The power of subtraction


Our instinct is to want more.

More clients.
More friends.
More trips.
More subscribers.
More dessert.
More outbound phone calls.
More square feet.
More comments on our LinkedIn posts.
More good habits.

And there is nothing wrong with wanting more good things.

The problem is that our instinct when solving problems is to do more of something.

This study in Nature found that “people systematically default to searching for additive transformations, and consequently overlook subtractive transformations” and therefore “defaulting to searches for additive changes may be one reason that people struggle to mitigate overburdened schedules, institutional red tape, and damaging effects on the planet.”

Subtraction frees up resources, provides space, clears the field.