Getting a haircut is a pretty basic thing to most people. It really depends on the individual but most visit their barber or hair stylist once a month. My hair grows so fast that I should actually see him twice a month and I’m not counting my beard yet.
Anyways, here I am again sitting on the side, waiting for my turn to get the lawn mowed. Most people listen to music or text someone. Waiting is annoying and a waste of time but hell, you’re waiting for something you need and what else would you do? I however, actually learned to enjoy it. It’s extra time to rest and to think or just to take a break from running back and forth and constantly trying to get things done while screwing up and going from one meltdown to another.
Yeah, a few extra minutes to catch some breath are not bad at all.
But what I found particularly interesting is to watch people and the things that unfold around me as I sit there wasting time and being useless. Really, when you take the earbuds out and put your phone away for one damn minute you will be surprised how much you miss when you don’t pay attention to your surroundings.
The owner of the barber-shop, Engin, has recently hired a new trainee. Knowing his impulsive behavior, I was wondering how that would work out because the trainee is someone I would generally call a gentle giant. He was twice the size of him (both in height and width) and a rather passive type of guy. Engaging in conversations with customers and asking them to leave a review while cheerfully joking around with them was probably the last thing he would naturally do. The problem was though.. this is exactly what his boss expected from him.
It didn’t take long until the lady that also worked there – probably his wife, it’s hard to tell sometimes – started getting annoyed and telling him to leave the boy alone for a minute. Apparently this was already going on all day and Engin got pretty worked up because his trainee wasn’t really magically transforming into an extrovert after drowning him in lectures about customers and haircuts for several hours. Who would have thought.
The interesting thing about this though, he was still right. He had his facts and lessons straight and delivered properly his information would have not only sticked, his trainee would start being curious to learn more instead of continuously rolling his eyes and making even more mistakes because he is being distracted constantly by his passive-aggressive boss who buzzes around his head like a fly on cocaine.
I found it particularly interesting because if you think about it: This is the same thing we do with ourselves when something is not going right in our lives, it’s our fault and we try to talk sense into ourselves.
You should really quit smoking.
You should stop drinking.
You should eat less crap.
You should get a degree.
You should find a better job.
You should get rid of that guy that’s been using you.
You should clean out the basement.
I could literally go on like this all day and 5% to none of that will happen within a day, a week or even a month of telling that yourself. Why?
Because it’s hard. It’s tough and annoying and we don’t have time and we’re low on sleep and energy and we have shit to do and we can’t afford it or literally any excuse which is not far enough out of reach right now. And hell, it is tough and not an easy job to do at all. Otherwise we would have done it long ago. And we hit ourselves with all of it like Engin with his trainee, constantly and it’s just way too much to handle at once – not to mention actually doing it.
It’s a big bad dragon sitting in that cave, sleeping on that treasure you really want but well, there’s a dragon and it will probably fry up your butt and that’s the end of you.
But what if I told you that you don’t necessarily need to go out into the Unknown, armed with a paper plate and a plastic fork to fight a dragon that will probably use you as a toothpick. You don’t need to.
Not only because it’s a stupid idea but also because you’re simply not ready to take on the entire dragon at once from zero. Why don’t you just start out in your own little dungeon instead? How about your room?
First, your room is known territory. It’s where you live, sleep, eat and watch stupid shows on Netflix. It’s known, or what we would ironically call “order”. But the thing is, sometimes it’s far from anything remotely close to order. You might be a conscientious and orderly person and more power to you if you don’t deal with struggling to remain things in order all the time but I’m pretty bloody sure that most people do, especially working full time jobs with kids and other business to attend to in between.
So your room basically represents it’s own little micro-cosmos filled with your ideas, your work, the things you enjoy and a massive load of stuff that you should get rid of or at least get out of the way. You spend a lot of time in this place, you sleep there and the impression that it leaves on you is far more significant than you think. It’s in your face every morning and every night, the things in there are tied to memories and plans, to chores and responsibility and to rest and coziness. Wouldn’t you think that this little realm of yours, the sanctuary of your mind, your own little world should be a place you enjoy spending time in? Without loads of laundry staring at you from the corner of your bed and rubbish poking you in the back wherever you try to sit on? Without layers of paperwork clogging your mind as soon as you enter the room because believe me, this is the first things you see when you enter the room and there is still stuff laying around you need to attend to. And yes, you might be good at ignoring it and banning it into the corner of your head so it’s not in your face all the time. Good job.
But it’s still there, isn’t it? And it is always making you feel uncomfortable in some way whenever you remember that it’s there.
Why don’t you just start there? Cleaning up your room is considerably easier than you think it is. Throwing things out you no longer need feels amazing and liberating in some sense. Getting laundry folded and put away or even doing it in the first place rewards you with fresh clothes (that smell great by the way) and a lot more room for you and the things you like. And you’d surprised how much space your room has once all the things are put away or gotten rid of which are not where they belong.
And the best part: It’s easy and it makes a massive difference in how you feel about your life whenever you enter your room. You feel more in control again and the space you just gained is roughly equivalent with space for thoughts and ideas and good things in your mind because it’s not occupied with chores and a mess anymore.
And from there, it’s an easy step to the next thing you should take care of. Now you have more room and mental capacity to progress further and you might even figure out other problems while cleaning up because you might find lost paperwork again or come up with an idea how to solve a problem. And once you’re in that loop of progress you can use this momentum to try to tackle more issues and solving them one after another.
So when you finally reach that dragon you’ve been dealing with for so long and you will most likely notice one thing: it’s not that damn large anymore and by far not as scary as you pictured it to be at first. With every small thing you took care of along your way the dragon shrunk a bit and you got a bit stronger, wiser and more confident. You leveled up in some way. And I’m not saying that it won’t put up a fight still. Damn, some things are hard to get under control. Sometimes so hard that people still fail and need to try it several times. But the chances that you are gonna defeat that thing are considerably better if there are no other things in your life weighing you down and weakening you.
And eventually, you will stop smoking or drinking. You will pay attention to your diet and break up with your douche bag boyfriend and enroll into college and find a job that doesn’t slowly kill you while starving you to death. Or whatever it is that used to be too damn hard to consider doing. You will slay that damn dragon.
But first, you should clean up your room. 🙂