Ratting Myself Out

You would think with all my years of practice I would be almost flawless now. You would think for a person who reads and relishes self-development as I do  would have cornered all my foibles and zapped them into oblivion.

Case In Point

I have a morning practice. I read and right and ponder. (Think isn’t the right fit.) I do two things religiously.  Each morning I write out ten things I am grateful for and then ten things I would like to attract into my life. The goal of gratefulness is an appreciation of all things, good or bad.  Writing down what you would like to attract…is away of asking the universe, god, or the supreme intelligence, for help in bringing those things too you. You’d be surprised how quickly the universe can respond.

A couple of days ago I wrote in the “attract” part of my journal :

“The ability to recognize and change embedded patterns.”

Shortly after writing those words while doing my read, write and ponder thing something stopped me in my tracks.

I   looked at, like really looked at, my kitchen table where I usually conduct my morning practice before commuting to my office in my bedroom.

The litter on the table boggled me. How did it get to be so cluttered? Thing is, unless I have to change the tablecloth, it’s always cluttered with  stuff.

I excuse this littler. I need tools to do my morning practice, pens, highlighters and colored pencils which tend to flow out of the container meant to hold them. I need my journal open to record my thoughts. I need that book I’m using as my daily reader, and a couple of others just because.

Then of course the coffee pot occupies prime territory along with my coffee mug and the dishes from breakfast. I’m doing important work here, don’t make me stop and clean it all up. But the clutter of course goes beyond that to scraps of paper with notes I wrote to myself days ago, grocery lists I always forget to take with me,  flyers, sunglasses and a plethora of other  detritus.

Could this possibly be an embedded pattern of behavior? Haven’t I wrestled with this before?

I resolved to clean up the table. That’s when I noticed the clutter on the kitchen counter, and then the clutter on the bathroom counter. None of it was offensive, like petri dishes in a lab growing some slimy substance. The items scattered about where all things I’d used for one reason or another and not returned to their proper place.

Have you ever heard yourself saying this line: “It’s just the way I am.” or “It’s just the type of person I am.”

Because that’s what ran though my head.

Yet…I must have had a reason to write those words down in my journal in the first place.

For me clutter just happened. I didn’t think I had much to do with it. One day my kitchen table would be clean and days later, I don’t know how, its covered. Must be the way I am I guess.

The moment you remove yourself from responsibility for something is the moment you give that power  dominion over you. You admit to being an effect…a poor victim. You claim you are powerless to change. Once you do that  , doing it the second time is easier, and finally you don’t notice what you are doing and you wonder why you are constantly being victimized by the circumstances in your life.

Don’t feel bad…we all do this to one extent or another.

The good thing is; change is possible.

So I got to work tidying up my kitchen table.   I ‘d cleared away all the clutter and only had those things in front of me that I needed in the moment. Then when I finished I put away those things as well, leaving the table-cloth, a candelabrum , and one book, my daily reader, neatly closed and arranged.

I stood back and admired my work. The table looked like a work of art with clean lines. I felt good.

Off I went to so the same at my kitchen counter and my bathroom counter, and finally my desk.

“So Nick, really, all this verbage about a kitchen table…I’ve got work to do here.”

Well here’s the point.

You, we, have a choice and it’s a very important one especially if we are business people seeking success. You can excuse your behaviour by giving up your power over it, and declaring , “it’s just the way I am, I was born that way”, or you can take responsiblity and rehabilitat your power to change.

“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”

Source: George Washington Carver.

How to Start.

Ask yourself what excuses you make.

Watch for them.

List them.

Work on the easiest one first.

Install a new habit.

I took a metal picture of my kitchen table the way I like it to look in its simple pristine glory.

That’s my template.

Now each day when I leave the kitchen table to commute to the bedroom I make sure the table matches that mental image.

I feel happier when I do that.

That’s the reward. Feeling happy after.

Habits take a while to install, so have patience.

If you fall from grace, ask the universe, god, the divine within you, to help you with your task.

In the end you give up your cloak of victimhood, and become the victor.

That feels really good.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind, but you can change yourself.

Source: Jim Rohn








Leave a comment
  • LOL DA. You want to see how I am in installing the new habit. So far so good, but it’s early days yet. I’ll update in a week. Please don’t let me fall from grace.


  • Hmmmm. I allow myself areas of clutter. My kitchen table hasn’t been really seen in months. It is the catch all of my existence.

    But it’s about being a volunteer, not a victim. I have learned some personal responsibility over the years and just simply refuse to blame anyone or anything but myself…

    Great stuff, Nick. I know you can be the element of change you desire in your life…
    Tom Wacker recently posted…The Perception of SuccessMy Profile

  • Great point Tom. Not everything has to do with embedded habits, I think it stems from unconscious thinking, that is not volunteered that you find yourself making excuses for that reveals places you haven’t taken responsibility. My clutter is not conscious and I’m working on it, but that is only one example. It’s nice to know I would be right at home at your kitchen table. LOL.


  • I just learned a thing or 2 or 3 as I got ready to write this response.

    First, it is the Theory of Entropy not Chaos that says that left to themselves things move from order to disorder. (had to search for this one)

    Second, Chaos theory generated the “Butterfly Effect” where small differences at the beginning can make major differences down the line. This is often stated as the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Texas today can be the cause of a hurricane in Florida next week. (I new this but forgot.)

    Third, the latest research shows that clutter may not actually be bad for you. It may actually lead to creativity and new discoveries.

    My cluttered thinking on this answer certainly let me to discover something new. I’ll file that away for a future blog or show and since I do have a system for that it should not get lost in the clutter.

    Thank you for sharing your clutter with us Nick.

  • Thanks for commenting Marian. Wow The Theory of Entropy and Chaos theory all thrown into the mix. And I too stumbled upon the latest research, I think in was in success magazine that clutter can lead to more creativity.

    It’s not that I’ve eliminated clutter, it’s that after I’ve enjoyed the creative effects of clutter, I clean it up and put it away. My kitchen table is as cluttered…well not quite as badly, as it use to be. Pens, color pencils, highlighters, books, magazines and breakfast dishes make for a lovely creative mix. Then when I’m done, everything goes back to their assigned places and I can go to my office with that feeling you get when your bed if nicely made up, and everything looks clean and tidy.

    I mentioned that I created a template in my head of what that table should look like when I’m finish, so D A Riley, if your reading: I’m almost a week since the post and I’m still clutter free, at least in those three areas I wrote about.


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