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Fuel Your Mind Friday

Improving Life Through Subtraction

Published about 2 months ago • 2 min read

Week 386 (brendan@brendanbarca.com)

Here's your weekly dose of Fuel Your Mind Friday where I share business building ideas, lifestyle design hacks, and inspirational content to help you thrive in your work and find purpose in your life.

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PSA: My wife, Pema Sherpa, and I have another blog called The Mindful Minute! Check it out.

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IMPROVING LIFE THROUGH SUBTRACTION

"Life can be improved by adding, or by subtracting. The world pushes you to add, because that benefits them. But the secret is to focus on subtracting." - Derek Sivers

For years, I tried to optimize my life by adding to it — more activities, more social engagements, more exciting projects. They were all things I wanted to do. And I thought that by adding more good stuff into my life that my life would get better.

But what happens when you pour too much coffee into a cup? If you fill it to the brim, it’s a pain to drink. You might even spill some on yourself. And if you keep adding coffee, it overflows. Now there’s coffee everywhere. No one’s having fun anymore. By adding too much, you turned a good thing into a bad thing.

Like making a good cup of coffee, optimizing our life isn’t always about adding more to it. We too can overflow. In fact, most of us are probably filled to the brim already.

So, how do we get our cup back down to a drinkable (and more enjoyable) level? We pour out the excess. We start subtracting. We identify and remove the things that are bringing us down — the engagements that are zapping our energy, the activities that are robbing us of our time, and the people that are creating negative emotions in us.

Here are three questions you can ask yourself to start improving your life through subtraction:

  1. What activities, habits, or people in my life are draining me of energy?
  2. What parts of my life am I spending too much time on that don't produce enough ROL (Return on Life)?
  3. What activities in my day produce negative emotions in me like anger, anxiety, stress, jealousy, greed, or pride?


Once you've identified the activities, habits, and people that are draining your energy, robbing your time, and producing undesirable emotions, you can ask yourself — Which of these can I start to subtract from my life? How would I feel if these things were out of my life completely? What can I do to begin the subtraction process?

Making a good cup of coffee isn't about adding more coffee. It's about having the right ingredients. If you have too much coffee in your cup, figure out how you can pour some out. Less water. Less milk. Better coffee.

Like your morning brew, we should first look to optimize our life through subtraction — not addition.


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- Brendan

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brendanbarca.com

Don't miss our newest creation, The Mindful Minute -> Check it out here!

Fuel Your Mind Friday

Brendan Barca - Entrepreneur | Speaker | Blogger

Helping busy professionals create space through mindfulness, level-up their mindset & design a life with purpose.

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