My Daddy had a famous phrase: “Keep it simple, hang loose, travel light.” Our problem is that we are carrying too much stuff with us on the journey. I remember a time I was helping my daughter move home from London. She had at least eight suitcases. We were trying to get on the subway for the airport and I found myself at the bottom of an escalator sprawled on the floor with all eight piled on top of me! WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. Ecclesiastes says there is a “time to keep and a time to throw away!” I recently finished the great book entitled, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown.
It convicted me to unload in several areas:
1. To unload in the physical area
- I have decided to throw away any clothes in my closet I have not worn in the last two years. It’s over for them. I’m only holding on to them now because of the “investment pain” I feel every time I throw away something I spent money for.
- The pictures and vast artifacts of my life. Who is going to look at and save all those trophies 35 years from now? “Travel light.”
2. To unload in the mental area
- “Clear your mind.” I have decided to unclutter my mind. Why am I taking up precious mental bandwidth to meditate on someone who was unkind to me? It’s over. It’s been over. Let it go.
- The reason so many of us can’t sleep is our minds are so activated nonstop. Problems at work, tensions in relationships, and trivial worries keep us up at night.
- If it is at all possible, fix it. Projects that are unfinished or an apology that needs to be given will not do it themselves. When you scratch it off your “to do” list, your mind gets some peace.
3. To unload in the financial area
- “Too many details.” We have this subscription to remember and those dues to pay. We borrowed money from this person and need to repair this lawnmower.
- "Get out of obligations." Why join four online movie services anyway? Pay off small debts you owe so they are off your mind. Do whatever it takes to get your bills down to a quick, simple (and hopefully online) financial situation.
4. To unload in the schedule area
- “You’re doing too much.” You’ve taken on too many responsibilities. You’re like the doctor who takes too many patients and makes them move to three waiting rooms before he sees them.
- “You’re wasting too much time.” Hours of hobbies and entertainment with all the shopping to buy the gear. Hours spent watching someone build a dream treehouse on tv. Shopping, researching, ordering, waiting for and returning an item you don’t really have room for!
It’s true, isn’t it? We have too much stuff. If you will lighten the load, you will be like the hot air balloon when it unloads ballast. It shoots straight up.
“Throw it overboard”… and you might find yourself at the next level.