Hey, can I have your attention for just 3 minutes? No, you’re too distracted?
That’s why you need to read this.
Look around your environment right now- whether you’re at work, at home, or on a bus. STOP looking at this screen and do it. How cluttered is your environment?
Your answer may depend on your perception of what clutter is. We all know clutter as that messy mass of papers, clothes, toys, knick knacks, collectables, odds and ends, and even trash that typically fill a hoarder’s house or occasionally parts of our own house.
But let’s expand the definition of clutter. Clutter is that which:
- stops you from growing and creating freely.
- distracts you from your purpose.
- paralyzes you with too many choices.
- physically handicaps you from pursuing Your Something.
Now look again. Not just at your surroundings. At the current events of your life. Is your life generally crazy? Stressful? A Zen garden gone to weeds? A runaway Twitter feed?
Look deeper, into yourself. Are your thoughts always running? Is your blood pressure high? Are you on more than one medication? Are you tired all the time? Achy? Pissed off, worried, hangry, confused, etc.?
You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in company with millions who are fed up with feeling this way and getting the runaround from our bosses, our grocery stores, our media, our medical professionals.
Yes- all those things are ABSOLUTELY linked and are contributing to our clutter.
If aliens came to Earth right now and studied us (who’s to say they’re not right now?) they would have to assume that we like clutter— in fact, that we appear enchanted with it– look at the density of our cities, the overabundance of stores and merchandise, our landfills, our entertainment.
I could wax on about American entertainment- I think it illustrates perfectly that we worship clutter. And I’ll just make the disclaimer right here that I’m a member of the entertainment industry, cluttering up the planet with my own creations.
Just picking on the TV medium alone, look at TV shows like Storage Wars- Clutter is a sport. Hoarders- Clutter is a business. American Pickers- Clutter is cool. Clutter is physically choking our ability to use our homes, thanks to the rampant availability of goods, storage, and the moods of the economy (Bad economy= more hoarding. Good economy= even more hoarding).
Really, look at all TV shows; they are all just endless clones of each other. It’s distracting and it’s detracting from our time spent on things that really matter. I mean, do we really need:
Deadliest Catch (guys compete to catch crab)
Wicked Tuna (guys compete to catch tuna)
Goldrush (guys compete to find gold)
Ax Men (guys compete to fell or find logs)
Ice Road Truckers (guys compete to drive big rigs)
American Chopper (guys compete against deadlines to build motorcycles)
Million Dollar Listing New York (Realtors compete to sell NYC real estate)
Pawn Stars (pawn shop owners…. being pawn shop owners)
THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST DOING THEIR FREAKING JOBS ON TV!
So it’s dangerous, or fast-paced, and they bicker. So what.
Did you really just come home from a day of doing your own job to sit down and watch other people do theirs?
The Real Housewives of Atlanta/Orange County/Beverly Hills/ New Jersey/Insert Next City Here
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
19 Kids and Counting
THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST LIVING THEIR UNCONVENTIONAL LIVES AROUND THEIR HOUSES ON TV!
Did you really stop living your own life at home, doing Your Something, spending meaningful time with your family or friends, to watch other people living theirs?
Haven’t you also watched:
The Office (people work in a corporate office)
Parks and Rec (people work in a county office)
Outsourced (people work in an Indian call center)
Brooklyn Nine Nine, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Chicago Fire (people work in a NY or Chicago [insert institution here])
Seinfeld (people do standup comedy, work for an eclectic outdoor catalog company, and import/export/mooch, while sitting in a diner and talking about nothing)
THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST DOING THEIR FAKE JOBS AND LIVING THEIR FAKE LIVES ON TV.
….over and over and over while you watch, doing nothing with your own life for that 23 minutes. OK, Andy Samburg does totally crack me up.
You can tell that I’m not a fan of TV. But I’ve watched my share of these shows and more.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, what is more worth my time, watching someone else live their cool job/dream life, or creating mine?
While we’re at it, do you consume Environmental Clutter (we’ll get to what that is) while sitting there watching:
The Biggest Loser
No judgement here, I’m just pointing out that a lot of people do. I have! And here’s what’s dangerous about that. Regardless of what show we’re watching, some of us are adding to our clutter and physically handicapping ourselves by the food we eat and a serious lack of exercise.
Oh, that’s where this blog is going, huh?
Want to dig in and see some real clutter? You don’t need to limit yourself to the entertainment industry. The IRS recently sent me TWO separate letters postmarked in TWO separate envelopes. They arrived on the same day and the first one said exactly:
“We received your notice that your address has changed from [my old address].”
The second letter, mailed separately in a separate envelope, said:
“We received your notice that your address has changed to [my new address].”
That is your hardworking tax beans at work.
Beyond government departments, look at the structure of most American businesses- don’t believe me? You should stop reading this right now and laugh at this video.
Look at our email inboxes. Got fewer than 1,000 emails in there? Until recently, me neither. That’s clutter. Why didn’t I clear them out? Because the mental energy needed to keep up with the thousands of choices needed to do so is overwhelming. And so I did nothing about it. Immobility = Stagnation.
Clutter is anything that inhibits your growth and creativity, distracts you, paralyzes you, and physically handicaps you from doing what you really should be doing– Your Something. It includes Mental Clutter, Environmental Clutter, Emotional Clutter, and Physical Clutter. We’ll expand on those types here in this blog and learn how to vanquish them once and for all.
So now that we’ve got the true definition of clutter, in the next post we’ll look at what makes us hoard all this stuff in these various ways, so we can start to recognize our own clutter for what it is. Then we’ll be ready to work on clearing it all.
For now, comment below and share- what clutters your life?