Optimalism: The Ism That Will Change Your Life

There are a lot of “isms” floating around lately: minimalism, socialism, activism, pessimism… the list goes on. So a few months back I started searching for my own “ism” that could put a name to the path I’ve been trying to follow and quantify for a while now. Just this last week months of research, brainstorming and discussing have come together to produce the ISM that I will, from now on, hold near and dear to my heart. It is:

Optimalism

When typed into Google (with quotations) it gives you this “orphan” definition from Wikipedia which says something about it being a “healthy form of perfectionism”… but in my humble opinion, that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

There is also an excellent article by Steve Pavlina on optimal thinking based on the book written on the topic by Dr. Rosalene Glickman. The idea of optimal thinking is a part of the core theory of the Optimalism I’m talking about. So if you’re interested in an ISM that has the power to change your life and business completely, give me a few minutes of your time and let me explain what the flag I’m sticking in the ground of the term Optimalism and claiming is all about.

I’ll start by explaining the theories that have gone into this loaded term…


The 80/20 Principle: The concept that 20% of the effort leads to 80% of the result. I’ve always loved this concept ever since I first heard about Pareto’s Principle from the guys at IBMA.

Delegation: This is something near and dear to my heart, especially since my business is based on the concepts of delegating tasks to virtual assistants. Delegation is what you do with tasks that don’t desperately need your attention, things that others could do better and in doing them free up your time to pursue what you’re best at.

Consolidation: Recently I got rid of my camera, iPad (hated it) and flip cam and rolled everything up into one iPhone and one MacBook. My backpack got lighter and my thinking got clearer just knowing that I physically had less stuff. I swear I was more creative afterward the “purge” as well. Why if you can do 5 things with 1 item – would you own 5? It just doesn’t make sense…  that’s why consolidation in our era of technology is essential.

Minimalism: It’s the idea of pairing down to the essentials and not junking up your life up with excess “stuff” albeit mental, physical or even emotional. It’s a great way to live – but I think minimalism is just the first building blocks of a new and inspiring way of life.

Pulley Systems: “Pulley systems allow one to lift heavy loads using forces much smaller than the weight of the load”(reference)

Optimalism asks you to take the best path, aim for the maximum outcome and use the minimal amount of effort.

It’s quite an easy concept to understand and to replicate in one’s life and business too. I’ve been integrating the idea of a “pulley” in my business and have noticed amazing results… I just ask myself “What would a pulley do?”. This was the last piece to fall together in my  understanding of optimalism.

What is Optimalism

The working definition I coined and will be using is as follows:

Pursuing the best course of action, that gets maximum output from minimal input, to achieve optimal results.

That’s my own definition, but I hope it’s one that sticks and grows as the concept of optimalism blossoms. Just think about the ramifications following this type of philosophy will have on your life and business?

Instead of thinking about “how can I do X” or “what should we do with Y” you’re thinking would go something like this:

  1. Ascertain the BEST course of action
  2. Ascertain how you can get the maximum results for the smallest amount of effort (think: pulley, delegation, 80/20)

This formula literally can be applied to everything from your morning routine to creating a profitable business model. Whether you’re wondering how to look the best for your body shape or how to tackle a particular problem in your startup – being an Optimalist will help you succeed better, faster and with more savvy than before.

Don’t be Anything but the Best

The other day I heard how a big, corporate executive that brought back a major brand from the abyss did it (unfortunately I don’t remember his name)… he told this mammoth company that if they couldn’t be n. 1 or 2 in any market, they were to pull out, liquidate assets and focus all their energy on the fewer markets they could dominate.

This really hit home with me… This company was a massive, billion dollar baby and they weren’t happy w/ being anything but first or second in a particular vertical. So as small, lean startups I think we shouldn’t be happy in any spot in a particular, niche market other than number 1.

It’s how me and my partner are going to run Virtual Zeta and how we’ll eventually run Zirtual (once we have enough profit margin to bootstrap the back end). It’s also how I’m going to run my life… There just aren’t enough hours in the day to not try to be the absolute best at what you do.

Optimalism goes hand in hand with the idea of being the best you can be and of choosing the best path, every time.

Don’t Muddy the Waters

Delegation, consolidation and the pulley system (mentally and physically) are essential to leading an “optimal” life as well. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the 80% of crap that doesn’t matter – but has to be done (think: bill paying, research for a blog post or searching queries on HARO) – done.

But there is 20% of your work that is essential to you being successful and becoming the best – focus on that 20% with a rigid intensity and delegate anything and everything else.

This is one of the main reasons I started a virtual assistant business. Focus on that 20%, leave everything else to others.

If It Resonates…

I hope, so much, that this all makes sense – if it doesn’t than I’ll knock it up to one of my “rambling” posts and will clarify my vision for Optimalism better in the future. If it does make sense and speak to you in any way PLEASE let me know 🙂 We’ll be like kindred spirits – but it is a concept I will be spending a lot of time looking into and exploring as I continue to focus this blog around the idea of building a very lean, insanely profitable business that will change your life and shift your destiny – forever.

Just Remember… Optimalism is:

Pursuing the best course of action, that gets maximum output from minimal input, to achieve optimal results.

  1. Ascertain the BEST course of action
  2. Ascertain how you can get the maximum results for the smallest amount of effort (think: pulley, delegation, 80/20)