To pursue the disciplined pursuit of less, Greg McKeown says successful people use routine and ritual to focus on the essential.
Artists in all disciplines intimately understand the power of routine. In 2006, Twyla Tharp called creativity a habit in her book, The Creative Habit, and explored the power of rituals and routines to develop those habits. The description of her own creative routine was my one major take-away from the book. Every day she leaves her apartment and takes a cab to her studio where she creates dance choreography. But her habit doesn’t start in the studio, it starts when she enters the cab.
And then there is Piscasso’s discipline (below). His quote both exhorts the creator to say no, and describes the innate power that results from it. Saying no requires restraint, a virtue we ignore at our peril. In a society that constantly expects our all, our everything–every drop of physical, mental and emotional energy for all projects at hand-what would it be like to say no to the unessential, and then to walk in the world with “a feeling of strength in reserve.”
You must always work not just within but below [my italics] your means. If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way, the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve.