have to put the effort in today to get the result.
A residual result is something that you've put the effort in to build a system that works [01:00:00] for you. Even if you don't do anything, it could be literally nothing or maybe just a tiny amount of maintenance, but the thing just works. And what I'm arguing that with this is that you can achieve not just 10 X as we talked before, but it will sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.
When I say it could be a hundred X or a thousand X, so let's stay on this like extreme thousand X return on effort. Jessica Jackley friend of mine goes to Africa. She's there with her then husband and team of friends. And they're trying to make a difference there. So they've got motive and they've got fixed amount of effort.
How do they approach it? They come across an entrepreneur who is themselves trapped in linear results that the, of of subsistence level she can only survive a day if she is on the road selling produce. That's the only way she can have enough food to eat herself. And for her children, if she misses a day, they don't eat.
So she has to be there every day. [01:01:00] So you've got a completely linear life. Can't get ahead. What would it take to get ahead, Jessica? It turns out $500 would be enough to be a game changer for her. Why? Because she'd be able to start constructing a system that looked like I go to the fisheries, I go to the farmers and I can actually set up a system so that I can get produce directly from them.
Add profit into mine. Into my business and suddenly just start to get a little bit ahead every day, instead of just maintaining subsistence level so that they're willing to gather $500 and give it to a helper and anything maybe it could be a loan because then we could help two people or three people attend people.
And th then they start saying what if we could create a system that would help people with micro loan so they could create systems to be able to get ahead. So it's like a systems on systems idea, and that's exactly what they did. They built a system that creates systems, they call it Kiva. And so $500 that's [01:02:00] linear.
They now have successfully had $1.3 billion worth of micro loans paid out 97% of those are repaid. So it just goes on and on. That's the difference between a linear result and a residual result? Th the difference, this is it. You can talk about being more efficient in a single project, and we should be in the way we've talked about, but the real game changer is where you can maybe get so efficient in the projects you're doing it.
You create space to start working on the systems of your life, on the systems of your business. And then it literally is almost limitless. Then once you can work on your systems, that you can have results to flow to you while you're sleeping, you can have results flow. I use sometimes the debt test.
If I died today with this result continue, and I'm really serious about wanting that, because I think, I want to leave the world not just better than I found it, so to speak, I've made a contribution but in a way that you say a hundred years from now, [01:03:00] I've long gone, but the still
benefits that are going on. I just talked to Rob Dyrdek on my podcast that I dunno, people know Rob, but I, lots of people do and I didn't expect to have my mind blown by him, but I was, he sent me a 50 page document called the rhythm of experience for his life, which is the systems that he's put in place to enable his life and his family and so on.
And he just basically lived a few years ago that he'd created one set up a system for his life. That was so dependent on him that his businesses weren't even investible from somebody came along and said, we want to invest in your business as they looked into that. Again, I know everything's dependent on you.
If you don't show up, nothing works. And he's ah, got it. So he started, he's built systems, businesses that build businesses. He just understood the shift. And now he's created these just remarkable residual results and then they're not gonna stop anytime soon. So that's what I'm talking about when we talk about
[01:04:00] effortless results is really building systems that produce results for you. And then you can go further and further up. Without again, it's not even related to burnout, it's not even related.
Hala Taha: [01:04:11] I love that. I think that is a key part of all this. How do you scale, how do you automate, how do you build systems so that you can have residual results that you're not having to spend your time on every little thing?
So you can be, taken out of the picture in terms of your time, your effort, you can basically just imagine something, build it. Let it run by itself. And then, like you said, 10 extra results. I love that. I'm personally thinking about that in my business, figuring out how can I hire a different agency to run this social media and just refer them and white label them instead of having to do it all ourselves.
So I love talking about that. So I think this was an amazing conversation. So many lessons guys, make sure you go grab his book, Essentialism and his book Effortless. Greg is amazing. So the last question we ask, all of our guests on the show is what is your [01:05:00] secret to profiting in life?
Greg McKeown: [01:05:02] What is your secret to profiting in life?
The first answer that comes to me is my wife, Anna. That is the answer to that question. I've I have very rarely made a poor decision. If we've spent time talking about it, working together she has uncommon common sense. She's really savvy, wicked smart. But she's also just deeply good. And if you want to talk about like residual results, marry the right person is serious.
Like we've heard that advice before. I'm sure all of us have, but that's seriously good advice. It's one decision that produces a thousand results and she's just like the highest trust person I've ever met. And and so she is a secret for how to profit in life.
Hala Taha: [01:05:46] Oh, that's so cute. And where can our listeners go to learn more about you and everything that
Greg McKeown: [01:05:51] One thing I would recommend is going to a centralism.com where there's a new account that I'm building specifically for residual impact. [01:06:00] It's a place where instead of okay, you have to happen to be in a keynote where I'm speaking to be able to hear things. There's a whole academy in which it's downloading more and more content all the time to it.
So as soon as people become part of that they get to access the best of of this thinking as they design their own lives, to be able to really.
Hala Taha: [01:06:16] Awesome. So I'll stick the link in the show notes for that. I'll stick the links for his book. Thank you so much, Greg really appreciated this conversation.
Greg McKeown: [01:06:23] It's my pleasure.
Thank you, Hala.
Hala Taha: [01:06:26] Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting podcast. If you loved this content, make sure you subscribe to this channel before moving on. So you always know when we drop a new episode, Greg gave us such amazing insights on how to prioritize our values and avoid burnout. And I hope you guys can learn from him and start taking effortless actions in your life.
Greg shared with us his definition of essentialism or the disciplined pursuit of less. He first came up with the idea while he was in Silicon Valley. He noticed that so many successful entrepreneurs he was working with often fell off the deep [01:07:00] end after achieving their initial goals. Most of what's been written out there is all about how to achieve success, but nothing about how to maintain it.
Once we get there, Greg says that we can't just live our life in our email inbox. We can't just get distracted by every ping and ring and let our day be guided by what people need from us. And to help people break through, we have to follow the 90% rule, which is to value and prioritize the most important parts of our life first.
And we have to determine our priorities because they are the measures for which we can tell if our life is turning out the way we actually want it to, when the things we say and do match our values, we're usually happy, satisfied, and content. So we have to make conscious effort and take the time to identify what our values are and why they are important to us.
Even when your essentials are known, a lot of people approach the essentials in the totally wrong way. If you do that, you're going to burn out. We can't be both burned out and achieve massive success. There's a quiet voice inside of us. A secret voice that [01:08:00] really knows what's essential. And let's say you happen to have a ton of essentials.
It's best to set lower and upper limits for the amount of work you're going to do towards that essential. So you can make consistent progress without having to get burned out. And also we have to try to make our essentials enjoyable so we can look forward to them. And that way the most important activities can also become the easiest activities.
Those are just some of the takeaways that I took from this episode. I'd love to hear what you think. If you want to drop five-star Apple podcast review. Let us know what you thought about this episode. And if you liked this show and you want to learn more about productivity strategies, check out episode number 105 smarter ways to work from home with Laura Vanderkam.
And if you haven't subscribed to Young And Profiting podcast, yet, please take a moment to do so you can be alerted every time we drop a new episode and go ahead, drop us a review on Apple podcasts, Castbox, PodBean, or wherever you listen to this podcast. By dropping us a review, you can help support Young And [01:09:00] Profiting in a free and effective way.
Let's give a quick shout out to one of our latest Apple podcast, reviewers Cam D’Aloia. And thank you so much, Cam. It actually putting your real name. I always ask for you guys to put your real name so I can adequately show it you out. So thank you for following directions. And the review says obsessed!
This podcast is so amazing and inspiring. This is a great lesson for young adults. I'm 22 years old and each podcast I'm able to take so much out of and use it to help me build a better feature for myself. I've gained so much knowledge to become more successful. Be where I am today without all the useful tips and stories that have been told on this podcast.
Amazing in caps. Thank you so much, Cam for this awesome review. And if you love YAP too, and if you think we're amazing and if you're obsessed as well, again, take a couple minutes to leave us review. It is the number one way to think as here on Young And Profiting podcast. And remember, you can find me on Instagram at yapwithhala or LinkedIn, just search my [01:10:00] name.
It's Hala Taha. I'm also on clubhouse and green room at halataha. Big thanks to the YAP team as always. This is Hala signing off.
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