July 29, 2017

The Retest

Most of what you know about yourself is wrong. It is worth taking a few hours to find out how wrong you are.

The ideas you have about your strengths and weaknesses are based on thinner evidence than you could ever imagine. A quality you say you have held all your life, something about yourself you’ve told people a hundred times, might be an opinion formed from a small number of episodes that occurred in your childhood. Maybe there were five stories that seemed to confirm this idea, or maybe just one or two. They happened a long time ago. You can’t remember them accurately. You’ve changed in the years since. They’re hardly enough to hang a self-image on.

July 19, 2017

Eventually We Will Get Something Done

Suspense had a moment in social media yesterday. One of the biggest catch phrases of the day was “Eventually we will get something done.” This happened after a news organization attributed this statement to a prominent U.S. political figure. I don’t know if it was an accurate verbatim quote or just a summary of a position, and it’s fair to guess that most people repeating the line hadn’t checked either, but it scarcely matters. It’s a rip-roaring statement if you take the liberty of reading it at face value — “eventually” implies that so far and on most days, we don’t have a prayer of accomplishing anything, while “we” implies the hope that someone else will step forward to do the heavy lifting.

Nothing will change, in this view, until future good luck and better circumstances finally allow action. Coming from a man who sees himself as a leader, this kind of statement is practically an abdication, and that’s where the humor in the statement lies. Imagine yourself saying something similar about your own life, though, and the humor vanishes. The feeling of waiting and waiting, while not doing anything, is all too true to life.

April 01, 2017

Clutter-Busting Alchemy

I don’t have to look around to see that there is more space in my house after the month of clutter-busting known as March of Trash. I marvel at the change as I breeze past on my way from one part of my house to another.

March 30, 2017

Clutter Spotlight #10: The New One

Here is my new cutting board. It was hand-made in Cameroon, the tag tells me. It couldn’t be clutter, could it? Not in my kitchen! I will be using it every few days.

Logically, though, if I am using the new cutting board, that means there must be an old cutting board I won’t be using. That is another paddle cutting board, made of bamboo rather than wood. After years of use, it is too ugly to show here. The old bamboo cutting board will be going in the fire. Whenever you’re happy with a new purchase, think of the old item it displaces — that might be one you are ready to get rid of.

March 29, 2017

Change Keeps Happening

Suzanne sent an update to show that she is still finding change. The photo shows $12 in dimes stacked up from the coins she rounded up this afternoon.

Change is not an accident or a fluke. Once you start the process and get in the flow, change keeps happening.

March 28, 2017

Clutter Spotlight #9: Clutter on the Ceiling

Look up. What do you see? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, chances are, it’s a ceiling, the part of the room that is most likely to go unnoticed.

March 27, 2017

Clutter Spotlight #8: Change

Suzanne is a change magnet. She is not only changing her surroundings by removing clutter, but she is finding change — coins, that is — in unexpected places as she goes along.

It’s funny to think of money as clutter, but that’s what it is when it is so disorganized you wouldn’t think of spending it. Organized into $10 rolls, the stray quarters turn into something you can do something with.

March 26, 2017