This time of year, many people decide to give things up for Lent, choosing to eliminate a vice from your life for the Lenten period with the hope that you will continue not doing that vice even after holy week is past. Well, that’s not where I’m coming from on this question. It’s not that I don’t support the idea of Lent – just not what I was thinking of when I posed this question. The perspective that I’m coming from is: what are you going to give up to make room for the new things you want to be doing with your life? We people are impulsive types sometimes – we decide we want to do something and then we just go and do it. I think it’s great that we’re like that- there’s nothing better than just marching forward when we decide to do something. The problem that we run into is that we are just plain lousy as cleaning stuff out of our lives to make room for the new stuff that we just keep piling on. It’s not just activities. I have so many items that I used to work with that I haven’t touched for years. I intend to get back to those things some day but when I’m being honest with myself, I recognize I probably never will. It’s just clutter. I went to so much effort to collect those items that were so important to me at the time, I just can’t bring myself to just get rid of them by tossing them or selling them for so little in a garage sale (and here in Minnesota there’s typically at least four months of weather that’s good enough for garage sales). I’ve gotten rid of a lot of crap (yes, that’s what it is, I admit it) but there’s still plenty to go. And the stuff (or crap!) is the easy part; it’s the activities that seem to be harder to give up.
With the activities, I have people expecting me to participate. I can’t let them down by choosing to not do them anymore. What would they think of me? If something that used to be fun is no longer fun anymore then you either need to find a way to invigorate yourself or you need to just quit doing it. The re-invigorating is pretty unlikely because your passion has probably run its course but quitting is so much harder to do because it affects others. In the business world, it’s called ‘zero-based thinking’. You evaluate your company and determine where the day-to-day energy is being focused. If there are aspects of your business that you wouldn’t get into today (knowing what you now know [KWINK]), you need to figure out how to get out of those areas of your business. It may seem like you’re giving up more than what you are getting when you get rid of it but if it’s not something you want to be doing, you need to just dump it. The value in that decision is that it frees up resources to do the things that you really want to do – the things that really give you more value.
It’s really no different with the evaluation of your personal life. Trying to move ahead by taking on new high-value activities is a terrific idea that we all should be doing but to have the (personal) resources that you need to put toward your new interests, you need to clean out your ‘crap’ activities. By the way, my acronym for CRAP is “continued resistance against progress” and in this case, that’s exactly what it offers, so get rid of it.
I am often amazed at how much some people are able to accomplish in their lives. I used to wonder how they can get so much done when many of the rest of us seem to be spinning our wheels. I think I’ve found one of the keys on how these folks are able to accomplish so much. They keep cleaning out what they don’t need any more to make room for the powerful dreams that are pulling them forward. It’s possible to do so many things in a life time but you can’t do all those things at once. Remember, instead of just looking ahead to the interesting things that are pulling you forward, look behind you and cut loose the unnecessary baggage holding you back. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you will be moving towards your dreams.