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The One thing of Everything


Feedback, I have come to learn, is a powerful skill. It can literally change the trajectory of someone’s life. It did. Mine.

Sylvester, our chief ope…actually, if you still don’t know who he is, best you read the previous blog. Back to Sylvester, who I will call the AAT Process and Structuring Initiating Implementator (yes, ok fine, I simplified his title slightly), gave me feedback after reading my first 3 blogs:

“Can they be 5 minutes?”

That struck deep. My middlename (apart from Propsel and Gatvlieg) is detail. With detail comes complicated,everything” and most often confusion. The worst part: he hadn’t even seen the next post I had written (finished, klaar, esiphelele) which was the LONGEST… 8 min. My reaction:

My deer- in- the- headlight eyes suddenly turned inwards. I had been here before, I realised. Years ago. With Marie Kondo and Fumio Sasaki learning how to effectively organise everything in my apartment and discard, The One Thing by Gary Keller and Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Greg describes essentialism as: the disciplined pursuit for less. “Less” might sound like scarcity. But, it’s not. In fact, it is so much more.

As I stood in front of my bookshelf, reminiscing these good old friends, collecting dust, but at least beautifully displayed for everyone to see how interesting I am (note: please read with a hint of sarcasm), all of a sudden I was struck by the realisation that I had not read most of the books (maybe 500 if I had to thumb suck…I counted up to 300 the other night and decided to stop as my anxiety was shooting through the roof as the shame set in and I hadn’t even started with the upstairs’ shelves.)

The BIG take- away: only a handful have really made a difference in my life. Of course taking into consideration I read them. But there were even ones I had read, that were just sitting there staring at me. Their reaction:

And so my journey started back into essentialism. What is my essence? What matters most? The external and most importantly the internal. This is what we call development. Why do we integrate material in a learnership? To make it less so that the learner can get to the essence…what he or she will actually use and need to take action.

Wisdom is the merging of knowledge and action. But what is the use of doing everything if you can’t do one thing, the most important thing, properly? Running around like headless chickens, not realising your mind has left the building. You have lost meaning, connection, your why.

I can proudly confess that since that daunting: “Can they be 5 min?”, two weeks later, I have filled 6 crates with books to sell or donate, given away numerous items that were just staring at me, wondering if they would ever be used and enjoyed (I like characterizing things… and sometimes humans), consulted a friend about living space optimization for work and delved into the research on focus, revisiting essentialism, minimalism and asking my why about every single thing.

As the journey unfolds, I am learning, essentialism is really about my internal world: which reflects my values and beliefs and in turn shows up in my external world and my work value.

And what I was reminded of again was that everything is circular. We begin a journey. We walk (or sprint) the path and often find ourselves back at the beginning. And that is our invitation to reflect, refine and begin again.


The Beginner’s Mind with the Master’s Skills.

Now it’s your turn. Ask yourself: What is my scent. My essence. Get creative. You might just surprise yourself.

P.S Thank you Sylvester



Essentialism, Greg McKeown, 2014

The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying, Marie Kondo, 2011

The One Thing, Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, 2012

Goodbye, things, Fumio Sasaki, 2015

Study Notes, Joseph Rodrigues, YouTube (Notes on the following books):

Ikigai, Héctor García & Francesc Miralles :

Focus, Daniel Goleman:

The One Thing, Gary Keller:

Essentialism, Greg McKeown:

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