I’ve broken lots of ‘rules’.

I’ve not stuck to one job since leaving school. I’m paring down my possessions to only my most loved / most useful / most used. I don’t go shopping for the sake of shopping…

I’ve trained, retrained, started a business, stopped a business, started another one, trained again, had numerous jobs and contracts…

I’ve followed passions. I’ve read books and watched movies when work deadlines were looming. I’ve walked kilometres just for the hell of it. I’ve left the house to dance without doing the dishes first. I rarely make my bed in the morning…

Hardly the poster-child of obedience!

In his post “Confusing obedience with self-control” Seth Godin points out the danger of being obedient:

“We organize our schools around obedience. Tests, comportment, the very structure of the day is about training young people to follow instructions.

We organize our companies around obedience as well. From the resume we use to hire to the training programs to the annual budgets, revenue targets and reviews we create, the model employee is someone who does what he’s told.”

I don’t believe I’m the most self-controlled person around (especially when it comes to potato chips and chocolate!) but I’m doing my best to be more aware of when I’m unconsciously obedient, when it may not actually be beneficial to me.

According to Seth,

“Self-control is without a doubt one of the building blocks of success, a key element of any career worth talking about. We need self-control if we’re going to make a difference.”

Is self-control the difference between doing what’s important instead of just the urgent?

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Each time I scoot through the supermarket checkout the staff member behind the till asks me “So are you having a busy day?”.

This puzzles me. Why has this question become a stock-standard rapport-building, time-of-day-passing, anything-but-the-weather topic?

When did ‘being busy’ become a marker for a successful day? An important day? A day well lived?

I don’t actually want to be busy.

I want to be cruisy, yet productive.

Hmmm… on second thoughts, some days don’t even need to be productive. Unless I include relaxation, mental health, contentment and peace into the ‘productive’ category.

How about you? Are you busy?

Dust. <sniffle, wheeze, blink>

Boxes sitting stored in an unused room gather dust. <a-a-chooo!>

Dust gets up my nose so sniffling and sneezing all Sunday – the after effects are still continuing today – was the price I paid for sorting through all my stored possessions.

Was it fun? Mostly – a really nice trip down memory lane with items I had forgotten I owned.

Was it challenging? Yes – overcoming the feeling of “But I might need this again one day!” was at times difficult. Add to that the emotional attachments of “Awwww, but so-and-so gave me this!” and it was quite the head-spin exercise.

Was it releasing? Yup – to create three rather large piles of a) rubbish, b) recycling, and c) sell/give away, was uplifting. And to re-stack the boxes into an orderly pile again was pat-on-the-back worthy. Sure, there are still archive boxes which need sifting through, but they can wait for a rainy day.

At least I now know what I have. It’s strange to list my items of furniture on two hands though!

1. Super-comfy bed (I LOVE my mattress)

2. Bedside cabinets x 2 (Dad is using one in his room at present and I have managed previously without them)

3. Rimu TV cabinet (I don’t have a TV, but this can double as a bookcase. Again, could manage without it)

4. Computer desk (very un-emotionally-attached)

5. Office chair (it’s old – would love a more comfy one)

6. Rimu sea chest (full of photos, souvenirs and family memorabilia)

7. Two-seater sofa (which desperately needs recovering: 80’s floral pattern, ick!)

8. Electric piano + stand + stool (my pride and joy and greatly missed over the past year)

9. Black ‘executive’ recliner chair and footstool (practical, but not loved)

That’s it. Once a rimu table/chairs are finally sold, along with a big rimu bookcase, I will be able to fit all my possessions in a horse-float type furniture trailer.

No fridge, no microwave, no washing machine, no dryer, no car, no drawers, no stereo, no ‘spare’ anything.

Feels good. A feeling I’m not sneezing at… 🙂

I’m about to wade into a big reorganise, purge and pass-on of my possessions in storage.

All day tomorrow I will be opening boxes, inspecting the contents, bundling like with like (things got a bit mixed up in the earthquakes) and asking myself three questions:

  • Do I love this item?
  • Am I likely to use this item soon?
  • Could this item be passed on to anyone else, for free or $$?

This could be a fascinating exercise…

Wish me luck!

How many possessions do you have that were given to you by someone else, and you wish they hadn’t?

They had the best of intentions – they wanted to say ‘thank you’ or to show they care about me or to fill a perceived need. And now I’m stuck with an item that I don’t either a) use or b) love.

Am I really stuck with it? What’s getting in the way of me passing it on to someone else?

Fear.

Fear that I might actually need it one day.

Fear that the giver might ask about the item. Could I truthfully tell them I no longer had it?

Fear that I will be seen as ungrateful.

Fear that I might hurt their feelings.

As good as this post is by ‘The Minimalists’ (Getting Rid of Gifts) the 75 comments by readers are the most interesting. It seems I’m not alone in wanting to find a way to keep my physical footprint small whilst still allowing people to ‘give’ to me, and me to them.

Roll on the Christmas experiment…  😉

Answer me this: what percentage of secondary school students do you believe are bored by their weekday routine?

  • If students are bored, they’re unmotivated to be in class.
  • If they’re unmotivated to be in class, they will never rush to get out of bed and into their day.
  • If they’re uninspired by their day, will they enthusiastically follow their passion?
  • And if they don’t follow their passion, are they destined to hate their eventual employment, joining the burgeoning mass of ‘I would rather be anywhere than here’ workers?

Seth Godin raises a great question in this post:

“Here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?”

…and he finishes with:

“The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?”

What do you reckon? Is a no-longer-relevant system (with an output of ‘bored kids’) a contributing factor for tagging, shoplifting, unemployment, suicide, violence…?

What will it take for the system to change?

Life is full of surprises.

Do you plan for them?

This blog post is a short, sharp reminder that “because we are always changing, and the world is always changing, our plans will always change.”

I heard someone recently say that business plans should really be renamed ‘business guesses’.

I like that.