I’ve always had an issue with being unorganized. I can still recall my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Razor yelling at me in front of the whole class and making me cry because I couldn’t find some work I had jammed into my cluttered desk.
That was almost 35 years ago and I’ve struggled with organization and keeping my car and my room clean ever since. I just didn’t see the point in expending the energy do it. I’d suffered from several chronic illnesses and chronic pain for decades and I have limited energy to work with.
That has changed this year. I’m not any better physically in fact this year has been one of my toughest years in a while in just about every aspect of my life. I’ve always been on the search for better ways to live and the advice that kept coming up over and over again was –
- when you are feeling overwhelmed or powerless in life the first step is to clean up and organize your immediate surroundings
As I’ve done this I’ve found my mind freed up to contemplate new ideas, have more mental clarity and mental energy.
It’s amazing how small actions like making your bed everyday or keeping your closet organized can help to create positive momentum that prepare you for tackling the bigger issues in life.
Everyday the news inundates us with situations and problems around the world that 99.9999% of us have zero ability or opportunity to change. This can create a lot of negative emotions of fear, hopelessness, and anger.
It doesn’t have to be just politics that generate these types of feelings. In the past I’d focus on my chronic intractable health issues andthose negative feelings generated by inability to change that situation pervaded my whole life.
This is a formula I’ve come up with –
Awareness – Capacity = Hopelessness
Now my focus is on the right sized problems in my life that I can tackle. Each time I do I’m increasing my capacity to take on more and more complex issues and have the energy to do so as well.
Awareness + Capacity = Hope
Hope is a powerful force and it gets reinforced every time I solve a problem in my life even though the bigger issues still exist.
I listened to Professor Jordan Peterson on Stefan Molyneux’s podcast and he explained why it’s important to focus on tackling the right sized problems in your own life before you set out to tackle the problems of the world.
He spoke of searching out these right sized problems which are problems you have the capacity to fix. One year he gave an assignment to his students to do just that.
The example he gave was about a student of his who lived with a bunch family members. The house was chaotic and groceries weren’t being purchased on a regular basis and no one was taking responsibility to cook, this all happened after his mom passed away.
The student saw this local problem and he did something about it. He took responsibility for shopping, meal planning and cooking. It was difficult but he was able to fix this problem. He solved this issue that improves his life and also increased confidence and capacity to improve other aspects as well. his
My right sized problem was getting organized and maintaining a system to stay that way. After I did this I began blogging consistently on my four blogs and I began producing video segments as well.
There were other reasons that I began writing and sharing my ideas again but I firmly believe I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t exercised my capacity to impact my life in a meanigful and positive way by cleaning up my room.
I’ve been sick and in pain most of my life. Because of this I’ve used it as a reason not to keep my living areas clean and organized. When I’ve felt horrible in the past I would think “what is the point of picking up my room or keeping the inside of my car clean, how could that possibly help me?”.
What I’ve learned is that it does matter. Takin care of seemingly small problems can have amazing and unexpected results. No matter how bad I feel now I always make my bed and make sure where I inhabit is clean and organized. Taking care of these right sized problems helps me to build up my capacity to take on bigger and more complex issues. Everyone can do the same thing.
How much could people accomplish if they focused less on politics and more on solving their own problems? Once I started spending less time focused on politics did I began seeing positive results in my life. Unfortunately it’s far easier to complain then it is to change your own behavior.
A lot of folks want to change the world but haven’t even begun to address the smalll and big problems in their own lives. As you address the small issues you’ll gain confidence, increase your capacity for positive change and reinforce the idea that you truly are the hero of your story. I now think of taking care of the right sized problems in my life as heroic training.
The more responsibility I take for of my life the better my life becomes.
When I become too focused on issues I can’t solve I use the following to go from helpless to hero:
– be aware of the right sized problems I have in my own life
– utilize my capacity to solve the right sized problems
– learn so that I can increase my awareness of my right sized problems and to increase my capacity to solve them