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Some timely advice from Ryan Holiday

I get the Daily Stoic newsletter in my mailbox. Sometimes it has a gem that really hits home. Today is one of those days. The following words are all Ryan Holiday.

When we had the great Matthew McConaughey on the Daily Stoic podcast a little while back, he told us the story of how he found that balance for himself. At one point a few years ago, McConaughey realized he was doing too much—he had a production company, a music label, a foundation, his acting career, his family. The problem wasn’t that he couldn’t juggle it all. He could. The problem was, he said, “I was making B’s in five things. I wanna make A’s in three things.” So he called his lawyer and shut down the production company and the music label. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, and he had to carefully unwind the businesses to be fair to the people who’d been working hard on them, but it was the right call for his family. The incredible work he’s done as an actor since—and now his million-copy bestselling book Greenlights—is a testament to that.

As Marcus Aurelius said, when you eliminate the inessential, you get the double benefit of doing the essential stuff better. Which is why we all need to do the following exercise regularly:

Make a list of all the things you’re trying to juggle.

Pare it down to just a few.

Commit to making A’s in those few things, instead of B’s and C’s in a lot of things.

Decommit from what you never should have committed to in the first place.

Dedicate yourself to what’s actually essential.

Those five steps are a pathway to true balance and success.

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