“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success — or are they holding you back?” — W. Clement Stone
“Damn… I can’t find my shit…” — — those were the words that came out of my mouth as I looked at my dresser over the weekend. Piles of hair accessories, candles, hygiene products, clothes, pictures of my family and friends… the worst was the feeling of frustration and unhappiness that resonated with me as I looked at this mess.
I looked around our master bedroom and saw the many piles of items that were laying around. My husband laughs at the piles that I’ve created. They remind me of molehills. My excuse has always been “I just live a really busy life and don’t have time to put these things away right now. Trust me, I will put them away soon. I just need to donate a bunch of things.”
Something about the lingering frustration and unhappiness prompted me to reevaluate my environment… My first task? CLEANING MY DAMN DRESSER. My end goal? TO FEEL HAPPY ABOUT SAID DRESSER. One by one I took off all the items and noticed the dust that had accumulated. In the middle of the dresser was an obnoxious rack that held my earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. I never felt completely happy with it and I had the same feeling towards the other items on that dresser. I was tired of making excuses about my environment and recognized the correlation of my messy environment and my unorganized mind.
How did I envision my environment? Organized, simple, promoting relaxation, somewhat sentimental.
Although I do not have a before picture of my dresser (you are lucky that I spared you the mess because I’m sure you would not want to be friends with me after seeing that picture), this was my end result…
You must be saying to yourself “WHOOPDEEDOO! So she cleaned her dresser… no big deal!” I would like to add that this task prompted me to evaluate more things in my home. By Sunday evening, I had donated 3 bags of clothing/accessories/shoes to Goodwill, simplified my bathroom counter, threw out expired medication, threw out expired makeup, cleaned out my kitchen… so you can imagine that I was on a clutter-free streak.
I am not 100% clutter free (and I don’t think I will ever be). HOWEVER, if you can learn anything from my story, let this be the main take away: TO MINIMIZE YOUR BELONGINGS IS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SPACE.
Being an artist, I share with you all that many artists are notorious (and I mean NO-TO-RI-OUS!!!) for being creatives that tend to have a lot of ideas that create in an environment that appears “all over the place” but functions well for that person. Personally, I don’t find anything wrong with that because you want to have space to create organically. But why is it that we strive to make this “messy productiveness” a great measure of productivity when “messy” can be translated as unorganized thus causing us to waste precious time that could be used towards a project?
I love people but I will admit that I have participated in work meetings/rehearsals/etc. and have thought that all that was said could have been condensed into a simple idea in a form of a simple email or a quick 5-minute spiel. Be observant. After a long-winded work meeting, notice the faces and energy of those that were there. Are they relieved? Excited? Burnt out? How much of this is due to their environment?
In my last article [insert link], I emphasized the importance of becoming familiar with your own awareness and preferences. Now here is your chance to be in tune with your environment. Emotions are a strong indicator of your surroundings. To feel invigorated, inspired, calm, excited, mad, unsettled… those are all natural reactions to your environment. Remember that you have a choice to re-evaluate, modify, and change things if needed.
Here is a simple exercise to guide you through this change:
On a piece of paper, answer the following questions — –
What words come to mind when you think of your ideal environment?
What type of feelings would you like to experience when you interact with your ideal environment?
If you could draw this environment, how would it look?
Is the space promoting or hindering your growth?
Are the objects in this environment adding value to your life?
Your space is sacred so build it so that it reflects you and who you want to become.
** For our readers, I would love to hear your comments/feedback ( even a simple hello if you’re so inclined). If you would like more tips/strategies/engage in a conversation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers to a simplified life!