The Art of Letting Go – 5 Things To Say Bye-Bye To And Instantly Become Happier (And More Productive)

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Hey everyone, Kosio Angelov here, founder of High Performance Lifestyle, and welcome to another productivity-boosting training.

In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss the art of letting go – the art of giving yourself a break, letting go of certain items, consciously deciding not to worry about them, not to stress about them. Because sometimes we do, we do, we do, and we think so much about certain things that we shouldn’t, and we stress ourselves out. And the more stressed you are, the less productive you’re going to be. It makes sense: if you’re freaked out about a certain item or a certain event or you’re always in your head, you cannot be productive. You cannot be out there, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, achieving your goals.

Today, I want to give you 5 different areas, 5 different items that you can start letting go – giving yourself a break, not thinking about it, and freeing up your mind, your mental energy, your physical energy, so you can put it where it matters more: to the activities that are going to get you closer to your goals. Let’s get going.

1. Lowest Priority Items

I think everybody should let go of their lowest priority items. Sometimes, we have so much stuff on our to-do list, we keep adding to it, we keep adding to it, we keep adding to it, and then if we don’t get them all done, we freak ourselves out. And some of the things shouldn’t be done at all.

I’ll give you one of the biggest secrets to productivity: don’t do it all. You cannot do it all. You’re one person;  you have a limited amount of time and resources.

Here’s what I want you to do. Take out a piece of paper (or you can do it on your computer, or even on your smartphone) and take all the to-do lists, everything that you think you need to be doing; put it on that piece of paper. Write it down. Doesn’t matter if it’s important, if it’s big, if it’s small, if it’s taking out the trash or writing the next book. Doesn’t matter. If it’s something that you need to do, put it on that piece of paper.

Now that you have everything collected in one place, rate them. Rate them on a scale from 5 to 1, 5 being the highest priority item, 1 being the lowest priority item. Then look at your list, look at the #1s and the #2s, and decide consciously to let them go – not to do them. You don’t have to do it all.

Sometimes, if you’re freaking yourself out, if you don’t have enough time, it’s okay not to clean up your desk. It’s okay. If you don’t clean up your desk, yes, your desk is going to be messed up, but if you free up a little bit more of your mental capacity, if you free up more of your time, if you free up more of your energy, and you put it where it matters more, into some activity that’s going to bring you closer to your goals, it’s okay not to do the lowest priority items. It’s okay to have 10 emails left in your inbox. It’s absolutely okay.

Clean out your to-do list. Dump it all in one place, see which are the lowest priority items, and let them go. You don’t have to do it all. Every couple weeks, or at least monthly, do this exercise; clean out your to-do list; let go of the lowest priority items. Maybe they’re all items that are no longer valid. At the time, you were thinking “Oh my God, this is so important, I have to do it,” but then in a month, it’s not so important. These items should not be on your to-do list, should not be on your mind.

Clean them out. Decide which are the lowest priority items; let them go. Don’t worry about them. You’re going to be more productive, more happy, more successful, with more time.

Some of the lowest priority items don’t matter as much. Give yourself the permission. Let them go.

2. The Need For Perfection

I’ll give you another secret: nothing is ever going to be perfect.

You can try as much as you want, you can work as hard as anybody has ever worked; nothing is ever going to be perfect. Yes, you can always improve it and you can make it better, but you’re never going to achieve pure perfection. So don’t worry about it. You’re better off having four projects done at 80% than having one project done at 90% and worrying about the other 10. You’re going to be more productive, you’re going to get more stuff done.

And of course, there is a minimum amount of quality that you need to produce. There is a minimum level. I’m not saying go out there and just do stuff at 50%. No. Do it at 80%. But once you do it, once you achieve that certain level of quality, you don’t have to proceed with the other 10% or 20%. Tim Ferriss calls this the Minimum Effective Dose. Once you’ve achieved 80% or 85%, you don’t need to finish the other 15%. His famous example is that water boils at a certain temperature. You can keep heating it up, but the water is not going to get more boiled.

The same applies with your tasks and your to-do lists: let go of the need for perfection. Do it at 80%, at 85%; do more projects at that level, and then let the need for perfection just fade away.

3. Everything Outside Of Your Control

Let go of everything that’s outside of your control. Sometimes, we worry about stuff that there’s nothing we can do about. Maybe when you go and you dump all your to-do items on a list, you’re going to realize some of the stuff doesn’t even depend on you. Don’t worry about it.

I know it sounds logical, but sometimes we get so worked up that we forget to really think rationally and ask ourselves the question “Can I do something about it? No.” If you cannot, then let it go. There is no need for keeping stuff in your mind that there is absolutely nothing you can do about. Maybe it’s important, maybe it’s urgent, maybe it’s life-changing; but if there’s nothing you can do about it, then there’s no point in wasting any of your valuable resources, your focus, your time on it.

Let go of these outside-of-your-control items. Just don’t think about them. Ask yourself, “Can I do something about it?” If the answer is no, let it go. If the answer is yes, go ahead, do it; you’re going to achieve more. But if the answer is no, don’t think about it. It sounds rational, it sounds logical, but when you’re in the moment, when you’re all worked up, when you’re all stressed out, and you think that one thing is so important, you fail to realize “Hey, maybe it’s important, but maybe there’s nothing I can do about it.” If there isn’t, let it go.

4. The “What If”

We tend to second-guess ourselves so much, and that can really kill your productivity because it really kills your focus and your attention. You do something, and then you start second-guessing yourself: “What if I do something different? What if this is not the right decision? What if I could’ve done it a little better?” and you second-guess yourself, and that wastes your time and your focus.

Trust yourself. Trust the system. You’re awesome. You know best. You’re a person that makes good decisions. Don’t second-guess yourself. Trust yourself, trust the system – and yes, of course, sometimes you’re going to mess up. It happens. It happens to everybody. It happens to me, it happens to you, it happens to everybody around us. But out of those 100 decisions that you take and you take 2 that are wrong, you’re going to be that much more effective than if you second-guess all 100 decisions.

Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t think of “what if.” Especially, don’t go back and think about events and say, “Oh, I took the wrong decision.” You took the best decision given the amount of information you had. Because of course, now, 10 days later, or a year later, you have more information, you have more experience, so your decision is going to be different. But back then, back then when you first took that decision, that was the right decision, and you couldn’t have known better.

Don’t worry about it. Don’t ask yourself “what if” questions. Don’t second-guess yourself. You know best. Trust yourself, trust the system, trust your ability to take good decisions, and don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about the “what ifs.” There’s always going to be scenarios; you cannot predict them all. Take the best decision that you can given the amount of information and then just move on.

5. The Fear Of Failure

Sometimes we freak ourselves out so much because we’re afraid we’re going to fail. We plan and we plan and we plan, and we take so much time, so much focus, so much attention – we plan because we fear failing. And unfortunately, there is no guarantee. There is no way you can guarantee yourself. You cannot plan failure out.

You’ve got to take action. You’ve got to execute, you’ve got to put stuff to action, you’ve got to work it – and then if you fail, you have feedback. You have a data point, and now you know at least what doesn’t work. And now that you know what doesn’t work, you can make adjustments and figure out what works.

But don’t fall prey to the fear of failure. Don’t let it stop you; don’t let it prevent you from actually taking action. Don’t let it stress you out. Don’t let it keep you awake at night, thinking about “Oh my God, what if I fail? What if…?” Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t fear failure. You’re going to make mistakes. It’s okay. Allow yourself to just not think about them too much.

Over To You Now

And there you go: 5 different areas that I believe everybody should let go; 5 different areas that you can give yourself permission to not think about. Free up your mind, free up your resources, free up your energy from all this useless stressing out, because the more you stress out, the less productive you’re going to be.

I’m pretty sure you’re aware that nobody ever got more successful by worrying more, stressing out more, and freaking out more. Success is achieved through execution, through planning, through having the good mental motivation, inspiration, and the physical energy, and just going and taking action.

All of this is holding you back. All of these fears, all of this worrying about stuff, they don’t make you successful. They don’t make you productive. Officially now, I’m giving you permission to let all the small things go. Don’t worry about them. Nothing is going to happen if you don’t worry about them. You’re just going to free up more of your mind, you’re going to have more mental clarity, you’re going to be a happier person – and a happier person is a successful person.

I give you the permission to let this go, and more importantly, I hope you give yourself the permission. Give yourself permission not to think about them, not to worry about the lowest priority items, not to worry about stuff that’s not within your control.

Take action, don’t worry about small stuff, and you’re going to see how your productivity goes to the next level. Let these things go, take massive action, go make things happen, and I’ll see you next time.

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What are some other things / items / feelings / thoughts that people should learn to let go? Share in the comment section below: