The Monks may be on to something

Have you ever been robbed? Fortunately, I have not but one of my friends, Diane, recently was and as she told me about the experience, she offered some interesting insights.

She had left the house for two hours to go to the gym. She returned to a broken window and busted-down door. The robbers took things that could fit in a pillow case, plus the pillow cases! Her laptop, phone, wallet, jewelry and many unique items she had collected on her many travels abroad. She had collected various carved/painted boxes, which contained much of her unique jewelery. Diane loved those boxes and the thieves took every one of them along with the jewelry inside! She said something that struck me, “Now that I no longer have them, it made me realize that because I had so many of them, I really didn’t appreciate and enjoy what I had.”

There was so much “clutter” in all those boxes being out and displayed that it was difficult to really focus in on the beauty that each one individually possessed. Kind of like the old Where’s Waldo pictures. It’s hard to find Waldo because of all the other people/objects in the picture.

Diane had yet another slice of wisdom regarding the amount of time and energy working through the process to get things sorted out. She told me it took her three solid days, (and she’s not finished), after the break-in to do things like cancel credit cards, close and re-open bank accounts, file the police report, make the insurance claims and make some basic purchases – like a new phone – so she could establish her life infrastructure again. Trying to remember what she had that was stolen was mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Honestly, could you remember every pair of shoes, items of clothing, jewelry, books, utensils, etc … you own? It was a realization that the more stuff you have, the more effort it takes to maintain or reclaim it! Because of this experience, Diane has decided to NOT replace all those possessions and instead focus on what she really NEEDS and buy things that she ENJOYS. You’ve got to admit, someone who leads a more simple life has more time to think about the things they enjoy, appreciate what they do have and notice the simple pleasures in life. The folks with multiple homes and more materials possessions have to manage/look after all those THINGS, leaving less time to let the mind focus on what/who is really important – and it’s definitely harder to appreciate what you have because there is so much of it!

So time for a little self-assessment:

  • What percentage of time is your mind occupied with thoughts of MATERIAL THINGS vs. PEOPLE & PURPOSE?

If you are feeling overwhelmed with life, perhaps clearing out some of those material things will offer you more space to focus on your purpose. I guarantee, more enjoyment is just around the corner!

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults.  Follow her on Twitter @MDuesterhoft.