#064 – Uncommit (Essentialism Pt 14) [Podcast]

Sometimes we truly have so much to do, we don’t know which end is up. But sometimes the frenzy is self-induced.



Feeling overwhelmed is sometimes a matter of perception – if you think you have too much to do, your limbic system takes over and you can’t think creatively about alternatives.

Overscheduling is a common form of resistance because it seems so virtuous. “I want to write, I really do, but I can’t because I have all these other (less satisfying and less scary) things to do.” Overcommitting yourself is one way to keep yourself safe from the risk of noticing how you feel and what you think and trying to write about that.

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“Uncommit” Show Notes

When you’re overcommitted, you can’t possibly deliver on all the promises you’ve made. You’re going to have to bail out of or fail at some commitments, so why not bail or fail at the ones that you got talked or guilted into or that don’t truly reflect your priorities?

You have the right and the responsibility to commit to the people, things and actions that reflect your best self, your values and your sense of purpose. This is your life; you only get so many days. Why would you spend any of them doing something that is not important to you or being less than the best you can be?

In this episode, I share on the following topics:

  • The ongoing First Things Listener survey
  • Sunk-Cost Bias
  • The Endowment Effect
  • Fear of Waste
  • Admit Failure to Begin Success
  • Status Quo Bias

“Uncommit” Episode Resources

Resources on Essentialism:


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One thought on “#064 – Uncommit (Essentialism Pt 14) [Podcast]

  1. This was one of the best episodes.

    I’ve been through a lot of this thought process but not really in terms of “uncommitting”.

    An example that I like to use (comparing it to the idea of taking the $100 vacation that is probably not as promising as the $50 vacation) is a conversation I had with a TD Ameritrade advisor. I had purchased a stock and lost a lot of money on it. I told the advisor that I was struggling with whether to “cut my losses” and just get out, or stick it out and see if the price comes back up. His advice was this…”Tim, if you had the cash (what the stock was currently worth) in hand, would you buy that stock with it? Or would you put the cash towards a different investment?” The answer was easy…I would NOT buy that stock again, I would choose another.

    I’ve used the same thought process when a job change was an option. If I had no job, and had these two offers (the company I was currently employed with, and the company I was looking at moving to), which one would I choose?

    It’s been a way for me to come to a decision much more quickly and move on.