40 Top Quotes From Essentialism

In "Essentialism," Greg McKeown advocates for a fundamental shift in our mindset and approach to work and life. He challenges the prevailing notion that more is better and encourages readers to focus on what truly matters, distilling their efforts to the essential few. McKeown introduces the concept of essentialism, a disciplined pursuit of less but better—a deliberate and thoughtful process of identifying and prioritizing the vital tasks, projects, and relationships that align with our values and goals. By learning to say no to non-essential commitments and distractions, individuals can reclaim their time, energy, and focus for what truly brings value and fulfillment. Through engaging anecdotes and practical strategies, McKeown guides readers on how to eliminate the non-essential clutter that hinders productivity and happiness. "Essentialism" is a transformative read that empowers individuals to live purposefully, free from the overwhelming demands of an undiscerning world, and to channel their efforts into what is truly meaningful and impactful. (Essentialism Summary)

Essentialism Quotes

[Favorite Quote]: “We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other people’s agendas to control our lives.” (Meaning)

Free Resource: A step-by-step blueprint to realize your dreams

2. "if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”

3. “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done."

4. “Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.”

5. “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”

6. “Done is better than perfect.”

7. “What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?”

8. "Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

9. “There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.”

10. “The reality is, saying yes to any opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.”

11. “If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”

12. “We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice—a choice is an action"

13. "Technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload.”

Free Resource: Over 1000 smart goal ideas to inspire your life

14. “The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. "

15. “Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”

16. “What if society stopped telling us to buy more stuff and instead allowed us to create more space to breathe and think?"

17. “The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default."

18. "What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like?"

19. “Just because I was invited didn’t seem a good enough reason to attend.”

20. “When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless."

21. “You can do anything but not everything”

22. “A non-Essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. An Essentialist thinks almost everything is non-essential.”

23. "Less but better.”

24. “When people make their problem our problem, we aren’t helping them; we’re enabling them.”

25. “Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?” The cumulative impact of this small change in thinking can be profound.”

Free Resource: A step-by-step process for healthier social media use

26. “We need to learn the slow ‘yes’ and the quick ‘no.”

27. “The faster and busier things get, the more we need to build thinking time into our schedule"

28. "The noisier things get, the more we need to build quiet reflection spaces in which we can truly focus.”

29. “When you say yes to something nonessential, you are saying no to something essential”

30. "Remember that a clear no can be more graceful than a vague or noncommittal yes”

31. “Don’t ask, “How will I feel if I miss out on this opportunity?” but rather, “If I did not have this opportunity, how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it?”

32. "We’re scared of rocking the boat, stirring things up, burning bridges. We can’t bear the thought of disappointing someone we respect and like. None of this makes us a bad person. It’s a natural part of being human."

33. “Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

34. "Nobody likes to be bored. But by abolishing any chance of being bored we have also lost the times we used to have to think and process.”

35. “The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves."

36. “Of all forms of human motivation the most effective one is progress.”

37. “One wrong hire is far costlier than being one person short.”

38. "Instead of focusing on the efforts and resources we need to add, the Essentialist focuses on the constraints or obstacles we need to remove.”

39. “Instead of trying to accomplish it all – and all at once – and flaring out, the Essentialist starts small and celebrates progress."

40. "Instead of going for the big, flashy wins that don’t really matter, the Essentialist pursues small and simple wins in areas that are essential.”

― Quotes from the book Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Essentialism Author

Greg McKeown is a prominent voice in the fields of productivity and leadership, advocating for a minimalist approach to work and life. He emphasizes the value of essentialism, a concept centered around doing fewer things but doing them exceptionally well. In a world overwhelmed by constant distractions and information overload, McKeown's teachings encourage individuals to identify their highest priorities, eliminate non-essential tasks, and focus on what truly matters. By gracefully saying "no" to distractions and commitments that do not align with one's core values, McKeown believes that people can reclaim their time and energy for pursuits that lead to fulfillment and success. His book "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" serves as a practical guide to help people make intentional choices and allocate their resources wisely, empowering them to lead more purposeful and meaningful lives.

Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

Actualize Your Potential
Get my simplified process for realizing dreams (The exact process that enabled me to achieve 100 life goals in 10 years)
Access my Start With WHY workbook for free, designed to guide you toward your purpose and the person you are meant to become
Align With Your Why
Accelerate Your Growth
Get actionable insights, book recommendations, and wisdom you can apply — No hype, No fluff, 100% free.

Read The Art of Fully Living

There's no going back-once you embark on the journey you're meant to live, it's impossible to settle for anything less than your dreams.

Click here to learn more

Elevate Your Achievement

Learn a better and smarter approach to setting and achieving goals. It's not just about what you want to achieve, but who you must become in the process.

Click here to learn more
Take The Free Test
Discover your areas for growth in just 5 minutes. Take the FREE self-evaluation test and pinpoint where to focus your efforts

Uplevel Your Game

Elevate To Mastery

Access a 21-day roadmap that turns big goals into realities, complete with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices from the world's best minds
Elevate Society
Thanks for reading. It makes a difference. A portion of all proceeds from our online university supports thousands of entrepreneurs in the developing world via
View Impact