Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Most/The Least

"What is the most I can do?" - Matthew Kelly, The Rhythm of Life

In The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly talks about the the enemy of excellence is minimalism. It does seem in many ways we spend our lives doing the least we can do.....but imagine if you will, an NFL quarterback, he didn't get that position doing the least he could get by with, he did the most.

I am as guilty as anyone of minimalism.....take for instance guitar practice, some days I look at the clock and think, what is the least amount of time I can practice......but the days when I am having fun, when I am thinking, wow I could do this all day......that is when my playing improves by leaps and bounds. But even when it is something not so pleasant, like a task at work or home that we don't really enjoy, we need to change our mindset. "What is the most I can do?"

I have found that household chores I am not particularly fond of(like cleaning ) go faster and I accomplish much more if I choose to really dig in and get the job done well. On days that I fudge and do as little as possible on something, it always comes back to bite me . I took a CPR class a few months ago, and as we partnered up, the instructor made the comment, "based on how your partner just performed CPR on the dummy, would you trust them with your life, if not
practice some more. "What is the most I can do?"

"What is the most I can do?", it all comes down to mindfulness, to being in the now.......concentrating on what you are doing now, the best you can do, the most you can do.
For a while, I painted houses for a real estate agents (those homes that maybe previous tenets and owners had not been so kind to) there was one home in particular that had been ravaged and the agent was really doubtful if I could do anything with the walls. But, after
five coats of primer (what is the most I can do?) she was amazed at how beautiful it looked.
The funny thing was, I was the second person to do the job, the first had just gone in slapped a coat of paint on some of the walls and told her that the rest was impossible. "What is the most I
can do?"

Right now, I am trying to teach this concept to Jordan, our three year old great nephew. Just like all of us, if it is something he enjoys, he's giving the most he can........and if it's picking up his toys, he tends to be a little minimalist.

Sometimes I have a yoga student, who tends to expend as little energy as possible......that is when I usually compare yoga with life......."yoga is much like your life, you get what you put into it, if you don't put much in, then you wonder why you don't get much back" "What is the most I can do?"........"what is the least I can do?" simple questions with life changing answers.


  1. I couldn't agree more Jilda. It's like hearing someone say "I'm making the best of things."...what a sorry statement. I never want to 'make the best' of something...much better to know 'it is the best', and the only way to achieve that is 'to do your best'. Win-win situation.
    Great post!

  2. Wow...that was really thought=provoking and inspiring! I tend to be a minimalist at times and you are right....where does it get you??