We’ve all done it. I have and I am sure if you were honest you have too. What am I referring to? Hanging onto something just in case we need it later on.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this said from the clients I work with too. It is a natural thing to think this, but the problem is that this is usually motivated by fear.
Fear that if we get rid of it, that we will need it the next day. Fear that the cost of the item will go up if we have to purchase it again. Or even worse, fear that we may never find another one like it.
Well it might interest you to know that this has been a struggle for humans for at least the last 400 years or so…
Dokkōdō Principle #14: suezue shiromono naru furuki dogu shoji sezu (末々代物なる古きどぐ所持せず) English interpretation: Do not possess ancient objects intended to be preserved for the future (aka Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need)
Musashi was trying to convey to his students with the principle that one will become attached to old objects and try to preserve them, and then become possessed by them. Old items might be precious, but what is important is usefulness
Now you might be thinking well what about this object that a loved one gave me and they are no longer with us. I have fond memories of that person whenever I look at that object.
In regards to this teaching, there would be some usefulness to that object. But maybe instead of keeping a whole bunch of things from a person, maybe only keep one or two that really meant something to you.
Now, I recognize that we all from time to time struggle with this. We get tired, don’t want to deal with that pile of things that magically grew out of nothing in the garage. But the reality is, that pile didn’t grow overnight. It grew gradually over time.
There are a few different ways to approach this if you are looking for an answer to “Where do I start?”
First, you could start binge watching Marie Kondo to get some ideas on how to get rid of things. She has a show that literally helps people get rid of things that they don’t need.
Second you could follow a process known in the Quality & Improvement world as 5S. 5S is a workplace organization concept made popular by the Japanese that has successfully improved many workplaces over the globe by simply ensuring that only the things you need are in your work area.
I am not going to go into a long dissertation about what 5S is, because that would probably be a post all by itself. But the 1st S is the idea of Sorting (Seiri in Japanese). In this step you start to sort all of the items into distinct piles so you can really get a good sense of what you have.
The 3 piles are; 1. Throw away immediately, 2. Not sure if we need it, 3. Positive we need it. After you have gone through everything, get rid of pile #1. Then go back through pile #2 and you will find that there are probably some things that should have been in pile 1 after all. Get rid of that stuff too.
There are several more steps in the process, but just starting this step will help you feel less emotionally heavy from all of the stuff you are surrounded by.
I think that feeling of heaviness can also negatively affect our ability to feel a sense of ikigai and be able to connect with our authentic selves. When we are constantly bombarded by piles of things, it occupies our minds.
So really a great first step to take in order to feel better about the conditions of where you live is to start sorting and getting rid of some things that you no longer need. If you want some help on the other 4S’s reach out I would be happy to have a conversation with you.
#ikigai #5S #authenticself #getorganized #worklifeharmony
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