Law of Subtraction: Why you should do less to reach your goals

When we become aware of a gap between our present reality and our desired reality, our inclination is to add something. A new practice. A new program. A new effort. When that doesn’t work, we go back to the drawing board and add another thing. 

What if the answer were not to add something new but to subtract something that is not working, or not pulling its weight? 


Adding new bells and whistles to our routine can be a way of avoiding the simple-but-not easy work of changing old behaviors.

Eliminating something that’s unproductive can make what remains more impactful.

Extreme solutions can produce results faster but simple solutions will produce results that last.

When we eliminate unproductive effort, we can move towards our goals with more ease.

Lab Experiment 

If what you are doing isn’t working, instead of looking around for the next thing to add, contemplate what you could eliminate from your efforts.

Which of the things you’re currently focused on are actually distractions or low-value efforts? 

What simple-but-not-easy action could you focus on this week, if you eliminated distraction and unproductive effort?