I am closing one of my offices and moving some of the stuff to my basement ( that is a story for a different day). I sold some of the furniture and then got the movers come in to move the remaining furniture. They came in, saw and conveyed to me that they can’t move all the computer monitors, because of liability issues. So, they left all the monitors, took away the desks, chairs and the computers and moved them conveniently to my basement. Once, they left, I had a mess of monitors on the floor. Somehow, in that maddening moment, I found that mess to be highly inspirational and I took a picture of the mess.
I looked at that mess and realized that we don’t like messes. We want life to be clean, clear, straight and consistent, but that is not the reality. We have messy relationships, messy habits, messy emotions and I think that messiness is what makes us human. If you want to make a shift in any aspect of life, the change is messy. If you are trying to learn a new skill, you are going to be awkward in the beginning. But, if you keep on practicing and don’t give up, you will get better. How many times have you started something, realized that you are not good at it and just quit? I suggest that we should be comfortable with occasional messiness, because messiness reflects a shift and a step in a new direction.
I love the 4C formula from Dan Sullivan. According to Dan, every change that you bring in your life, you go through 4 steps. The first step is Commitment. This step reflects the decision to make the change. Commitment to a decision is critical for the accomplishment of any goal. The second step is Courage. Courage is the phase of messiness. When you are practicing but are not good at it. It is test of will power to continue through the Courage phase. Many of us quit, when we find ourselves at embarrassingly bad skill levels for any activity. This is the toughest phase and if you stick to it, you will eventually come to the third step of Capability. This is the step where your constant practice has made you capable and skilled at that activity. The fourth step is Confidence. Confidence comes from the fact that now we are capable in that activity. You can rinse and repeat these steps with any other activity or skill that you want to master.
So, next time when you feel life to be messy, accept it to be a part of life, clean it up and move forward. Messiness is an important part of growth. When you look at the perfection of the gymnast during the Olympics, what you don’t see is the messiness and the imperfection when she started the journey in the gym. There can’t be any order without the mess. All great achievements are preceded by the periods of doubt and messiness. It is during these times that we have stick to the task and keep on working till we win. Remember that winners never quit and quitters never win!