1 Big idea to think about

  • Discernment is about seeing the difference between what appears on the surface and what is really going on underneath the surface. You can’t go through life responding to how things look on the surface. You must take time to discern what is real.

2 ways you can apply this

  • Trust what you already know – when you have a thought, trust your intuition. Don’t trust it blindly, but explore why you feel the way you feel. Often, we already know what is real, and what to do about it. 
  • Keep a discernment diary – write down thoughts or ideas you have during the day. Review it from time to time to recognize how these thoughts may have been moments of discernment. 

3 Questions to ask

  • How are things, really?
  • How can things really be?
  • What can I really do about it?

Key Moments From The Show 

  • How your body helps you discern what is important (5:37)
  • Trusting what you already know (7:54)
  • The three ideas at the heart of discernment (17:23)
  • Recognizing the inklings of discernment (19:32)
  • The role of trial and error in discernment (22:13)
  • How to apply discernment in different areas of your life (23:26)
  • The importance of deep listening in discernment (24:39)
  • A one-word change to the #1 question humans ask (32:50)
  • How discernment improves leadership (35:22)

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Greg McKeown, Anna McKeown

Greg McKeown  0:05  

Come with me on an exploration of self-discovery. On this podcast, we decipher what really matters as we unravel the chaos of day-to-day work, to learn how to build an essential life. Thank you for being here. Thank you for joining me, Greg McEwen, your host for another episode of the potter central podcast, it really is such a pleasure to be able to speak with you to have a conversation today. I can see you I’m sure as you’re going through what is almost certainly a day that’s too busy, that almost certainly has too much in it. Especially at this time of year, I could see you trying to even do this podcast in the middle of other things. And in a rare exception, I welcome that maybe you’re on a run today, maybe you’re on a walk today, maybe you’re driving somewhere or you’re cleaning up and you’re doing this to make that otherwise chore, something more of a ritual. And I don’t know, maybe it sounds ridiculous. But thank you, really, really thank you for taking the time to be part of this conversation. And the conversation that I have planned for you is on a really prescient important subject, discernment. Discernment is at the very core of what differentiates a nonessentialist from an essentialist. And by the way, I’m struggling right now, as a bit of a nonessentialist. Because there’s just so much going on, especially this time of year. And so I’ve invited Anna, my wife, and my, my most discerning thought partner, I’ve invited her here, one, to be able to help me and to help each other to be more discerning right now. But also to be able to riff a bit on this subject that so is at the core of actually figuring out what’s essential. So with that, let’s get to the show. Anna, welcome to the what’s a central podcast? How are you?


Anna McKeown  2:28  

Ah, I’m great and completely overwhelmed with life, but I’m good.


Greg McKeown  2:34  

So we come into this conversation. It’s an interesting place to be having this conversation because I think that the subject of the day, is as much for us as it is that anybody who’s listening, and I’m certainly coming into this conversation, eager for us to work through where we are, you know, and what we can do about it, because the subject of today’s podcast is to discern, to discern more so that we can do less in order that we can get better results. Whether that’s as a parent, as a spouse as a business leader, that that that item of discernment. That’s the theme. And it does seem like it has the power of relevancy for everybody at this time of year. People are bombarded with good things, end-of-year challenges with their business or their employment, end of Year celebrations, family events commitments in the community. And, and this is all just to say too much. It’s too much. Are you feeling like it’s too much for you?


Anna McKeown  3:56  

If I’m completely honest, yes. Yes. You know, this,


Greg McKeown  3:59  

I know this anything. Anything else would have been? I would have had to say something if you’d said anything else. Yeah, I would have said no, that’s absolutely and me. I am me, too.


Anna McKeown  4:12  

Yes. And yeah, I am trying to be careful about maintaining my mental health. Which, you know, we’re doing okay. I won’t give myself a 10 out of 10 No way. But uh, but I haven’t cracked so hey, you know, keep that standard high.


Greg McKeown  4:39  

But all of my mental health this week.


Anna McKeown  4:43  

There’s something you say in Effortless. Do not do more today than you can fully recover from by tomorrow. And I have not kept to that. Hmm. That’s what I know. I need to make it Change, I need to scale back, I need to reassess. 


Greg McKeown  5:03  

You remember that book, we’ve talked about it before, that the body, always keeps score. Right, the body keeps score. And the idea, I mean, of course, in that book is that trauma is, is trapped in your body. And so that there is a physical reaction to even the mental recollection of past traumatic experiences. Well, that’s maybe the main thread in the book, but not the only one. But just this idea that you can trust your body to teach you things. And that if you listen, that part of discernment is to pay attention to your body, I actually think you’re really good at that. I think you’re better at that than I am just to even be listening to your body. But the idea that your body can be teaching you, you know, that one of the great teachers of your life, because for a start, it’s a teacher that’s always with you. And the idea that it can help you Yeah, go ahead.


Anna McKeown  6:09  

Yeah, I mean, maybe maybe I’m better at listening to my body. But I think my body is actually kind of bossy. And so it makes me listen to it. I think I’ve got a real connection between how I feel about something, and the effect it has on my body. That’s, that is strong in me. And it may be considered, you know, a gift in some cases, and it can be definitely a curse, in some cases.


Greg McKeown  6:43  

Yes. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s both being, it’s paying attention. And it’s discerning what does it mean that my body’s having this reaction. And then as you’re paying more attention to that, also, then having a discerning attitude in the journey, you take in the steps that you take, you exactly could take a discerning path that that tilts you closer and closer to something that you really want to be doing, or at least, you know, further away from something that is having this effect on you. Yeah, that’s the idea right there. My bias about this is that people already know. I don’t mean that they have all the answer fully baked. And I don’t mean that every discernment that every impulse, of course, is 100%. Correct. I don’t mean that. But I do mean that there is a flow of intuition, of insight of discernment that is available to everybody, pretty much all of the time. And the question is, whether they’re paying attention, whether they’re listening, whether they’re noticing it. And so often, when I’m working with somebody, coaching them, or talking through a dilemma they’re faced with my assumption is that they already know the answer to their dilemma, they already know what to do. And it’s not that they’re, I don’t mean that they’re entirely in denial entirely lying to themselves. But that it’s, they already have the answer. But then all of these other things, jump on and make it more complicated or, or they second guess themselves, and, and that sort of thing. And most of my job is just to create enough space for them to be heard, and them to unravel all of those things to get back to the clarity they actually have had at some point. And I think that’s an important idea for discernment, you already know. And now your job is mostly to trust what you’re already discerning and not talk your way out of it. And now let’s just take a moment for an ad break. And now, back to our conversation.


Anna McKeown  9:09  

Yeah, and I mean, that’s, that’s very logical, the way that you put that, you know, not talking yourself out of it. And I think that’s so true. And I have to be aware of my external factors as well. It’s, this is so important to me, to be able to discern, it’s, it’s a top priority for me. There’s just so much going on with my family and my own life. And I want to try and be as centered as possible when I’m making decisions or, you know, having influence. I want to make sure that I’m not coming from a place that’s off center, and that I’m coming from a place of, you know, just emotion Like I’m grumpy or moody or, or fearful, or I’m tired, or I haven’t eaten, yet, I’m one of those people that if I don’t eat, it totally affects me totally affects me, Greg, you know this, and it’s kind of annoying when you ask me. Have you eaten? Because, man, half the time more than half the time? You’re the reason you’re asking is because I haven’t. And you don’t necessarily know that. But you know that my, my mood has been affected.


Greg McKeown  10:30  

It’s actually a lift, right? Yes, for sure. Yes. But it’s a little cathartic to hear you saying this.


Anna McKeown  10:37  

But go Yeah, cuz I am given the biggest eye rolls when you ask I am. It’s so annoying. And because you’re right, and I am not taking care of myself. And I have to admit that, that I’m not like, doing the basics to be able to be centered on


Greg McKeown  10:55  

sometimes you just deny it outright. You know, you have your you’re better at this now. But sometimes.


Anna McKeown  11:03  

No, I don’t deny it.


Greg McKeown  11:06  

There’s there’s no, there’s almost. There’s you right now. And then there’s you when you’re hungry.


Anna McKeown  11:14  

Yeah, but I don’t I don’t deny it. I don’t say I have eaten if I haven’t. Oh, no,


Greg McKeown  11:18  

You never say you eat and if you haven’t, but you won’t always just say yes, the reason. The reason I’m hungry is that I am hungry right now. That’s what’s going on? 


Anna McKeown  11:29  

I have to say, if I did, I would be super impressed with myself. Because who wants to admit that?


Greg McKeown  11:37  

I don’t know. Does that seem? Does that seem hard to admit? Just Is that is that? Does that feel shame worthy to you? I see nothing whatsoever bad about that. The problem isn’t being hangry. The problem is,


Anna McKeown  11:53  

Oh, it feels so weak. To me, it feels so like, I am weak, I am limited. This stupid human need of food.


Greg McKeown  12:03  

That’s where it all got mixed up and wrong. What you just said is so clear to me. Because we like it’s so wrong. Oh, I’m hungry. It’s just food. It’s just food. You know, we come into this world hungry, starving and alone. And our lives are constantly about trying to resolve those two problems. I mean, it’s cause it’s okay to be hungry. Of course, it’s okay to trust that the biology in your body could be different to somebody else’s, or that you’re more in touch with what’s going on than somebody else has with their body that you’re not being weak. You’re just being highly aware, you’re being sensitive to what is.


Anna McKeown  12:52  

I don’t I never think it’s weak for maybe, or my body’s just really bossy, but I think I think we’re revealing to issues with discernment here. Because when I don’t eat, that affects my discernment, but I obviously lack some discernment about this whole issue. 


Greg McKeown  13:11  

In general, if I could solve one thing for you, it would be this. No, yeah, I this is whenever I make you food, which I obviously don’t do enough. But you always respond really well to that, you know, as long as I’ve, as long as it’s something that’s like, healthy enough that you welcome it. But but this


Anna McKeown  13:38  

I know, can you believe I get I get cranky about what you bring me? I mean, how off is that? Right? It’s just, it’s just part of the hang? Like, how can you be bringing me cornflakes that is not going to help me?


Greg McKeown  13:50  

Yeah, that did that did reduce you. Nobody’s impressed anymore that I bring food if, if what I’m reading is,


Anna McKeown  14:03  

oh, it’s so sweet. It’s such a sweet gesture, you would get me some cornflakes. But I’m in such a place of hungriness that, and I know that that is not going to sustain me it’s not going to bring my blood. Like it’s, it might cause a temporary, you know, elevation of, of mood and blood sugar or whatever. But that’s that’s going to dip really soon after so I can I can be quite high maintenance. To be honest. I think that’s partly why I don’t always eat is because it can feel difficult to get something healthy. 


Greg McKeown  14:40  

Well, you’ve read so much about diet, too much food and it literally is too much because you’ve read so much that it makes it almost impossible. Well, if I do that, then that has this problem. But if I do this, then that has that problem. And in it. It’s another point of discernment because it’s like sometimes I mean information can be this great blessing to us. To live in an information age, but of course, there’s a point where it creates, you know, information overload, opinion overload. And, and then you don’t know what to do. You know, you can’t do you can’t eat anything without it being a problem according to somebody. 


Anna McKeown  15:18  

And so and so I do you think green screens are always okay. 


Greg McKeown  15:20  

Yeah, fair enough. Nevertheless, this doing this podcast today is worth it, just to have you say so clearly. That phrase, whatever you just said, Yes, hungriness is a challenge. Yes. It’s like that, that confession, nevermind being, you know that everybody’s listening to this right now. That, to me, is exceedingly satisfying. And but the problem, of course, is not being hangry. The hangry this is not actually the problem. It’s anything that approximates denial of it, or, you know, well, yes, that’s just weak, I can’t face that. Like, this idea is a Zen type of idea that if someone’s lost, but they know and admit they’re lost, they’re not lost anymore. Because they know what to do applies here. If somebody has hangry, and they admit that they’re hungry, then you know what to do. It’s, you know, it’s a solvable problem. But, but I think that, I think that this idea of discerning, discerning basically how things really are, how they can really be, and what we can really do about it, to get there. Those three simple sounding ideas to me are at the very heart of discernment.


Anna McKeown  16:44  

And the word that you use, and all of those that jumped out to me just now is the word real. Yes. Because, yeah, because I, you know, I, I can have a tendency to set too high of a standard and, and to feel like a failure if I don’t reach that standard. And so food can fall into that. And I’ve, I’ve been on quite a journey with this because I really wanted by, you know, to help my family be healthy. Something that I read in a book and really resonated with me was they they said, you know, if you’re eating pork rinds, is worse to be stressed about eating the pork rinds than actually eating the pork rinds. And I was like, Ah, dang it, I am. So in that second category. I am so stressed about not getting it right. You know, and, and I’m like, okay, that, Anna, that’s not healthy, you need to chill about this. And it’s a journey. You know, I don’t want to pretend that I’m like, all Zen about it. Now. It’s a journey. And but I’m, that is my that is my aspiration is to just chill about it, you know, and, and do what I can and be real about it.


Greg McKeown  18:03  

If we sort of shift a little bit from this idea of how discernment applies to specifically health, where you’ve got to try and discern the true, the real from the, from the fake. That’s also true in every area of our lives, to discern the true real answer, from the fake, even sensible answer. So when we’re trying to discern, it’s also to discern your internal voice, that intuition, over even sensible sounding ideas and thoughts from around you. I’m thinking particularly here of someone that we know, who was absolutely exhausted one day, like really tired out, understandably so. And she gets this little voice, this little prompting that said, go see a movie. And first of all, I love that because especially with everything that I’ve written and taught about being an essentialist that sounds like a nonessential idea. Well, so go see a movie what instead of spending time with the people who matter most to you, or investing in an important project for tomorrow or for the future, make it sounds nonessential.


Anna McKeown  19:36  

Well, it feels like a definite trade-off between productivity and nonproductivity.


Greg McKeown  19:40  

Right. And on the surface, yes, on the surface and, and this, but And yet, what I have learned is that when people followed those little moments, that is the way of the essentialist. I might


Anna McKeown  19:55  

even interject that if it is an odd idea. Double click on that, because the fact that it is so odd that it is out of the ordinary should catch your attention. And


Greg McKeown  20:12  

I love that. least pay attention to it. Pause on Yes. Well, in this case, she gets that thought. But because I’ll come on to so much to do, and that that can’t be the most important thing. She didn’t do it. So she didn’t go to the movie. And almost directly as a result of that, but she was telling us the story. She said, Because of that, you know, that day that night? I just like I completely just.


Anna McKeown  20:44  

Well, she got some news that night, some really upsetting news that just after a completely taxing day, pushed her over the edge, pushed her over the edge. Yeah.


Greg McKeown  20:55  

And she was sharing this. And I love that she did because it’s such a real moment. And it’s such permission for the rest of us to trust those, you know, inklings of discernment to trust that,


Anna McKeown  21:15  

Absolutely. But I have to say, the whole path of discernment is one of a lot of failure. I mean, I love that she shared that story, because she really learned something from it. If we’re not failing, we’re not learning. And discernment gives us a lot of opportunity to fail. But that is how we learn. It’s like, oh, that’s what that was, I should have listened to that. And that that’s so valuable. Because next time that prompting comes, she knows what that is.


Greg McKeown  21:46  

It makes me think of like a discernment diary. Either way, you can actually go, Okay, this is, this is what I thought today, this was the discernment that came,


Anna McKeown  21:57  

I have actually kept one of those, tell us about that. It makes a big difference in, in trying to get in tune with with discernment. And as you record it, and you evaluate it later, some things might be just kind of surface level ideas or thoughts that didn’t seem to amount to something. Although I might make the case, you just never really know, if that thing that you did. If that uncomfortable, hello, you said to a stranger might have had more impact, and you’ll just never see it.


Greg McKeown  22:28  

And now let’s just take a moment for an ad break. And now, back to our conversation. So the question is, how can this apply beyond the circumstances? We’ve applied them to? 


Anna McKeown  22:46  

How can we apply discernment to being a parent, for example, a really simple question that has surfaced in over the years with my kids is, particularly when I’m finding them difficult, or they’re really stressed, or they’re really emotional. You know, those kinds of kinds of critical moments of, or heightened moments of heightened emotion. And it’s asking myself the question, what do they need?


Greg McKeown  23:17  

Well, that’s the same idea. As we were saying before, the real from the fake for the fake can all be the surface all the junk behavior, it can be, you know, any number of behavior that a child can demonstrate. And if we react to that, to the, to the branches, have the problem the leaves, instead of just going okay, but what what really do they need what’s under the surface, what’s not obvious here, and, you know, get to the root of it. You know, that’s really important. I think that’s an a universally true principle of discernment is, don’t be conned by the surface. Recognize that often, what you see on the surface is not what’s going on underneath. And so you’ve got to pause, you know, listen to someone, listen deeply to the situation, pay more attention. I mean, I, I’ve, I’ve started doing something that that really is harder than you think. But easier than some alternative approaches. I’ve tried to do the one time restate. So of course, we’ve talked about this before. Empathic restating vital ways to get to discernment in an interpersonal communication. It can be very tough under some circumstances is the thing that somebody else is saying in the midst of an argument or heightened emotion is palpably false or is completely different to the way you see it. Or, you know, there are circumstances Is this is hard and, and just even in those moments to say, Okay, I will do a one time restate, before I jump in, that just can already change the interaction.


Anna McKeown  25:13  

Yeah, what’s been your experience with that?


Greg McKeown  25:17  

Well, my experience with it is that in order to do it once Well, you already have to do the most important part of listening. And deep listening really is just interpersonal discernment. And that that one thing is shelving your agenda, you have to put yourself aside for one moment, your own thoughts and ideas and, and, and opinions, you have to do that even to be able to restate once well. And then when when you do that, at least you haven’t made things worse. You know, you might not have solved everything that’s going on, but you haven’t escalated it. And, and so then you start to have a little bit of insight into the other person, you can sense their humanity beyond the surface. And that’s really in a lot of ways why? Empathic restating is so important because what you get more of is the humaneness in someone behind whatever they’re saying. Or what they’re saying might not even be what they believe. But if you react to that surface, they’ll feel less safe. You know, you’ll feel more aggravated in the interaction. So even a one time reset, I think can help you improve the chances have dialogue.


Anna McKeown  26:50  

Have you been doing this with?


Greg McKeown  26:58  

Oh, that’s funny. I did it today, right before this podcast. Did you? Did you? Did you even notice?


Anna McKeown  27:05  

Was it in the kitchen?


Greg McKeown  27:06  

We were in the kitchen? Yeah,


Anna McKeown  27:09  

maybe. Because I’ve actually been thinking that you’ve you’ve done this a few times, just even in the past week, maybe. Although in the kitchen is what comes to my mind. Yeah, I remember like, scenarios and emotions more than words. But it is interesting, because I think at least one of the times I was like, Oh, he’s trying to restate right, you know. But


Greg McKeown  27:35  

what’s wrong with it? Nicole? Did it. It did.


Anna McKeown  27:38  

It did deescalate it? You know what I mean? It didn’t make it worse. And I you know, and I am sure in my extremely rational place that I was not that I, you know, didn’t think you were really getting the restate right, probably, but I could see the effort and that you were like making an effort to try and understand me. And what it does is, is it it makes me have to decide maybe where I’m at in this in this emotion. Do I want to play ball as far as like really under like, communicating? Or am I just venting? Yeah, we’re just letting off steam. But yeah, that that one time restraint? 


Greg McKeown  28:26  

I’m like, I think I’ve seen you using this recently and, and curious about what it is those carry on? 


Anna McKeown  28:30  

Well, I feel like it’s it’s a good thing. It’s a good, a good effort and a good step. It doesn’t, it doesn’t mean that the communication is all of a sudden, like, centered, you know, but it is definitely a step in that direction. And it’s up to me to engage.


Greg McKeown  28:47  

Yeah, hearing it from your side of you side of things. It doesn’t feel like it’s especially satisfying. So it’s,


Anna McKeown  28:57  

you know, you have to consider where I’m at when, when you’re, you know, if you’re making that bid and my EMI rational, am I really emotional, am I super frustrated, and I just want to, you know, to not be alone and to feel heard and seen, you know, which restating does is a step toward that, you know, or am I just hangry


Greg McKeown  29:21  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s, um, it’s a it is a drop in the relationship and it’s, it’s still a moment of connection amidst what can feel like a very disconnected life. I mean, I think our I think our modern life is exceptionally isolating. I think about this a lot. That that mean, just take, take the pandemic. Take what lockdown. Did I think that one of the advantages to lockdown has been a sort of awakening to the absolute necessity of human interaction. That it’s not just a nice to have and and I mean that for not just for extroverts who of course, immediately feel that loss because so much of the energy for them comes from the interpersonal connection. But even for for introverts, when you don’t have any in person connection, there are a cost to that. And I think that the, that the costs multiple in nature and are just barely being understood now. I mean, just think about what we’re talking about discernment. And how you discern how, in a business setting how people on your team are doing, what’s really going on with them. And even before when you’re physically in person with them, people are doing a pretty good job, but putting out one image to the world when another thing is true and neath I mean, people are pretty skilled at that. And probably they need to be because there’s so many layers of truth that you don’t want to necessarily have every single person know what your deepest fear is, in this moment. I mean, I can see why layers are helpful. But when you’re in person, you can start to read body language, and you can feel the sense of them. And you can end up having a spontaneous conversation, a lot of that has been removed. And so, in fact, I’ve been thinking about a very specific skill, we can use it. So it’s a one word change to the number one question humans ask. Alright, the number one question that humans ask is, well, how are you? How are you? There you go? How are you? And the end? All I’m inviting people to do about this is ask that question. How are you? And then follow it up with the question? Right? How are you? Really, what I find in general, is that people will answer the second question. They never do almost ever, in the first time you say, how are you? Most people, in my experience, give a completely surface answer.


Anna McKeown  32:16  

Yeah, cuz it’s a surface question.


Greg McKeown  32:22  

I mean, you know, you’re not asking for 20 years, and I can’t get myself to answer that in a surface way. I don’t know. I don’t know why.


Anna McKeown  32:32  

I am. You’re like, my life’s an open book. Let me tell you, people ask me how I am.


Greg McKeown  32:35  

And I start telling them. And it’s almost every time I realize, oh, yeah, they they weren’t asking. Yeah. And now they’ve got much more than they bargained for. I become that guy. They’re like, No, don’t ask this guy how he is. And he’s gonna tell you. I don’t know, I just, I just feel like I somehow need to tell people how I really am. And so that’s why I asked the second question now is because they don’t know that they meant that the first time. How are you really, you don’t have to spend an hour on it. But if you ask people how they are really? Oh, yeah, they definitely, in my experience, they definitely give you a different answer to the first question, but if you’ll do it, what you’ll find is that, that what they show on the surface, is different than what’s really going on. And that’s that’s what discernment is all about. It’s seeing the difference between surface stuff that looks one way, you know, and and what it really is, sometimes discernment is that something on the surface seems really important. But when you discern, you know, discern the situation you find it doesn’t really matter. And sometimes the other way around something seems unimportant. But as you double click on it, you find it’s actually really important because of what it’s connected to, and, and discernments, all about that, going through life recognizing that things are not always as they seem, in fact, they’re often exactly not how they seem. And so you can’t go through life, responding to it, as it appears on the surface, because what will happen is you’ll be wrong.

Every interpersonal conversation, I’m thinking here, about leaders who rush in, who think they know what’s going on, but they haven’t taken the time to listen or understand or discern what is you know what’s real, and that they’re acting upon their surface assumptions. And then they’re going to make the wrong decisions. They’re going to take the wrong action. I mean, the term I would use for it is they’re out of touch. And so as a leader, your responsibility is to constantly be asking and listening and going beyond the surface so that you have some other approximation of what is really real for them, what’s really going on in your business, what’s really going on, you’re on in your team. And then your action is going to be much more appropriate, it’s going to be much more relevant. Of course, this idea of asking people, how are they really doesn’t mean, we have to take on ourselves, every action that we might want to do. When we hear other people talk about how they’re doing and their story, there’s a risk here that as we understand more, we feel the burden to do more. But I have found that there’s great value in just helping people to feel seen, help people to feel heard. And it’s really important to keep this this correct balance, kind of dynamic equilibrium between discerning what matters to other people, but also then coming back and discerning within us. What is my responsibility? What should I be taking on? And what can I just be aware of care about but not take responsibility for?


Anna McKeown  36:25  

Yeah, it reminds me of a quote by Anne Morrow Lindbergh from her book gift from the see. And, and she says my life cannot implement an action that demands of all the people to whom my heart responds. And that really resonates with me, I think, I think my love language is acts of service, I really actually need to look into this. I feel like everyone I know, knows their love languages. And I haven’t actually figured that out. But, um, but I think it’s acts of service. And so, you know, the things that you were just saying, Greg, about, you know, you don’t need to solve everything maybe or, or take on the responsibility when, when you are trying to reach out and connect with people and they and they have, and they share the things that they’re struggling with, I know that my impulses to try and serve in some way, you know, what can I do to help or to lift the burden a bit, or definitely within the walls of my home? I have a tendency to over serve I, you know, where it’s like, no, this, this child will benefit from figuring this out, and leaving them to it for a bit, you know, and, and I am sure that applies not just with our children, you know, with all relationships, being able to discern what we can do, and and when it’s good just to listen, when listening really is its own its own service.


Greg McKeown  37:59  

Anna McEwen. What a pleasure to have you on again, on the Watts central podcast. Thank you for being with us.


Anna McKeown  38:08  

It has been an absolute pleasure.


Greg McKeown  38:11  

So here we are, we’ve come to that moment, again, the end of the show. Thank you. As I said at the beginning, thank you for spending this time with me. And of course with Anna discernment goes to the very essence of what it means to be an essentialist. To be able to discern the vital few from the trivial many, to be able to as we’ve just been discussing, to trust, that intuition that voice, that internal sense of what really matters to believe it, instead of talking your way out of it. Discernment isn’t just being careful on what you write down on your to do list. It definitely includes that, but it’s also the spontaneous moments in between any formal planning or prioritization. And as a result of the fact that almost everything we do decide is spontaneous and isn’t the result of a very formalized process. This ongoing discernment could hardly matter more. If you have ever found any value whatsoever in the watts or central podcast, please take one minute to go and write a review of the podcast. The first 10 people to do that and to send an email with a screenshot of having done that will receive a signed copy of effortless. So go to Apple podcasts, write the review, take a screenshot send it to info at Greg Miller Que en.com That is I n fo@gregmckewn.com. And if you’re one of the first 10 people to do that, you will receive a copy in the mail. I think it might arrive before Christmas if you send it right now. Remember in everything that’s going on, take the time to discern the cause as Maxwell puts it, it’s difficult to overstate the unimportance of practically everything.

Greg McKeown


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