Driving to work the other day a I did a real “guy” thing. Some workers were cutting the grass and one of them had one of those big red lawnmowers that you stand up on; it cuts really tight corners around trees and stuff. I said, no lie, at 53 years old, “That would be a fun job!” The little boy in me lives on. Sometimes I hear an ad on Satellite Radio for cross country truck drivers needed and say to myself, “Boy the Open Road, What a life!” The grass is truly always greener…
Here’s the thing, when I give it just a few more seconds of thought, I realize the idea of spending all day, every day, on a lawnmower or in the confined cab of a semi hauling boxes of shoelaces to a K Mart somewhere is not really the way I want to live my life and I snap back into reality. Typing on my Mac isn’t such a bad way to pass the day after all.
So much of what we do every day depends upon the space we occupy, our environment. Sure, the idea of having the title of “Sales Manager” or “Stock Broker” or “Customer Service Rep” all sounds great when we are trying to get a job, but, at some point, reality settles in and you realize you have been sentenced to a cubicle, surrounded by people who irritate you and working for a boss with pointy hair. (No wait, that’s Dilbert). If you are someone who spends his time designing, writing or creating, your environment inevitably effects your work.
Our environment is important to the way we perceive life, our health, our outlook and overall view of the world. There’s a pretty good chance the guy on the lawnmower would take a spot in a cubicle in a heart beat, not vibrating all day would be a fair enough trade off. Often we get caught up in the glamor of job descriptions, missions and salary and forget that the most important choice we make might just be the world we are choosing to live in.
The other day, I realized my office had gotten a little, well, cluttered. I got out the garbage bags, the vacuum cleaner and furniture polish and I cleaned up. It is important to me, for some strange reason, to have flat surfaces in my environment without something stacked on them. I feel better already. But, our environment is more than a clean desk. It encompasses things like finance, spirituality, creativity, relationships and anything else that affects our daily life. Things tend to get cluttered and things fail to get completed, the overall effect of having an environment full of unfinished business and unsatisfactory surroundings is taxing to our very soul.
In a year I spent working in a group with my mentor, author Jack Canfield, we all made a list of our “incompletes”. You know; unfinished business. A cabinet or closet that was jammed full of stuff, a relationship issue left unresolved, a promise left unfulfilled. You’d be surprised how de-cluttering your life, on a lot of levels, frees up energy and helps you get through the day in a more positive way. Sure that closet full of crap is something you can learn to live with, but cleaning it out is remarkably liberating. Each time you walk past it, instead feeling a little bit of guilt, you feel empowered, your energy is surprisingly drained by something as silly as an uncleaned closet. If it works that way with a closet, imagine how it would feel if you worked out an old issue with one of your kids.
So, the Affluent Artist lesson today is to pick an “Incomplete” in your life and complete it. Clean out a closet, have a tough conversation, pay an overdue bill. You’ll be surprised how much difference it makes when you improve your physical or mental environment.
By the way, if you know the guy driving that lawnmower, could you ask him if I could try it for a little while?