14. October 2022

Achieve more with Ease

In a transformational situation, it can be tempting to focus on working harder and harder to achieve your goals. However, there is a limit to this on what can be achieved this way. I find Greg McKeown’s recent book ‘Effortless’ insightful in this context. He challenges the assumption that to achieve essential progress, it always requires blood, sweat and tears. What could happen if the essential things become easier to do? What if it’s more ‘Easy does it’?

The book gives some helpful insights. Some food for thought highlights:

  1. Access your ‚Effortless State‘
    In this state, you are physically rested, emotionally unburdened, and mentally energized. How do you achieve this more often?

    – Ask yourself regularly “Is there an easier way to get to the results?” “How am I making this harder than it needs to be?“

    – Enjoy. How to make the activities more joyful? Accept that work and play can be a positive combination

    – Gratitude. Let go of emotional burdens. Focus on what you have, not what is missing.

    – Notice. Increase being present and focus on the important, ignoring the irrelevant.

  2. Do what matters with effortless action
    If you try too hard, you often get negative returns. The optimal zone is in the flow to achieve peak performance. How to do this more often?

    – If you want to make things hard, make the goal as vague as possible. Get clear and specific on what “Done” looks like instead.

    – For a big essential goal, don’t get overwhelmed. Name and focus on the first obvious step, not worrying about all the following steps.

    – Simplify. Remove steps that don’t add any value to make the process simpler. Maximise the amount of work not done.

    – Dare to try. Embrace the imperfection at the start and don’t fear initial ‘rubbish’ to then improve.

    – Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast. Set daily minimal progress targets but also maximum effort targets. Doing too much on one day reduces your output the following days. Find the sweet spot balance.


How do you balance effort vs progress? Do you also feel uncomfortable letting go of the belief that achieving always requires hard efforts? What practices do you use to find the sweet spot?

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