Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
How Doing Less Gives You More | 3.3.24

How Doing Less Gives You More | 3.3.24

Less Can Be Plenty - The Sunday Edition

No transcript...

I speak truths here, well, what I know to be true in this odd and spinning brain I know nothing but, and sometimes those truths land on your shores and plant their flags and then you gather around them and wonder of them and then begin to call them truths, too. I never know if what I write will become a flag that stays, deeply planted in the sandy beaches of your days, which will be snatched up and cast back into the sea to take it somewhere, anywhere else but you. I write, and then I wonder, and I wait until Sunday comes and I’m finally shown how it will be received. Sometimes this Sunday is a week away, sometimes it is months, as once I begin writing these Signal Fire: The Sunday Editions each year, I tend to just write, and write, and write, and struggle to slow.

It’s up to you to tell me how these truths land, and last week, I heard from many of you through many channels, that what I said was a truth flag that anchored itself deeply beneath the surfaces on the shorelines you occupy. You agreed, you felt seen, and you told me this.


Last week, I spoke at great length about this massive, crushing guilt that is so often accompanied with the stillness we try to infuse into our lives. I wrote a lot of words about the cult of busyness, of accomplishment, and how it convinces us that resting, that listening to our bodies or minds is a weakness, that all hobbies should be hustles, that every moment should be filled with something akin to productivity. Nonsense, this, absolute nonsense, and so this week I wanted to discuss my thoughts, my truths, in a little bit more detail. I wanted to talk about a life of “overs” and how much beauty it steals from our lives, and maybe by discussing these overs, we can learn better how to take that much-needed rest, to appreciate that much-deserved stillness.

We have been trained over all the years we’ve come through, to not only prioritize, but celebrate a life of these overs. When I speak of overs, I speak not only of the frenzied motion and overcommitment that I wrote about last Sunday, but more, but deeper, and it’s been weighing heavy on my mind for a long time.

We are a species that creates overs in nearly every facet of our being. We overthink, we overwork, overcommit, overanalyze, overstress, and over worry. We do this because we’re so deeply knotted to what I spoke of last Sunday, this cult of constant accomplishment, this never-ending push towards more. Somehow, more became enough, and then enough became not enough, and we got lost along the way. We overdo because somehow we bought into the lie that we’ve been under doing all this time. We must have been, right? It’s the only explanation for why we don’t have what they have, why we aren’t where they are, why we cannot seem to catch up.

In come the overs, and they are heartbreaking in their ruthless efficiency, they spread and propagate faster than we would ever believe. Before we have a chance to acknowledge their appearance, they are everywhere, and I am a firm believer that so much of the angst that riddles us as a society now, is based on precisely this.

You’re going to get sick of the word over by the end of this piece, and that is ok, I have to irritate to drive the point fully home. We, as a society, as a civilization, are more anxious than we ever have been. Gallup polls have found, and this number increases steadily each year, that the world is both sadder, and more stressed than ever before. 4-5 out of every 10 adults claimed to be more worried, more stressed, and more anxious, and experience these emotions on a negative basis. Instability in so many different stratum of life is driving this, the difficulty in making enough money to pay bills, inflation sending living costs soaring, social media turning every lens at our disposable back at ourselves, only to open the door for comments from every corner of a jealous planet that alienate, that pick apart, that create self-perceived flaws in just about every aspect of ourself, from appearance to success.

How do we respond? We over. We overthink every single thing we post, and before that, everything we do, to discern if it’s worthy or not of being posted. We overwork in a desperate attempt to make enough to do the things, buy the things, be the things, we think will help us feel better. We overanalyze every single decision we make, from the foods we order, to the words we write in our bios, to the clothes we wear, all in some desperate attempt to land somewhere in the middle of acceptance and standing out too much.

We overcommit, and this is a problem I believe is at epidemic proportion. We sign ourselves, our children, up for 10,000 extracurricular events, then wonder why we never have the time to even eat dinner together. We say Yes, and Yes, and Yes, to a million social engagements, then complain when we get home and feel worn-out and sick of people, we tell others we wish we could just have a nice quiet night on the couch, but then get dressed in uncomfortable clothes and spend money on fancy cocktails at loud bars and find our way back home to get up over-early to go back to a job that overworks us and wonder at our malaise.

Overs lead to anxiety, to stress, to constant burn out, to exhaustion. Dammit, enough with the overs. We must be gentle with ourselves, we must be graceful in the face of all we are challenged by.

The first few months of this new year, I’ve really been hammering home the importance of self-importance, of self-preservation, and it’s a theme I always try to revisit at the turn of the calendar. We have to relearn everything, and I know that is so much easier said, than done. We have to relearn that what we do is enough, whatever that is, and that sometimes, less is actually plenty.

Less CAN be plenty, and it can be such a balm to the burns of worrying that what we are, what we do, is not enough. As all healthy habits, it takes time to make it one, but this one, married with the ideas I shared last week, are of chief importance. ALL the beauty in our lives is at risk of being stolen away by a life of overs, and I cannot abide it any longer. I cannot sit here, loving you all as I do, and pretend it’s ok to stay on these treadmills that lead nowhere, that offer nothing.

Share with someone on that treadmill!


There is so much waiting for us to find it, if only we’d stop with the overs, and start offering a bit less. No one will mind, no one will probably even notice, so lost in their own hamster wheel of doom and anxiety, and you will reap the benefits almost instantly.

I’m here to help you on this journey, I’m here to offer support, to remind you that we cannot be all things for all people in all aspects all the time. I’m here to be gentle when you forget how, to remind you, as many times as it takes, to aim for a bit less, then a bit less than that, and that quality is so much more important than quantity.

Do not get lost in a life of overs, do not sacrifice what is, with what could be, do not let yourself forget what we’re here to do. Please, I beg you, please.

Aim for less, and find the beauty again.

Less can be plenty,

and beauty is stolen by

a life of overs.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

Song of the Week

Start writing today. Use the button below to create your Substack and connect your publication with Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson

Start a Substack

Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Tyler Knott Gregson and his weekly "Sunday Edition" of his Signal Fire newsletter. Diving into life, poetry, relationships, sex, human nature, the universe, and all things beautiful.