The Less Is More Principle
In a recent post we cited Acts 6 as an example of the early church leaders’ willingness to place the good of the entire church over the good of a small special interest group. Acts 6 is also an excellent illustration of the principle “less is more.”
Out of the myriad of responsibilities the 12 Disciples had in organizing and leading the Jerusalem Church, they chose to prioritize three:
- Preaching the Word of God
- Teaching the Word of God
As a result of this prioritized focus we read where “the Word of God prospered and the number of disciples increased dramatically.”
Less Really Is More
My long time mentor and Leadership Coach taught me the value of the Less is More Principle by insisting that I reduce my priorities to no more than 3. Consistently he would ask me to identify my top 3 priorities and the top 3 priorities of the church. He would challenge me with the question, “how much time are you wasting and how much extra stress are you enduring because you’re not focused on a limited number of priorities that really move the needle?”
Initially, I resisted his attempts to impress upon me the validity of this principle. In my experience, more was more, not less is more. So, I would attempt to juggle as many as 10-12 personal priorities at any given time. I even transferred this practice to the church’s vision by leading the church and staff to develop 9 visionary objectives and dozens of goals beneath each objective. And, I found as the church grew I became busier and busier.
Every fiber of my being and every ounce of my logic told me that the only way to have more was to do more. It was only after the frustration of tracking, managing, and unsuccessfully accomplishing this many objectives and goals mounted to unsustainable levels did I relent. Ultimately, we reduced our church’s visionary objectives to three annually with 3 goals beneath each objective. Subsequently, I also applied this “principle of 3” to my personal and professional agenda, with no more than three big priorities to focus on personally and professionally at any given time.
I was amazed at not only the increase in effectiveness and efficiency I experienced (more results in less time), but the increase in energy such focus releases and the reduction in stress I felt. I was sold on the principle “less really is more.”
Ways To Apply The Less Is More Principle
There are many opportunities to apply the Less Is More Principle to your personal and professional life. Some of those include:
- Church objectives and goals
- Personal and family goals
- Daily or Weekly “to do lists”
- Annual professional-development goals
- Annual spiritual-development goals
- The number of projects, activities, or initiatives to attempt
- Three points to a presentation
Give the “Less Is More Principle” and try and I believe you will discover as I did, that narrowing your focus and concentrating on a few high potential priorities always yields better results. The road that leads to life really is narrow (Matthew 7:14).
Posted on March 19, 2019