Melissa Schmalenberger, Published September 27 2013
Possessions can be barrier to our growthHow many of us go to a job and work to pay for the things that society thinks we should have – a bigger house, a flashy car, a lake home, a boat, a designer purse, the latest tech gadget? I challenge all of us to stop doing the “trying-to- keep-up-with-the-Joneses thing” and start the “trying-to-be-better-human-beings-thing.”
It is hard to make the conscious decision to be a better person. We are bombarded by messages to buy, buy, buy. We are begged by our children to buy things or, worse yet, we think by buying our kids the latest gadget they will love us. But when you strip away all the bright shiny objects, what is left?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
E Find a common activity that your family enjoys and do more of it. Is it sitting by a dock with a fishing pole in your hand? Is it playing a board game?
I remember driving with a friend past an exclusive country club on the West Coast. He said to me that he is going to get a membership there so that he can golf with his son. I reminded him that his son doesn’t golf. Oh yeah.
Make sure the activity fits the person for whom it is intended. Find out what your kids like to do and don’t assume that they want to do what you want to do. And, for heaven’s sake, an exclusive country club membership is not the way to find out if your kid likes to golf.
E Find some hands-on learning opportunities. Most communities are full of classes or lectures from visiting interesting people.
I attend our local TEDxFargo events. I am always amazed at the talent our community can pull in from outside the area as well as inside our own community. Do a Bing search for a topic you are interested in learning more about and see what comes up.
If you live in an isolated area, you will be amazed at what is offered online through some really good websites or YouTube videos. I always tell my organizing clients to recycle all of their owners manuals as there is a YouTube video that will show you how to do anything. Want to learn to play piano? There are some cool videos out there that will show you how. Go ahead, try searching for something now.
E Find a group to support you in becoming a better person. I meet weekly with my mastermind group where we discuss a section of the book we are reading. This group of ladies helps push me past my comfort zone and think.
I have a friend who is new to sobriety and working hard in Alcoholics Anonymous. She has found support through her new community of sober friends to help her push through her struggles and work the program.
For some it may be joining a faith group. When my boys were young it was very important for me to be surrounded by moms who could help me be a better parent and my moms groups were invaluable.
E Find a book to support your new interest. I am always reading a couple of different books at a time. Many are spiritual or business-related and a few are laugh out loud books of fiction. Some books I read as an escape and some I read to be a better person.
I even get recommendations now from my 17-year-old son, who recently told me to get off of Facebook and finish that book he told me to read. The book was called “The Seven Mindsets To Live Your Ultimate Life” by Scott Shickler. And yes the irony of what my son said to me and the title of the books is not lost on me.
The goal here is to get you thinking. I don’t want you to fill your house with more things that you think you should have, but rather start to fill your mind and soul up with other things – things that cost very little but have a great payout. Try to add some clutter to your mind and stay away from adding clutter into your home.
Ms. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger, operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a professional organizer based out of Fargo and her website can be found at www.mssimplicity.com. Email her at email@example.com.