The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Feb 21, 2017

I read a lot.  I love books and even joined a book club, which in all honesty, is more about the socializing and the wine but I digress. There are an infinite number of books available that you never have to read the same book twice in your lifetime. This, however, does not mean all the books are good, especially when it comes to business, finance, and self-help books. Trust me, there are some real ‘duds’ out there. So, when the book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown was recommended to me, I hesitated. As you can probably assume, I did give it a chance and was impressed by some great nuggets of information within it, so much so that that I thought would be interesting for those of you who are joining us on the 90-day Simplicity Challenge.

Here are a few of those nuggets:

When looking at something you want to buy, try translating it into the number of hours or days you have to work to pay for it.

When you are out and something catches your eye we generally don’t think about how much it truly costs us. We think about the instant gratification we will get but is the moments of happiness worth 6 hours of your hard-earned money? If instead of paying with cash, what if you had to pay with your time? Would you still want to buy that item if you had to work it off?

We hear personal trainers saying this all the time … “eating that doughnut you will cost you an hour of running to burn off the calories from it. Is the doughnut worth that?” Use that same mindset when you purchase something.

If you didn’t already own something, how much would you spend to buy it?

Take a look at the things around you right now. Do you use them? Do you need them? Do you still enjoy them so much that you would go out and replace it right now if it disappeared? Would it be worth X number of hours of work to re-purchase it? We tend to value things we already own more highly than they are worth and think we will enjoy things that we purchase more than we actually do.


Don't get distracted by sunk costs; the money or time you have already put into something.  Spending a lot of time and money on something doesn't make it an inherently essential activity. Are you spending money on the gym because you know you should go but in all reality, you know you won’t? Ditch the gym membership and do other physical activities that you actually enjoy.

Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.

It is really about minimalism merged with efficiency and importance. The key idea is eliminating the non-essential to make time for what is important. Focusing on what’s vital starts with choosing how to spend our time and energy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it’s considered a positive thing to take on more and more, thinking that the end result will be greater success. This isn’t the case. We buy more because we think it will make us happier. It doesn’t. We take on more work because it will make us more successful. It doesn’t.

In the book, Greg stated, “our whole society has become consumed by the undisciplined pursuit of more. The only way to overcome this problem is to change the way we think—adopt the mindset of only doing [and buying] the things that are essential.”

If you want to read the book you can buy it on Amazon for under $10 or it is free as an e-book from the Calgary Public Library.


Want to find out more ways to save or invest money more effectively? Send us an email at

- Pamela Coquet

Savanti is your no-nonsense, get it done, always got your back, tell it to you straight, make you laugh, and there if you need to cry - financial partner.

Savanti is your no-nonsense, get it done, always got your back, tell it to you straight, make you laugh, and there if you need to cry - financial partner.

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