“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
Learning to surf is the perfect metaphor for positive action in the face of something possibly overwhelming or intimidating.
The principle of acceptance is a powerful tool when we are confronted with something that scares us or we just don’t like.
More often than not, that experience is not going to go away so we have a few choices:
We can complain.
We can run away.
We can try to weasel our way out and manipulate someone else into dealing with it.
We can give up.
We can accept, adapt and adopt.
Now, maybe giving up as in surrendering to its existence could be a viable option.
But not giving up as in defeat with bitterness in our heart AT the defeat.
Which is why accept, adapt and adopt seems to be a strong choice.
We accept that what is IS.
Then we can adapt our behavior and our approach with the knowledge that no matter how many times we check back, the situation, obstacle or given circumstance hasn’t changed.
And finally we adopt this response as our new normal going forward.
There is so much power and esteem available to us when we meet something as daunting as ocean waves.
And instead of trying to change them or disavow them, instead we can learn how to surf on them.
We can easily see how this applies to the physical stuff that may be surrounding you right now.
No amount of complaining or avoidance will make it go away.
And while you can hire someone to help you with it, if that person or team doesn’t teach you how to manage it yourself, the clutter is very likely to return within 3-6 months to the same state or even worse.
That’s why I’m so focused on educating clients and the general public on the best ways to manage clutter.
Give you a fish, you eat for a day. Teach you to fish and you will never be hungry again.
Of course, the most sustainable solution is to go deep enough to root out any obsessive or compulsive consumption so stuff doesn’t come back into your home or office.
That’s the best solution.
Less stuff in means less stuff to organize and deal with.
Which means more free time and money for the things/experiences that actually matter.
Until you get there, teaching you to surf is the next best thing.
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.