Just Enough, but Not Too Much

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Best-selling author and successful blogger Tim Ferriss released a book earlier this year called The 4-Hour Body. It’s about getting the most out of your body. It covers weight loss, muscle gain, overcoming injury faster, overcoming your genes, better sex, sleep, and brain function. The key concept in this book, however, is the minimum effective dose: the least amount you need of anything to get the most results.

When most people go to the gym they work out as hard as they can for as long as they can. They feel incredible immediately after leaving the gym, but the next day is another story. They can barely move and probably won’t be able to go back to the gym and have a good workout for at least a week. When they don’t see results from incredibly hard work and pain they get disappointed and quit. If they just used the MED method of exercise they would see results faster and would not suffer nearly as much.

The minimum effective dose is best known in medicine. A doctor will prescribe the smallest amount of a medication she can while getting the desired results. There is no reason for her to give any more. In fact it might be dangerous to give more to her patient. This rule applies to medicine and it applies to almost everything else. It might actually be one of the laws of nature.

When you exercise you should work out the minimum effective amount; if you work out until you are sore you won’t be able to work out again for a while. Basically, you should work smart, not hard. When you work on a project you should only work until you stop being effective, if you work any more your results will suffer. When you write you should write concisely so as to not muddle your message. You can probably think of a lot more examples. This can apply to anything in your life.

Further Reading on the Subject:

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss (the chapter that covers this subject is actually available to read free on Gizmodo)

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Letters from a Stoic by Seneca


About Tom

I co-founded Health Now, Wealth Forever when I realized I was unhappy with where I was in life. I was overweight, unhealthy, and stuck in a business that I couldn't save. I had little hope. With our mission of helping others with the same problems, I am now in a much better place in all facets of my life. Most of my posts are about improving your diet - I think health most important. But, I also write about sustainable living, self-improvement, and occasionally improving finances. After all, one of my personal mottos is balance in everything.

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