34 Superb Greg Mckeown Quotes

Greg McKeown is a public speaker, business consultant, and founder and CEO of THIS, Inc. As a leadership and strategy design agency in Silicon Valley, McKeown has dedicated his professional career to helping others find more meaning and purpose in a life surrounded by success. To aid in understanding McKeown’s fundamental values, check out these great Greg McKeown quotes.

“Discern the vital few from the trivial Many.”

“Done right, a strategic intent is really one decision that makes 1,000 decisions.”

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done, it’s about how to the get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

“Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

“I think we are in a non-essentialist bubble—everything seems important—so of course nothing is.”

“I think we’ve been oversold the value of more and undersold the value of less.”


“I’d rather be honest and lose than be dishonest and win.”

“If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?”

“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”

“In a reverse pilot you test whether removing an initiative or activity will have any negative consequences.”

“It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

“Just because I was invited didn’t seem a good enough reason to attend.”

“Less but better.”

“One of the best ways to seed an opportunity is to allow someone to discover the opportunity for him- or herself.”

“Play stimulates the parts of the brain involved in both careful, logical reasoning and carefree, unbound exploration.”

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”

“Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.” ”

“Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is important this very second.”

“The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away-it can only be forgotten.”

“The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves…we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution.”

“The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.”

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple “first” things.”

“The word priority was singular for 500 years—what does priorities mean—’many many first things.'”

“Their problem is not your problem.”

“There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.”

“To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.”

“Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload.”

“We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other people’s agendas to control our lives.”

“We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice—a choice is an action. It is not just something we have but something we do.”

“We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.”

“What do I feel deeply inspired by?” and “What am I particularly talented at?” and “What meets a significant need in the world?”

“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?”

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”

Greg McKeown discusses essentialism. Having experienced success first hand, McKeown states that it can inadvertently lead to professional and personal failure. Understanding what you want and living practically will lead to a more fulfilling success in the long run.