Your surroundings have immense power over your inner life. Clutter and distractions in the environment around you can quickly turn peace into disorder, confusion, and chaos. Some distractions are obvious—like crying children, noisy coworkers, or flashing lights—but many are far more subtle.
As I was looking for a particular shirt in my closet last week, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated & irritable. The task in front of me seemed simple, and yet I was physically & emotionally drained. I took a step back to assess the situation and realized that I'd been confronted with an unnecessary distraction.
It seemed every piece of clothing in that closet was hung on a completely different style of hanger. That might not seem like a big deal, but as my eyes scanned the clothing looking for a particular color or pattern, I couldn't help but be distracted by the numerous colors among the hangers themselves.
Without further ado, I took every article of clothing out of that closet and hung each piece on the same style of black, plastic hanger. A subtle difference, yes, but now I was faced with order where before there was chaos.
That small change gave me a sense of control over my environment and helped me to realize just how many unnecessary distractions I'd allowed to creep into my life.
Often we ignore the details of the atmosphere around us, especially once we've spent a lot of time in the same space. Distractions creep in, slowly but surely, and we begin to accept our environment as it is—rather than continually fighting off chaos and disorder.
This past week my wife and I completely reorganized our home office.
Despite the fact that we had a very full week ahead of us, we stopped everything, stayed up late, and pushed around heavy boxes & furniture until we were satisfied with the results. We even bought a new desk and installed it on the same day.
It wasn't fun—and it wasn't easy—but when we were done we had a completely new workspace, and we'd won a small victory against chaos & disorder.
You have the power to fight off chaos & disorder, but sometimes the task seems overwhelming or impossible. The only way to overcome this is to focus on what you can change first. Start small, and built momentum from there. Before long, you'll be in control of your surroundings and can maximize your ability to focus, create, and find peace.
What small changes can you make to fight off chaos or disorder?