Are you at work? Look around your desk/cubicle/office. Pick one thing and ask yourself why is it there. Do you use it often? Will you use it today, this week, this month? If it’s not work related, why do you have it? What would happen if you threw it away—removed it from your life?
Here’s a funny story. There are three Diet Coke cans, empty, that have been on my desk for a few days now. Every day I look at them and say to myself, “I need to throw those away.” Yet there they sit. What’s keeping me from doing it?
Dissonance is a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements/events. Here’s the deal. I want to recycle those cans. But I don’t have a recycle bin in my cube. The closest bin is on the other side of the building. I hardly go over there. So removing those cans from my life requires the extra effort. The tension comes in because I have this nagging thought: why the eff don’t I have a recycle bin? We sell the frickin things, 50+ different styles, yet for some reason I can’t have one. Dissonance. And that leads to resistance. Resistance leads to feeling empty, purposeless. Which may or may not lead back to more dissonance.
So what does dissonance have to do with simplifying your life? When you simplify, there are fewer things for you to be in conflict with, consciously or subconsciously. There’s clarity. You feel better. And you’re back in control of your life.
Where to start? Start small. For example, I lug a backpack to work. It contains three notebooks, a gazillion pens/pencils/Sharpies, some business cards, an empty bottle of Aleve, and a lot of nothing else. And every day I never open it. It sits on a chair and watches me do my work. Then I lug it home. So what should I do? How do I simplify? Right, ditch the backpack. I don’t need it. I think I need it, but I don’t. Not really. So tomorrow, no backpack.
That’s a start. Where will you start?