Question: What do you call the student who graduates medical school with the lowest GPA in his class?
Minimalism is the idea that we should do as little as possible, just enough to get by. When we realize we only need a 65% to pass a class, we think “What’s the least amount of work I need to do in this class and still get a 65% in the class?” When we show up to work, we think “What’s the least I can do today without getting fired?” When we speculate about the afterlife, we ask “What’s the least I need to do on Earth in order to get into Heaven?”
Perhaps this is a bit of stretch. Maybe we don’t all think this way all the time. But many times when we discover what is required for us in order to complete something, we automatically try to figure out the way that requires the least amount of work. We settle for comfort and we settle for “good enough” so we can move on to the next thing.
The danger with minimalism is that it holds us back from achieving our true potential. I happen to believe that each one of us was destined for greatness. Each one of us has a unique gift to offer the world and a unique way to make it a better place. This can only be achieved if we can understand what, in our own life, requires our utmost attention and discover how to maximize our potential. When we settle for “good enough”, we hold ourselves back from discovering all that this world has to offer us.
It may not seem like a major issue, but think about how other people’s minimalism could interfere with your life; what if policemen tried to do the least amount of work that was required of them to find your missing daughter? What if the surgeon just wanted to do a “good enough” job performing surgery on your father’s heart? What if your attorney just tried to do the least amount of work as possible to prosecute the man who murdered your brother? Your daughter would remain missing, your father would be dead, and your brother’s murderer would be set free.
We need more people who desire to do away with minimalism in their life.
Now let’s face it, we can’t all maximize our potential for every single thing there is to life. If I gave it my all trying to understand all the rules of hockey, I’d be missing out on time I could be spending cherishing my spouse. I’m personally ok with having a “good enough” understanding of the rules of hockey because I’d rather spend time having a “best-as-possible” relationship with my spouse.
We may not always resort to putting bare minimal effort into everything we do, but too often we neglect our true potential for greatness. Life is about discovering which things are calling us to maximize our potential and then taking the time to invest ourselves in them. We can’t be perfect at everything, but we can’t settle for “good enough” for everything either.
Instead of asking “What’s the least I can do,” we should instead be asking ourselves “What would happen if I gave it as much effort as possible?”
“What would happen if I gave it all in this class?” “What would happen if I gave it all at work today?” “What would happen if I gave it all in this life on Earth?”
What are the consequences for you and for others if you keep settling for “good enough”? What possibilities are in store for you if you changed your thinking from minimalism to maximalism?
Good enough is not good enough.