3 Simple Steps to Lead a More Meaningful Life

Start Living by Design. And Not by Default.

The Main Thing

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” said Steven Covey, recognizing that the path to true significance lies through disciplined focus and determined perseverance.

And yet, the majority of us struggle to maintain this discipline in our daily lives. The pull of urgent requests and new opportunities dilute our focus and distract us from making a significant impact. We rationalize that we can do it all. And we pile further priorities and commitments on top of an already overwhelming list of responsibilities.

But reality eventually catches up. The promises and commitments become unsustainable. And by diluting our focus across a wide range of pursuits, we’ve not only sacrificed our sanity, but our ability to make a meaningful impact in any of them.

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It’s a problem that many of us struggle with — a lesson that many of us insist on continuing to relearn. Despite knowing where this road inevitably winds up, we still find ourselves pulled in too many directions — eventually disappointing everyone involved when quality versus quantity trade-offs become unavoidable.

Why? Why do we insist on relearning this same lesson, often with the same painful consequences? Because while we may recognize the issue, we haven’t implemented a system to manage it. Simply recognizing the problem isn’t enough. Or as Derek Sivers once said,

“If information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”

Live by Design or Live by Default

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default.” — Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Living by design, not by default. If there’s a better six word phrase to describe a fulfilling life, I haven’t heard it.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of drifting through our days, allowing situational demands and every new request to drive our actions. As a result we find ourselves not choosing but reacting. Not living by design, but living by default.