“More” has become the religion of the 21st century. We assume more is better in training, in eating, and in our to-do lists. Commercials convince us that buying more will make us happy, and social media highlight reels give the illusion that everyone has that one thing you need to be content. Terms like FOMO (fear of missing out) have evolved to describe the anxiety of wanting to do everything at once. Never has there been a greater need for simplification. We must embrace the idea of addition by subtraction.
Life is a series of choices, and there is an opportunity cost to each choice. All great coaches and trainers understand the importance of optimizing their time and focusing their energy on those activities that give them the most bang for the littlest buck. Dan John created the One Lift a Day Plan in an effort to “do less, but better.” Max Shank’s Ultimate Athleticism program is a masterful look at how focusing on four exercises alone will unlock your greatest potential.
It’s in this vein that I’m beginning the Essentialist Series. Each week, I’ll release a short interview with some of training’s best minds. They’ll be forced to prioritize—to choose the one option they’d use to create the most momentum. As Greg McKeown explains in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, this is what “priority” means—the “very first or prior thing.” It is singular. There is no such thing as priorities. My hope is that this series brings clarity and focus to your own personal development, while freeing you from the incessant pull to do more. As McKeown explains, Essentialism is about “discerning the vital few, from the trivial many.”
Essentialist Interview #1: Chandler Stevens
Our first interview will feature Chandler Stevens. You’ve probably had an opportunity to read some of his work here on Breaking Muscle. He has a knack for simplifying complex processes and creating depth of understanding by connecting ideas to human experience. I have personally sought his counsel many times, and am always impressed by his depth of knowledge and intuitive style.
Chandler is deeply interested in personal exploration through movement. He helps people who are passionate about the body find confidence in their practice and clarity in their vision through creative coaching in mobility and mindset. With a background in natural movement and somatic education, his work revolves around connection of body and mind, people and place. His goal is to make magic at the intersection of movement, conversation, and awareness.
Tony Robbins has said “the quality of your life is the quality of your questions.” It’s a constant process working to refine our inquiries. If there is a question you’d like me to ask, or a better way of delivering a current question, please let me know in the comments below.