Monday, November 9, 2015

Clean Up



A few months back, I wrote about the stuff that we have, the stuff that we keep, and the stuff that magically appears in our homes.  Stuff is something also known as clutter.  In thinking about it, I began to realize that all of my references were related to physical, tangible items.  Does the same also exist in our brains?  Do we have mental clutter?  I know that sometimes we can be our own worst enemies and allow “things” to come into our consciousness that can ultimately distract us, decrease our productivity and lose our personal focus.  Some thought leaders talk about being careful what you mentally intake as it could impact your actions (the old adage of garbage in, garbage out).  It is easy to refrain from watching the news (usually negative information), certain TV shows (mindless entertainment), and, it is easy enough to avoid reading gossip magazines (do we really need to know the sketchy side of celebrity lives?).

Can we keep our focus on 100% of the time?  I realistically do not think so.  Well, maybe if we lived in a bubble, but that is not the case.  We are, for the most part, a social, interactive species.  That means that we are constantly in environments that pull at our attention, provide ongoing opportunities, or, attack us with positive / negative stimulation.  Nik Wallenda, from the famous family of high wire walkers The Flying Wallendas, said, “I've trained all my life not to be distracted by distractions.”  While we can easily say, “Yeah, but he has to focus, it can cost him his life,” how different is that from focusing on achieving our own personal goals, providing for our families, or giving back to our communities?  If our relative time on this earth is short and there are many distractions in front of us, opportunities to succeed can be missed, overlooked or forgotten.  To see the chance and miss it is something we all have to live with.  Jim Rohn sums it up, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

Life is a journey to enjoy, but sometimes, we fall into the trap of spending too much time as the spectator.  Once we do that, we lose control of steering the direction we are headed.  Even if we read the books, listen to the audios and advice of others, and, generally “know better”, there are times and conditions that arise to pull our focus away.  Yes, it is easier just to sit back and enjoy the ride…I have to admit that sometimes it is easier to sit back and let others do the work.  Sometimes, it is more convenient to be the passenger and let someone else take you somewhere.  Sometimes, after many years of doing the same things repeatedly, it is easy to let someone pick up the task.  Once we cede control, we might have trouble taking the lead again.  Here’s to clearing out the distraction of mind.