Look, I know there is a part of your life where you want to get your shit together. Everyone has that dark corner of their life that has been a pain in the ass for weeks, months or years, but for some reason, you haven’t been able to get it under control.
It’s a mess and it’s frustrating. I know this because I’ve been there.
It could be your career, your relationship, your mindset, or your ability to just get something – anything – accomplished.
Maybe you’re hearing it from people you work with, from friends and family, or the little voice in your head that seems to nag away at you endlessly.
There are only two reasons why we cant get our shit together: 1) because we want to avoid the pain/hurt/inconvenience (aka- we don’t want to admit our shit’s a mess) or 2) We don’t have a good enough reason to get it together.
The first real step towards getting your shit together is admitting that you don’t have it together in the first place. Stop ignoring the festering pile of crap that’s lingering in the corner of your life’s closet like some 2-week old Chinese food that doesn’t ever seem to go bad. It’s past due, trust me.
So, before you read on, take a real look at your life and ask:
And if you think to yourself “actually, my life is perfect, nothing is a mess and I don’t need to clean anything up” good for you, share this with someone who doesn’t have their shit together and enjoy the comfort of knowing that one day you’ll be back reading this article.
Because at some point, all of our lives become a mess.
Yes, not having your shit together sucks, but so many people know it sucks and still cant change, why?
Well, there are only two reasons people create change in life: 1) because it feels good, or 2) because it’s too painful and they finally have a good enough reason to change.
People can’t get their shit together because they have been avoiding the harsh reality of the impact that their behaviors or beliefs have on them, or they are stuck in the shame/guilt of their actions and can’t seem to get out.
You need to create a mental and emotional tipping point that allows you to shift.
This means getting in touch with the totality and real impact that not having your shit together is causing in your life.
So ask yourself: what’s the price I’m paying for not having my shit together?
While it might seem like a comical and unserious question, take it seriously and answer it at face value.
Really look at the pain or suffering you’re causing yourself.
What’s the price I’m paying?
What’s the price my family is paying?
What’s the price my significant other is paying? My kids are paying?
Then ask yourself the real question: “Why should I bother getting my shit together?”
The obvious answer is: “So I don’t have to suffer (or so my family, spouse, friends, kids don’t have to suffer) any more stupidly than I or they already have.”
And you might say or think to yourself “well I don’t care about that,” but if you’re in pain, suffering or unhappy in some way, then you know the thought that you don’t care is actually false and can now see the price you’re paying for NOT having your shit together.
But here’s the catch.
Sometimes, even when we KNOW the painful price we are paying, we don’t want to let it go. Sometimes the pain isnt a good enough reason.
Why is this?
See, there is this little trick our brain plays on us from a psychological, attachment level.
This trick is called the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy says we have a major misconception in our daily decision-making process.
The Misconception: Believing that you make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments, and experiences.
The Truth: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.
Simply put, it’s harder for you to let go of things you believe you’ve invested in, even when those things are shit, causing you to feel shitty, or producing shitty results in your life.
Now that you know why you want to get your shit together, make a list of all the things that are not working in your life. Literally look at all the shit that’s not working, write it out and put all your shit in one place.
I call this The Shit List.
Be brutally honest with yourself about whats not working and all the things you want to clean up. It might be a long list, but be honest, don’t lie and get it all out.
Don’t let yourself fall into the shame trap or victimhood of “Woe Is me, my life is such shit.” If you find these thoughts constantly coming up and are in the way of you making any real progress, add them to the list because they are a part of the pile, and part of the problem.
Got all your shit in one place? Great, let’s continue.
The next step is practical.
Look at everything you’ve written down. And if you didn’t make a list, simply look around the space you’re in and assess where you can start.
Look at your room, your home, your partner, kids — hell, look in the mirror and ask “What do I see that really bothers me? What’s a small turd that I can clean up.”
The idea here is to start where you can start.
If something pops out at you, or speaks to you, start there.
It might seem meaningless at first, but it’s cleaning up part of your shit, and we need to start with small things we can accomplish.
If “getting out of my $100,000 worth of debt” or “fix my marriage” is on your shit list, this would not be the place you want to start.
You’ll want to tackle a small turd first – probably a turd that’s a part of a bigger pile. So if your marriage is part of the shit list, then you would want to look for a related piece of that pile. Maybe it’s the turd of apologizing to your partner or owning a part of the dysfunction which has caused the relationship to be dysfunctional in the first place.
Maybe it’s something simple like making your bed, shaving for the first time in a few days (or weeks) or taking out the garbage that’s been piling up for days and is causing your apartment to actually smell like shit.
You attract and see what you aim at.
Remember the video that went viral a few years ago that had a bunch of people under a bridge passing a basketball around? And then you got to the end of the video and it asked you if you saw the guy in the bear costume who moonwalked across the screen, but you somehow had missed it entirely and had to go back to look for it?
Life is the same way. What we focus on, we attract.
Sometimes we are so focused in on the shit that we can’t see the great parts of our lives while they moonwalk by.
Other times we are locked in on the good parts while wearing horse blinders to the crap that’s pilling up around us.
The trick of the game is to take off the blinders and see the whole picture, to take a step back and see all the clean parts and all the parts covered in crap.
This ability to shift focus from the micro out to the macro is important for our ability to clean house
And one last thing that so many people forget to tell you: How you clean up matters.
If you start cleaning up your life and throw things out without getting complete on the impact you’ve had from letting this shit laying around for weeks, months or years… It’s going to leave yet another mess.
But what does getting complete mean?
It means taking ownership for your part in the mess. It means apologizing to people who you have hurt, become complacent with, forgotten about, been harsh with and lacked empathy or compassion with because you were stuck under the weight of your own shit.
Own your shit, and people will understand – because we are all dealing with it.
Look, we all want to clean up our lives in one massive gesture of heroic action.
Most of us envision some herculean-like day where we suddenly wake up, take massive action and clean up our entire lives.
So we spend thousands of dollars on weekends to ‘take massive action,’
buy hundreds of books to teach us how to tidy up our inner and outer lives, hoping we can do it in one day,
or get so tired of not having our shit together that we take some dramatic, life-altering action that leaves us with a whole other pile to deal with.
But this rarely leaves us with the lasting result we are looking for.
Maybe a few of us get results like this, but notice if you’re one of the people who has been buying into the delusion that someday change will magically happen and your entire life will be perfect… only to realize that you’ve been waiting for this to happen for years.
The point here is that you’re in control, not the shit. And many of us have either never realized this or have forgotten it all together. But we are responsible for our own shit, just as we are the ones responsible for cleaning it up.
And more often than not, the fastest way to a clean life, inside and out, is one turd at a time.