Have you ever wondered why author and “tidying expert” Marie Kondo has become such a household name? She’s a professional organizer whose empire now includes a network TV show dedicated entirely to her work. Are Americans really that interested in other people’s clutter? Maybe. But I believe the real fascination is the universal belief that an organized living space leads to an organized mind.
It’s true, a tidy space makes us feel calmer, which can lead to a greater sense of presence and clarity. Even the color of our surroundings effects our level of focus and awareness. Imagine how you would feel working in a room with solid black walls? Or scarlet red ones? And much as we love our local Starbucks, we all know how hard it is to concentrate in a noisy room.
Our external environment affects our mindset in more ways than we can appreciate. From the obvious to the subtle. Temperature, light, noise level; all of these impact our mindset, clarity and focus. But even the most extreme surroundings can’t compare with the main influencers on your life’s stage:
The people we surround ourselves with influence our behavior, attitudes and results more than all other factors combined. Making the choice to connect with people who live your values, or embody the qualities you’re striving to attain is the best motivator to success.
In the words of motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
It’s clear that environment impacts our state of mind and ability to reach our goals. So, don’t overlook the most powerful factor you have the opportunity to curate; your community.
As Darren Hardy writes in The Compound Effect:
“According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”
This is great information! You can improve your odds of success by choosing your associates wisely.
Unfortunately, watching the Marie Kondo show and falling in love with the thought of decluttering is the easy part. None of it makes a drop of difference until we take the next step. Which is where most people go off the rails.
They get so excited, they decide to organize everything in their lives, starting today. But stepping too far in a new direction without working up up the stamina to sustain the change seldom lasts. Even the most enthusiastic people then lose steam and decide they simply didn’t have the willpower or merit to succeed.
They simply skipped a step.
An effective change plan goes from inspiration to planning to action. Planning starts with your calendar. So right in the moment of inspiration, schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to create a plan around your goal.
Visualize your goal and write it out with as much clarity as possible.
Now that you have your goal in front of you, it’s time to decide, what are you going to shift in your life to be able to get there? How will you clear the space to stay focused on your goal?
Clearing Mind Clutter
With stimulation coming at us from all angles, we all have too much going on. Yet a cluttered mind makes it hard to stay focused on our priorities.
Letting go of activities that don’t align with your priorities is a great metaphor for clearing the mind. In the words of Marie Kondo, ask yourself, “Does it bring me joy?” Implement a practice of taking inventory regularly to assess whether the things you’re spending time on will help you reach your goals.
Any of these sound familiar? When we take an honest look at how much time we spend on these low-quality distracting activities, we can reorganize our time to clear space for the things that bring us joy, or at least support us in reaching our goals.
Organization matters, both externally and from within. So use the Marie Kondo lessons as a metaphor for creating an organized mental and emotional environment. Your growth and success depend on it!