“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary” – Pablo Picasso
Just as there is a time to create more of what you want in your life, there is also a time to destroy what you don’t want. When you think about improving your life you often focus on the things you would like to have but don’t. You then focus on bringing those things into your life.
But you don’t often think about the things you already have in your life that you need to get rid of. Many times you carry a lot of stuff with you that has outlived it’s useful life. When that happens you need to destroy parts of your life before you can create more.
Be like a forest fire
I’m sure there are many things you would like to create in your life, but what would you like to destroy? Are there skills you use regularly that you don’t enjoy much? Are there people in your life who you just don’t connect with anymore? Is your home filled with a bunch of stuff that you no longer use?
When you destroy parts of your life you are making room for new parts. You are making room for creation. Just like when a forest fire burns up the dead parts and makes room for new growth, you are destroying what is already dead so that new growth can occur.
Getting rid of physical stuff
My current “destruction” project is to de-clutter my apartment. I’m surprised that even in a relatively small space, so much stuff can sit around and not be used (or even remembered!).
Already, I’ve recycled/donated/thrown away magazines from 1995, papers from college, clothes I forgot I even had, out of date electronics, and books I had read once and hadn’t looked at in 10 years. It’s amazing the physical stuff that can pile up in your life.
Getting rid of non-physical stuff
Most of us are carrying around with us an amazing amount of useless physical stuff, but what about less tangible things?
For instance, the way that we see ourselves is subject to creation and destruction. Hopefully the image that we carry of ourselves matches who we really are. But what if it doesn’t?
A couple of years ago I quit a job that I hated. But along with the job, I was also quitting a vision that I had of myself, one that involved being what I thought “everyone” wanted me to be but that really didn’t match my best self very well.
When I destroyed that vision of myself I opened my life up for new opportunities that much better suited me. I was carrying around a vision of who I was, that frankly, was not who I was. I burned it up in the fire, and something new grew in it’s place.
Identify what you don’t need
So how do you know which things you need to get rid of? Here are a few ways to tell that something needs to go from your life.
You’ve forgotten it even existed – This is mostly for the physical stuff that we have, but when you don’t even remember that you own something, it’s time to get rid of it. Someone else can probably make better use of it.
You’re bored with it – This can be in regards to both physical and non-physical stuff. If you have something in your life that you once enjoyed but now find boring, it’s time for that thing to go. Maybe you have run 3 miles everyday for the last 10 years. You enjoyed it at first and liked the challenge, but lately you just do it out of habit and are getting pretty bored with it. Maybe it’s time to take up biking or swimming. Even though you want to continue your workouts, it’s time for a new activity.
It feels like a chore – When parts of your life stop being enjoyable and start feeling like an item on your to-do list, it’s probably time for that thing to go. Maybe you have a friend who you just don’t feel as connected to anymore and hanging out with them is starting to feel like an obligation. Cutting down the amount of time you spend with them is probably a good idea because it makes room for a new, more fulfilling relationship.
It holds you back – Just like my example above of getting rid of a certain vision of myself, sometimes we hold onto a way of thinking that doesn’t do us any good. What beliefs do you hold about yourself that limit your fulfillment? Do you have patterns in your life that seem to sabotage what you want? Take a look at the things that hold you back and then get rid of them!
Are there things that you could get rid of in your own life? What tips do you have for getting rid of things you don’t need? Share your thoughts in the comments!