About seven years, I began preparing to embark on a journey away from home in another small town but one larger than my own hometown. I had finished high school, had scholarships, and would be able to attend college with everything free of charge except books. And the summer before I would start my undergraduate education, I developed a bad mindset and habit.
You know, with the kids going off to college or starting back up to grade school again, the advertising for class supplies and dorm room supplies can be quite enticing - I must admit even for a post grad! Looking at the cute notebooks, folders, and different organizing items is quite enticing because they can be useful...but do I really need them?
And most times the answer is “no”, but about seven years ago, it was hard for me to accept that there were just some things that I didn’t really need before going off to college. The summer before I left to move to my college town, I found myself racking up on dorm room items like a food storage futon (took up most of my side of the dorm room), an “over-the-bed” rack, a wall-sticker of the Eiffel Tower (which I cherished because it sat quite nicely behind a decorated floor lamp that was covered with faux ivy).
But you see the picture, right? I would come home during some summer days with new additions for the big move, and let me tell you, when the day finally came, I had stuff packed in our family car and at least one more family member’s vehicle.
And you might be saying, Jalesa, why are you telling me this? Here’s my reason.
Maybe you at some point in time had a “stuff” syndrome when you felt the urge, the need to obtain or acquire lots of things for various reasons. You may even have that now or a taste of it. And be honest with yourself, how does it make you feel?
Do you feel better when you buy that extra cute notebook or binder that will probably not get used at the moment? Do you feel like you’re worth more when you buy that nice dress shirt and tie because you carry a certain appearance?
With this syndrome, I think of the word accumulation, and with this word can be associated the feelings of well-being, power, and wholeness.
But once you’ve accumulated the things that you felt you needed, are you really any better off than before? More powerful? More whole?
Today I want to talk about 2 words that can help you overcome this syndrome as you embark on a new chapter in life whether that involves teaching students, starting college, becoming a parent, or any other circumstance that you may have allowed to contribute to a bad habit that hurts more than it helps.
First, you need to assess.
When some people hear the word assessment, they roll their eyes because they know that they’re going to be tested on something they’d rather not be concerned with, or they’re going to have to consider some factor, thing, or process that they’d also rather not be concerned with.
But assessment is important. Remember I mentioned the word accumulation earlier and how it can make people feel more powerful, wealthy, and whole? Well, in truth, when we step back to assess a situation or something, we’re exercising more power than when we’re accumulating without assessment.
How is that?
We’re exercising our power of self-control.
As an instructor, you might be tempted to pick up 3 different colors of sticky notes, colored index cards, some tape, and a file folder, but before you even consider purchasing those things, you need to complete an assessment.
Whatever the case, take into consideration what you already have and what you truly need - that way, you’re not mindlessly accumulating to feel good later that you’ve purchased some things ahead just in case you don’t have it. And really, if you’re just purchasing without some idea of need vs. want, you likely contributing to clutter which doesn’t help with your productivity and could rather serve as distractions.
Think about walking into a consultant’s office and their desk is cluttered with “everything pineapple” so much so that they’re fumbling to get to their keyboard trying to pull up your documents sent over after you booked your appointment online with them.
Not a good look, so please start with assessing what you need before actually making the jump to accumulating.
Then, you can assign.
Assignment involves taking care of those needs that you’ve determined through assessment. For instance, before going off to college, I knew that my dorm room would have a twin-sized bed.
I did not have sheets that would fit (assessment), and so I bought some sheets to take care of that need (assignment). In your case, maybe as a parent, you’re prone to making sure there’s plenty of juice in the house, so you buy a variety including sodas for the family and end up taking up too much space in the refrigerator. This is a rather simple act, but actually fulfills the purpose for obtaining something.
Over to you + challenge
Hopefully this post has helped to bring to light a bad habit or mindset that needs to be addresses in your life. You may improve your finances, productivity, relationships, or other aspect of your life by assessment and assignment rather than accumulation just to feel more wealthy, more powerful, or to fill a void in your life.
This week, I want you to set aside a small segment of your day to consider where you are accumulating quite a bit, assess how this is affecting you, and assign what is truly needed to fix the problem.
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