Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More (#510)

Illustration via 99designs

“If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. And if you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have.”

— Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown) is the author of the new book Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most and a previous book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which hit The New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than a million copies. He is also a speaker and the host of the popular podcast What’s Essential.

Greg has been covered by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fast Company, Fortune, Politico, and Inc., has been interviewed by NPR, NBC, Fox, and The Steve Harvey Show, and is among the most popular bloggers for LinkedIn. He is also a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. Originally from London, England, he now resides in California with his wife, Anna, and their four children.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by UCAN endurance products powered by SuperStarch®, FreshBooks cloud-based small business accounting software, and Headspace easy-to-use app with guided meditations. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#510: Greg McKeown — The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More

This episode is brought to you by UCANI was introduced to UCAN and its unique carbohydrate SuperStarch by my good friend—and listener favorite—Dr. Peter Attia, who said there is no carb in the world like it. I have since included it in my routine, using UCAN’s powders to power my workouts, and the bars make great snacks. Extensive scientific research and clinical trials have shown that SuperStarch provides a sustained release of energy to the body without spiking blood sugar. UCAN is the ideal way to source energy from a carbohydrate without the negatives associated with fast carbs, especially sugar.  

You avoid fatigue, hunger cravings, and loss of focus. Whether you’re an athlete working on managing your fitness or you need healthy, efficient calories to get you through your day, UCAN is an elegant energy solution. My listeners can save 30% on their first UCAN order by going to and using promo code TIM.

This episode is brought to you by FreshBooks. I’ve been talking about FreshBooks—an all-in-one invoicing + payments + accounting solution—for years now. Many entrepreneurs, as well as the contractors and freelancers that I work with, use it all the time.

FreshBooks makes it super easy to track things like expenses, project time, and client info and then merge it all into great-looking invoices. FreshBooks can save users up to 200 hours a year on accounting and bookkeeping tasks. Right now FreshBooks is offering my listeners a free 30-day trial, and no credit card is required. Go to and enter “Tim Ferriss” in the “How did you hear about us?” section!

This episode is brought to you by Headspace! Headspace is your daily dose of mindfulness in the form of guided meditations in an easy-to-use app. Whatever the situation, Headspace can help you feel better. Overwhelmed? Headspace has a 3-minute SOS meditation for you. Need some help falling asleep? Headspace has wind-down sessions their members swear by. And for parents, Headspace even has morning meditations you can do with your kids. Headspace’s approach to mindfulness can reduce stress, improve sleep, boost focus, and increase your overall sense of well-being.

Go to for a FREE one-month trial with access to Headspace’s full library of meditations for every situation.

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear the last time Greg was on the show? Check out our conversation in which we discussed applying Essentialism to project hurdles, making allowances for poor planning, separating decisions from relationships, a third option when processing a “yes” or “no” response to someone’s request, what happens when we decide not to make a choice, and much more.


Connect with Greg McKeown:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most by Greg McKeownEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeownWhat’s Essential PodcastGreg McKeown — How to Master Essentialism | The Tim Ferriss Show #355How to Say “No” Gracefully and Uncommit | The Tim Ferriss Show #328M.K. Gandhi Is Forcibly Removed from a Whites-Only Train Carriage | South African History OnlineWhen Gandhi’s Salt March Rattled British Colonial Rule | HistoryThe Death of Mohandas K. Gandhi | SquaducationPhoenix Settlement and Gandhi Trail | South African History OnlineThe Listener by James Christensen | The Collection ShopA General Note About “She Will Find What Is Lost” | Brian KershisnikGreg’s Family Dancing in the Kitchen | Greg McKeown, InstagramStanding for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes by Gordon B. HinckleyTeachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley, Chapter 3: Cultivating an Attitude of Happiness and a Spirit of Optimism | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day SaintsThe 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard KochThe “Big Rocks” of Life by Dr. Stephen R. Covey | Apple SeedsTonic-Clonic Seizures | Epilepsy FoundationA Piece of String by Guy de Maupassant | East of the WebJim Dethmer — How to Shift from Victim Consciousness, Reduce Drama, Practice Candor, Be Fully Alive, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #434My Healing Journey After Childhood Abuse (Includes Extensive Resource List) | The Tim Ferriss Show #464“Sometimes It Is Entirely Appropriate to Kill a Fly with a Sledge-Hammer.” -Maj. I. L. HoldridgeLyme Disease | CDCCourage Is the Most Important Virtue, Says Writer and Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou at Convocation | Cornell ChronicleThe Conscious Leadership GroupThe Center for Nonviolent CommunicationThe Work by Byron KatieWorld’s Toughest MudderTools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim FerrissCovert Contracts: The Relationship Killer | The Inspirational LifestyleStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (Theatrical Version) | Prime VideoWhat It Feels Like to Be a Stormtrooper by Ralph Morse | Great Big StoryTiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg, PhDAn Essential Intervention with BJ Fogg | What’s Essential #10An Overview of Broaden and Build Theory | Verywell MindReal Mind Control: The 21-Day No-Complaint Experiment | Tim FerrissA Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted by Will BowenThe Fastest Way to Reach Eagle Scout: A 2-Year Timeline | ScoutSmartsEx-Apple Insider’s Blog Gets to Core | The Denver PostThe Vasa MuseumThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. CoveyBenjamin Hardy on The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals | What’s Essential #37Novus Homo | Oxford Reference


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

We begin with some thoughts on Gandhi and four words he said that neatly sum up Essentialism.On the power of symbols and a story about how they helped Greg’s family through a profoundly difficult time.What prompted Greg to write his latest book, Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most?How Effortless is like three books in one — covering effortless state, effortless action, and effortless results — and what we can learn from them.Why holding grudges and dreaming up ways to even the score when we feel wronged by others is a huge waste of time and energy, and what we might accomplish instead by spending this time and energy more constructively.Greg demonstrates how life experiences can unwittingly write scripts that hurt us more than they serve us, and I talk about what I’ve done to close the loops on my own grudges and overwhelming need to right perceived wrongs.The three questions from Byron Katie’s The Work that I ask myself when I cross paths with — and need to cope with — one of my biggest peeves: entitlement.An estimation of the wasted energy I’ve spent holding on to grudges and other useless hangups, and what Greg suggests to those of us seeking to lower our electric bill, so to speak.The real lesson of observing gratitude, and the “habit recipe” BJ Fogg uses to make gratitude actionable.The star chart game Greg and his family have used to get through pandemic lockdown together.How Greg helped his son use effortless action to accomplish a not-so-effortless goal: to become an Eagle Scout by age 14.To avoid unnecessary steps, sometimes you’ve just got to start from zero. Just ask Mike Evangelist how Steve Jobs taught him this valuable lesson.The tragedy of the Vasa and what the King of Sweden learned about making a project impossible to finish by constantly redefining what “finished” should look like.What’s the difference between effortless action and effortless results?Sometimes the right question to ask is “Who?” not “How?”A powerful example of effortless, residual results.What does Greg’s editing process look like, and is there anything that got left on the cutting room floor that was particularly difficult to omit from the final book?Greg shines a little more meaning on his previous answer to the billboard question.Parting thoughts.


Mahatma GandhiGeorge C. MarshallAlbert EinsteinJames C. ChristensenPablo PicassoAnna McKeownGordon B. HinckleyLarry KingJim DethmerBruce LeeMaya AngelouByron KatieAmelia BooneBJ FoggBarbara FredricksonWill BowenMike EvangelistSteve JobsGustav IIHenrik HybertssonHein JacobssonStephen CoveyBenjamin HardyNaval RavikantStephen L. RichardsIrene Smith Merrill RichardsJohn Covey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *