Ditch Clutter to Tune In Your Intuitive Vision
Without even realizing it, we wake up daily to clutter pouring in—constant television or the Internet at home, talk radio in the car, TV news programs at the airport and loud music in restaurants. Soon our senses become dulled and our vision turns lusterless. How can a person connect with their intuitive vision and goals while being constantly bombarded by thousands of outside messages? Vision is essential to success. Yes, you can stumble on a great idea without knowing where you’re going, but in my experience mentoring thousands of people, it rarely happens that way. Successful people look ahead, imagine the future they want, then make it happen through a combination of passion, commitment and intuitive vision. To conceive any vision you must first get quiet. Remove the clutter and turn down the volume. When you consciously eliminate pervasive noise, silence arouses your imagination. Make it a goal to eliminate clutter from your mind, your day and your life. I started with my physical environment, which is the easiest to control. I successfully created an uncluttered house and an uncluttered office. Next I uncluttered my mental environment. While I rarely watch TV or listen to talk radio, and I don’t crave an hourly update on current events, I have my own clutter addiction to battle—movies. My addiction got so bad for a while that I found myself going to really bad movies, wondering later why I wasted that time and money. I still love going to good movies, but now I’m more selective. I appreciate that these activities are some of the most common ways to relax. But you cannot wake up to clutter, be bombarded with it all day, go to bed with that same level of intrusion and still have the mental space to connect with your intuitive vision. Choose renewing ways to relax, such as strolling through a park, soaking in the tub or reading a great book. As with most ambitious endeavors, eliminating all the clutter in your life can be overwhelming at first. The trick is to start small:
1. Clear your space. Unclutter your physical environment at home and work. Take 10 minutes every day to file that stack of papers that’s been sitting on your credenza for months. Devote 15 minutes a day to cleaning out a closet or a room that’s only slightly less attractive than the city dump. Don’t tackle the whole attic. Start with one corner, then move on to another until it’s done.
2. Unclutter your mind. Eliminate one outside stimulus, one TV show or one chatty phone call. Then eliminate another. Instead of reading three newspapers or magazines, read one. While driving, replace talk radio with inspirational CDs or music that stimulates ideas and opens a space for success. Meditate as you fall asleep or read something relaxing that brings you peace, not agitation. Be equally selective about how you spend time with friends and family. You might not think of a relationship as clutter, but it can be. Are casual, unsatisfying relationships keeping you from your vision? Would fewer, more meaningful relationships be more helpful? Assess whether a relationship is one that you value. If not, eliminate it or, at minimum, reduce the exposure. Uncluttering is about making choices in all the areas of your mind, space and time.
3. Put off procrastination. Procrastination leads to worry and anxiety, which is mind clutter. You’re anxious about the upcoming meeting because the report due is still rough at best. You worry about overdrafting your bank account because you’ve put off balancing your checkbook. Instead, just put off procrastination. Eliminate one area of procrastination each week. Schedule it in your calendar, as you would any important appointment, and when that time arrives, do what needs to be done. Your mind will feel refreshingly alert and uncluttered. Yet, procrastination is not always bad. I hear people say, “finish what you start” or “you had that idea, where did you go with it?” Every day I wake up with new ideas, but like you I have only 16 waking hours a day in which to do it all. Misplaced stubbornness, as in, “I started it, I have to finish it,” can exhaust you as you plow onward in the wrong direction. Selective—intuitive—procrastination allows the best ideas to rise to the top and keeps you focused. In the emergency room all nurses learn the value and skill of triage. When several patients come in at once, nurses treat the sickest ones first. That’s triage. You can triage ideas. All ideas are not equal, so match your ideas to your intuitive vision to determine which to develop first. Selective procrastination also eliminates unnecessary busyness. Imagine a low-priority task—perhaps starting a routine project or writing a letter. You procrastinate, and at the end of the day, or the week, that situation resolves itself. The project is canceled or the topic of the letter gets resolved with a two-minute phone call. Selective procrastination, or triage, combined with your intuitive vision can eliminate the clutter of unnecessary tasks. Ditching clutter enables you to tune in your intuitive vision and connect with future success. In turn, your newly awakened senses arouse your passion. You not only see the future you want, you’re ready to implement the goals and strategies to make it happen.
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