Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring

Subtraction Is the Foundation for Many Desirable Traits in Life


It’s in our nature to always want more. A better job, a bigger house, dessert after a large meal, and so on. It might be more sales, responsibility, or a larger office while at work. Or wanting more RAM on our laptop, songs in our playlist, or parties this month.

Subtraction – taking things away – does not come naturally to us. Focus, discipline, clarity, and endurance all require it. These traits are ones we aspire to but find difficult at times to master.

When writing, I use the basic version of Grammarly to check for spelling, commas, and missing words. It also highlights phrases the software feels could be written better but I need to pay to see its recommendations. So without paying, I make it into a game where I rewrite the highlighted phrases until the highlight disappears. 80% of the time by taking words out of the sentence, the highlight disappears. With fewer words comes greater clarity.

Focus, discipline, and endurance all gain their strength through subtraction. To focus you must eliminate distraction. Taking things out of your day that steal your attention.

Discipline implies an adherence to important things you must do consistently. Subtracting things from your day gives you a better chance of consistently repeating what needs to be done. Discipline is a specialized focus that is always admired but difficult to do ourselves.

Endurance is another specialized form of focus. Conserving your strength for a task implies not wasting energy on more frivolous things. To do this you must cut them out of your day through subtraction to have the strength to endure.

What is so interesting, is we are taught addition and subtraction very early in school yet never associate them with our lives beyond school. Making it counter-intuitive to understand that our effectiveness and impact rely more on subtraction than anything we can add easily to our lives on a daily basis.

Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring


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