Our Things are Alive

Silent Messages

 

Our things are alive.

Don’t believe me? I’ll show you.

 

Imagine yourself in your living room. It’s a perfect sunny day, you’re back from work and just want to relax. You sit on the couch and want to focus on reading a book recommended to you by a colleague. You start, but 5 minutes in, your mind is everywhere except on the page you read. Why? Because things around you beg for your attention. 

Our things don’t just exist, they send us silent messages. And the more we neglect them, the stronger and louder messages will be.

Silent Messages

Maybe there’s a foreign language textbook begging you to take it and finish what you started 3 months ago. Or a National Geographic magazine that wants to reveal new world mysteries to you. You shake your head and try to focus even more on the book in your hand. Then the dead light bulb that has to be replaced starts to beg for your attention. “Don’t tell me you forgot to buy my replacement again.” And TV might say: “Watch me, there are lots of interesting movies I want to show you.” Your Hi-Fi audio system begs to be played. It hasn’t been in a month. Your smartphone has taken its place as the main audio player.

Oh, smartphone. He’s a real player. “Why should I wear the same old case? Everyone around is flashing new outfits, and I’m in this 5-months-old case. Buy me a new one. And I would love a wireless charging pad, cords are so not cool anymore. And when you’re at the shop, replace the broken screen protector as well. Dumbass, can’t you see I look bad with it.” 

By then, your mind is overwhelmed, so you put the book down and go to the kitchen for a glass of water. But there your dirty dishes cry how they want to be clean, “I can never count on you. Why can’t you do something so simple?” And there is a shower gel in the bathroom: “Excuse me, I’m running out!” And the bedsheets in the room: “Can you change and wash me one of these days?”. 

At that point, you run out of the house because you’re getting crazy. But there the car begs for an oil change, and the bike cries “why you don’t use it anymore?”. And the ball sits alone in the tall grass that should be mowed too. And then…

The more we have, the harder it is for us to concentrate. All of our possessions want to be cared for, and they tell us that every time we look at them. As we accumulate more, the more bombarded by silent messages we will be.

Fewer Possessions Means Less Message Overload

When we have fewer possessions, silent messages they sent, will quite naturally become fewer as well. If you have only what you need and want in your life, you will take better care of it and use it more frequently. Then your things will be satisfied, and won’t bombard you with constant noise. 

When we get rid of excess things, our focus improves, and only truly important things remain in our lives.

I think when we feel lazy or unmotivated, it’s because we’re bombarded with too many silent messages and we can’t get around to do what is important.

If everything is important, then nothing is.

Patrick Lencioni

Just imagine yourself sitting at a cluttered desk. You have to finish a work or school project, but motivation is nowhere to be found. When a desk is cluttered with unorganized stacks of papers, business cards, reference materials, pens and pencils everywhere, cords, and other knickknacks, your mind is blown away.

It will take forever to find what you need in that pile, and while you’re searching through the clutter for the one thing you need to focus on, you lose track of priorities. At that point, you feel unproductive, stressed, and unmotivated, so you go on the internet to look for motivation. And soon you’re trapped in a vicious cycle of social media, YouTube videos on 10 ways to be more productive, how-to lists, and more. Two, three hours pass quickly, and you haven’t even started the project yet. 

Now imagine a different scenario. Desk with computer, mouse, notebook, and pen. You can even add a plant or a picture of your loved ones if you want. You sit down, open the computer, and work. Your mind is focused only on one thing — the project that matters. After an hour or two, you’re done. You feel amazing and productive — as if the whole world is yours and you can do whatever comes to mind.

We all have these two options, but we are the only ones responsible for which one to choose.

Today, say goodbye to everything not needed. Guard your time and your sanity with everything you have. Don’t let your things control you. They are just tools. Not the other way around.

Cheers!

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11 Responses

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  4. Today I went through all my belongings again and have a huge mess that will sit for two days. I’m ok with that, though. It’s another step closer to my things not screaming at me for attention!

  5. This is so true! A few weeks back I bought some cement and filled in the cracks on my front door steps and then painted them. They look lovely now but now the house is saying ‘What about my trim? That needs painting too and also the porch roof’

  6. I love this article! So true. It’s a great reminder to get rid of excess and unnecessary things, to silence their call.

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