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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ADAM OLSEN -- Adding quality by subtracting quantity

There is only so much capacity to take on
things, and less capacity if the expectation
is to do those things well

I just finished Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism.

I have a habit of taking on many priorities and need to learn and practice the art of doing less better. It’s a mantra repeated through the book and it’s good advice. McKeown points to the teaching of Lao Tzu - “to attain knowledge add things everyday to attain wisdom subtract things everyday.”

I was first introduced to Taoist teachings in the early 2000’s in a philosophy of religion course at Camosun College. Tasked with researching and presenting my findings to the rest of the class, what I learned about taoism continues to deeply influence my life and work today.

In politics there are so many issues.

Everyday I get emails from people strongly suggesting I need a louder voice, a more robust response, or who are desperately seeking my assistance. There is always another thing to add to the list.

Indeed, it’s a long list (and growing each day.)

There is only so much capacity to take on things. There is even less capacity if the expectation is to do those things well.

It’s still unclear to me exactly how these important ideas materialize in my life, however, I imagine success will have something to do with that key word in the previous paragraph ...

... setting and managing expectations, including the (sometimes) insurmountable expectations I have for myself ... clearly identifying the expectations I have of others ... and respectfully setting boundaries for the expectation’s others have of me.

Adam Olsen is the Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Saanich North and the Islands, and currently the interim leader for the BC Green Party.


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