Resolutions? Bah! Declutter? Yes

Yes, it is that wonderful time of the year. Four days to go and we formulating, rehashing or retrieving resolutions for next year. Personally, I don’t believe in resolutions as I always fail miserably. I think the expectations are too high and there is only one way from there, down.

For me, this is a wonderful time as it does allow to me to declutter. Now am I not necessarily talking about unwanted Christmas gift and assorted items hoarded during the year. No, this is a great time to declutter our minds. Because I would hazard to say that if you are anything like me, your mind is probably so full that it is a wonder you get anything done.

Known as monkey mind or xinyuan in Chinese or shin’en in Japanese, this Buddhist term means “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.” Yep, sounds just like me. And if you Google monkey mind, the first 50 or so results are tips on how to deal with a monkey mind. The truth is that having a monkey mind, one that appears to be constantly on overdrive, swapping from one thing to another is frankly, exhausting.

Monkey mind is in many ways, self-inflicted and our lifestyles now, promote and encourage this type of behaviour. Social media, instant gratification, affluence and a notion that most everything is disposable are some of the factors that perpetuate this activity in our minds. We call ourselves “creative and entrepreneurial” but I wonder whether the description above, starting with “unsettled and restless” is more apt.

How do we declutter our mind, our monkey mind? Well, I have thought a lot about this and I think I am coming close to a solution with moderate success. In the same way we declutter our wardrobes, let’s create four piles of:

  1. Has Had It, Get Rid Of”
  2. “Find a New Home For”
  3. “Perhaps – Give It 3-Months”
  4. “Definitely Keep”.

The tricky bit though, is that unlike your old T-shirt or those pants that looked good on the mannequin but never on you, your mind creations, ideas, projects, thoughts and concepts do not just disappear once they have gone into one of the first two piles.

You still own these and they will linger with you, so the temptation to turn them back on, is easy to satisfy. Which means that our efforts around distributing our mind clutter, have to be pretty strict and ruthless and you should always ask yourself the question, “why am I doing this?”, over and over again. Doing this will slowly help us clear our mind that things that are important but do not really matter that much to us.

And then, we need to execute and start by focusing on the things that really matter to us and tactfully extricate ourselves from the clutter. Many times this will require an emotional conversation or two with someone. Yep, it may not be easy, but that needs to happen.

When we look back at those piles and we realise the process we just went through, this is liberating. We feel lighter, refreshed, ready to tackle the world and the problems that matter to us, the ones that will get all of your devotion, vocation, emotion and passion.

Embrace this time of the year and say good-bye to your monkey mind. Resolutions or not, the next year will prove to be more open and successful for you.

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