Effortless Book Summary - Effortless Book explained in key points
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Effortless summary

Greg McKeown

Make It Easy to Get the Right Things Done

4.3 (402 ratings)
19 mins

What is Effortless about?

Effortless (2021) challenges the idea that achieving anything worthwhile means overexerting ourselves. This easy-to-follow guide breaks down how to make tasks and projects feel easy, actions we can take to maximize our efforts, and techniques for increasing outputs while keeping our inputs low.

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    summarized in 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Making things effortless starts with getting into the Effortless State, and ends in Effortless Results.

    Have you ever marveled at how top athletes make everything look easy? Think of basketball players taking shots, for example. They dribble the ball for a few seconds, bend their knees, and then flick the ball straight into the net. They make this shot over and over again, and it seems completely effortless.

    Now, there’s definitely a lot of practice involved in perfecting basketball shots. But something else that helps is getting into the right state of mind. With this approach, anything you do can look and feel effortless, too.

    The key message here is: Making things effortless starts with getting into the Effortless State, and ends in Effortless Results.

    To perform as effortlessly as a seasoned basketball player, you first need to get into the Effortless State. Here, your mind is focused and free of limiting assumptions, and your body is well-rested and full of energy. In this state, anything you attempt is a breeze.

    Achieving the Effortless State requires you to overcome mental clutter. In the same way that a powerful computer slows down when the hard drive is full, your mind also slows down when it’s packed with unhelpful patterns and assumptions. And, just as clearing the hard drive speeds up the computer, freeing your mind of negative thoughts puts you in the Effortless State.

    In the Effortless State you can take Effortless Action. This means doing less, but achieving more. Many believe that putting in more work leads to better results – but this isn’t true. After a certain point, working harder actually reduces performance, making the additional effort pointless.

    For instance, the author writes two pages in two hours – so you’d assume that doubling the time would double the output. However, a four-hour-long session results in only three pages. Economists call this phenomenon the law of diminishing returns, and, in addition to producing disappointing results, it leads to exhaustion. But with Effortless Action, you reach your goal without doing more work than necessary.

    And when you apply Effortless Action to the right activities, the results will keep rolling in. This is what it means to achieve Effortless Results, and it’s how Kiva, a crowdfunding platform, helps millions of entrepreneurs. Kiva allows anyone to lend money to entrepreneurs, and once the money is repaid, it’s lent to other entrepreneurs. So a single action produces results over and over again.

    Through the Effortless State, Effortless Actions, and Effortless Results, you can make anything easy to accomplish.

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    Best quote from Effortless

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

    —Greg McKeown
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    About the Author

    Greg McKeown is a sought-after speaker, author, strategist, and the host of the podcast What’s Essential. He’s been featured by the likes of Fast Company, the New York Times, and Fortune, and has written for Harvard Business Review. McKeown’s 2014 book, Essentialism, is a New York Times best seller, and he’s also a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum.

    Who should read Effortless?

    • Workaholics looking for a better way
    • Leaders who want their teams to work smarter
    • Students under pressure to overachieve

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