Thursday, February 21, 2013

Empty the Dishwasher

One simple thing has changed my life: emptying the dishwasher.


It sounds weird. Really weird. But seriously, it has CHANGED my life.

Here's why.

I HATED emptying the dishwasher. I would put it off for days. No big reason why, I just did not like doing it. But here's what happens when you don't empty it: Dishes pile up in the sink. Crap piles up on the counter. The dining table gets cluttered. The counters get dirty.

The whole kitchen slowly becomes a big fat mess. Then when I'd come home from work, I'd walk into the kitchen see that big fat mess and feel bad. But still, not bad enough to empty the dishwasher. I'd just ignore it and cook around it and make the piles bigger.

Then one day I emptied the dishwasher immediately after it was done.

Ahhhhhhhhhh. Then I put the other dirty dishes in, I cleaned the counter and cleared the table. And the place was clean. And I felt good. Great even. And the next morning when I woke up and walked in the kitchen, I felt great again. My emptied dishwasher made me feel great. Simple.

From that moment on, I realized feeling great - however small level of great - was worth it. The 2 minutes it took to empty the goddamn dishwasher was so worth it.

Why did I dread such an easy thing? It's not like it takes hours; it takes minutes. Dunno. But man, once I realized that feeling great can be easy and small and make such a difference to my demeanor and my day, then taking that 2 minutes became a non-issue.

I came to this realization a couple years ago. And I'm not joking how it has changed me. Now that silly dishwasher stands for so much more. When there is something I dread doing, I remember how great a clean kitchen feels and somehow it helps me tackle other things.

Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, has written a book on a similar topic. He calls it "Eat the Frog." He says if the worst thing you have to do all day is eat a frog, then wake right up and choke that thing down. Then it's over. The anticipation is over. The dread is over. The act of eating a sick frog is over. Then you can move on with your day. Done and done.

Unconscious dread is a weird thing. It's like a low grade fever that doesn't quite go away and doesn't quite come to fruition. It's there making you feel some level of bad and you don't even realize it. But the second it is gone, man you feel it. Something lifts off your back and it wasn't even that heavy. It was just there.

Do yourself a favor and rid your life of a few of these. I guarantee you it makes a difference. Wash that car. Pay those bills. Or empty that goddamn dishwasher.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Have It Easy

I read this quote recently and loved it!

Thou Shalt Not Have It Easy.

Seriously, how great are those words? We go through life expecting everything to be so easy for us all the time. Easy calms us. Easy makes the day go smoother. Easy is just easy so why shouldn't we want it 24/7?

We want our home life to be easy. Kids changing easily into their day's attire after easily brushing their teeth then easily getting into the car for school (yea right).

We want our jobs to be easy. Assignments that are clearly spelled out with timelines that are cushy with co-workers that are happy and nice (can I get another yea right?!)

We want our love life to be easy. Partners that are compassionate and loving while equally supportive and thoughtful while they go out and pick up the dry cleaning and roses. Hmmm, you are getting this right?

Easy. Easy. Easy.

It's just the sooner we realize that everything isn't supposed to be easy. It isn't supposed to be anything else but what it actually is. And that may be easy, hard, fine, great, boring, sucky, completely screwed up, whatever. These adjectives aren't under our control. Things just are whatever they end up being. We are not so privileged to get easy delivered to our doorsteps on a daily basis.

When we lose that expectation, we open ourselves up for experiencing things just as they are. We learn to deal with problems and unexpected outcomes. The things that are hard are what teach us about life. And love. And work.

Thou Shalt Not Have It Easy. Remember that and life just might become a tad bit easier.