One of my favourite quote is by an American writer, Alvin Toffler (1928-2016). In his book entitled ‘Future Shock’ ( 1970) he says: “ The Illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write , but those who cannot learn , unlearn, and relearn.’’
In this digital era, things are changing constantly and fast. The solution is to wake up each morning ready to learn how to learn. To increase my adaptability wherever I am, I have to learn, unlearn and relearn. Learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience or being taught. It is a lifetime job.
In last week’s post I informed you that through repeated experiences I had acquired the habit of decluttering my physical space once a year. This habit would free my mind, heart and soul to engage fully with life. I was happy and productive. But since my return home, I had relaxed on this good habit of mine and found myself accumulating stuff faster than at any other time in my life. This attachment to things had started weighing me down emotionally and was decreasing my productivity. I had to save myself by ‘relearning’ the good old habit: Regularly let go of things, keep only what I needed at that moment in time, not keeping things that I might need in future.
The English writer and social critic, Charles Dickens, said: “My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.’’
Not to stress myself, I decided to start on this task of organizing my physical space immediately by clearly defining what I needed to do and coming out with a plan of how to do it. I have planned to do a little at a time and to ensure that it is done and done right. Every Saturday morning, I shall clear one room at a time, taking one item at a time. I am determined to stick to this schedule for the next three months. I have to avoid distractions and I have given myself permission to ask for help when I need it.
Knowing that the best time to do something is usually ‘now’, last Saturday, I rolled up my sleeves and took on the challenge. I did not want to give myself time to think of procrastination.
I started in the spare bedroom which I had literary turned into a store. I had three labelled big plastic containers : one for items to be given away, another for items for the garage sale and the third one for items I needed at that moment and therefore could keep. I only kept items that I really needed; any holding some significance in my life and any that served a purpose in my life. I never kept anything that I hoped I would need one day.
As I combed through the accumulated stuff, the first three hours were tough on me due to the emotional attachment but as time went by, it became increasingly easy. Much to my surprise, I had started enjoying the childlike spontaneity and in the process, I became open to the experience.
By the end of the morning, I was thrilled that I had focused on the task and cleared one corner of the room. I felt in control and felt good about myself. I was doing the right thing to ‘relearn’ a good habit that served me well in the past.
I had no doubt that if I sustained this energy and zest and worked to schedule, I would meet my deadline of getting rid of clutter in the house in three months! I celebrated the little I had done right over a bottle of wine with one of my childhood friends. I am now looking forward to next Saturday to take bold steps towards my goal.
The experience has reminded me that with any big task, you start small and that the beginning of anything worthwhile is the most difficult part.
There is also a Spanish proverb that says : “ Tomorrow is the busiest day of the week.’’
We all have the tendency of putting off things until tomorrow and yet the best time to do them is now.
If there is something you want to do, do not let fear hold you back. Acknowledge your fear, allow yourself to feel it but then go on and do what you have to do. This is what courage is all about.
Napoleon Hill said: “ Do n’t wait. The time will never be just right.’’
The Chinese say that : ” The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I am thrilled that I have taken my first steps.
Thank you for reading this post, I would be very grateful if you shared your experiences with me. Kindly leave a comment and feel free to share the post with family and friends.