One night last week I was awake worrying about a decision.
I had two options: I could go this way or that.
This way would result in either a huge success or financial ruin.
And so would the other.
I’d been thinking about this problem for months.
Decision time was looming – hence the sleepless night.
I was busy running through all the options, the what if’s, adding up numbers and subtracting them and trying to work out what would need to happen this week, the next, the next and the next, all the way to the end of (I think) 2023 or so so that I could make the right decision today.
(You might think I should know better. I thought I should know better. But there you go, we’re all human).
Then suddenly, after a couple of hours of this, for no reason at all into my head popped this random thought.
“If you keep dipping a plate in dirty washing up water, it’s never going to come out clean.”
“WTF?” I thought and promptly fell into a deep sleep.
When I considered it the next morning I realised three things:
- I realised what the thought had meant. It meant that if you have a dirty murky mind full of cloudy thinking, ANYTHING you take out of it to look at is is never going to be clean. Or clear. So what’s the point in dipping stuff in there and then taking it out and examining it?
- I didn’t have to understand my insight intellectually for it to have an instant effect.
- And I was reminded of the fact that wisdom is 100% reliable (not once did this thought show up in the 18 months I’ve been pondering on this problem, but only the night before the deadline) and 98% unpredictable. I thought any insight would come in the form of ‘here’s the answer – do this!’, but no. It came in the form of a weird statement – completely unexpected in its form.
I would tell you what the problem was, only I now have no idea what it was that seemed so important.
“Never put anything in the washing machine unless the drier is empty.”
Frustrated at the laundry mountain produced by our family of five and being good at that sort of thing, my husband took it upon himself to do a root cause analysis to try to understand how on earth we end up spending hours and hours every Sunday putting all the laundry away so we can find our beds to sleep in.
Me? I’m too busy nagging everyone to pick up their clothes, ferrying it all to the washing machine, putting it in, taking it out, hanging it up over and over again to see beyond the drudgery to have that larger perspective.
With one golden rule – see above – (and a few little ones), he has reduced the laundry by 90%. There’s always less to do than you think. Even laundry.
How? By going upstream.
Whereas I was too busy trying to buy more driers to hang the wet clothes on and drawing up rotas so the kids put bundles of washing away, he tackled what was going into the basket in the first place.
And that’s what I’ve been seeing the value of more and more – instead of trying to upgrade my behaviours, improve my feeling state or even address my noisy thinking, the value of going upstream to consider where our entire experience comes from takes care of everything else that comes down-stream from there.
Here’s a video I created this week for my Simplicity Solution members which explains a little more.
Doors are currently open so if you like what you see, click here to read more and join us in this exploration of how to do less better.
” Almost everyone has the life that’s unfolding in front of them, and then the life they’re trying to ‘make happen'” – Michael Neill
There’s always less to do than you think…..it’s a phrase I seem to end up using on nearly every client call.
And my experience more recently truly has been one where I have spent far less time at my desk, and yet seen the most profound impact on my productivity and the bottom line of my business.
I recorded this video as part of The Simplicity Solution program but it contained such a good exploration of WHY this can happen that it was too good not to share with the rest of the world too:)
I’d love to know what you hear in this…