I have many guiding principles on how to live life. I’ll never claim all those principles are correct. It’s my principles. There is no right or wrong way to live life. But I believe in some principles and try to stick to them.
For a long time, I’ve been trying to find a word that encapsulates the essence of my guiding principles. I found the word “Bullshit minimisation” in one of Paul Graham’s essays.
The “framework” I try to live by can be called ruthless bullshit minimisation. Emphasis on try – it’s a guide, not a rule.
What do I mean by Ruthless Bullshit Minimisation?
Ruthless bullshit minimisation is about getting rid of the things and activities that don’t add value to your life. You are the one to define this. It can be different for different people. Some things are hard to get rid of immediately.
For example, I hate commuting. If my work requires me to commute, it might not be possible to stop that on a fine morning. But nothing is stopping me from making a plan and getting a job that lets me work from home.
On the flip side, I spend an awful lot of time on things I care about, that might not make sense to someone else. Cooking, gaming, travelling, etc.
It’s about simplifying your life to focus on the things that truly matter to you. It’s not about being rude or insensitive. But about setting boundaries and prioritising your time and energy.
One way to practice ruthless bullshit minimisation is to make a list of things you never enjoy doing. This could be anything from cleaning your house to managing your finances. You can avoid them, or if it’s essential you can outsource them. So you free up your time and energy to focus on the things you enjoy and are good at. Also, keep in mind, you will have to do certain things that you don’t enjoy – that’s the nature of life.
I like to keep an aspirational list of things that would constitute a good life for me. The point is to give me a sense of direction in life. I always ask myself – is this something I care about? Do I need to spend time doing this?
This is where saying no becomes important. It’s easy to get caught up in pleasing others or taking on more than you can handle. But saying no can be liberating. The key is to make saying no easier. You don’t have to come up with elaborate excuses or reasons. A simple “I’m not interested” or “I can’t do it right now” can be enough.
If it’s not a hell yeah most often it’s a no. Do less. Do them intentionally. Live a better life.