I’m a poet and my old attitude towards organization was, “I’m too creative to spend time making sure my living space and surroundings are in good order.” As a kid, I often made it a point to choose to let my room become messy. (Just ask my Mom.)
Finally after years of happily creating messes, I realized that being disorganized was potentially costing me, and can cost any of us, great opportunities that are ripe for the picking.
Here’s a tale to illustrate what I’m talking about:
Meet Matt and Pat. Both Matt and Pat have a unique email program that rather than putting their newest emails at the top of the screen, randomly mixes their new emails in with their older emails.
One bright day, an email is sent to both Matt and Pat that simply says, “OPPORTUNITY” in the subject line. However, upon opening this email, it becomes clear that the recipient is eligible to receive a prize of ten million dollars. All the recipient has to do to win is respond to the email within 24-hours. (And for the sake of this story, the email is 100% true and legit.)
Now Matt has a practice of working to clear out his email box every day, so at the end of any given day he will have at most five to ten emails sitting in his inbox. In fact, when the “OPPORTUNITY” email came in he had 6 other emails sitting in his inbox.
On the other hand, Pat always is at least a few weeks behind on cleaning out his inbox. So when the “OPPORTUNITY” email came in he had 523 emails sitting in his inbox.
Matt opened his inbox at 5 pm about an hour after the “OPPORTUNITY” email came in, saw it within 10.5 seconds, opened it within .5 seconds, read it in 43 seconds, jumped up and down for 2.5 minutes and then responded and sent the email in about another 4 minutes.
Matt is happy that he made ten million in 7 minutes and 24 seconds.
Coincidently enough, Pat also opened his inbox at 5 pm. Then he spent the next four hours working through emails. He had a very productive night and pats himself on the back for getting through 83 emails in record time. Though content with all that he has accomplished, Pat is exhausted and exclaims, “Wow, being disorganized is lots of work.”
Unfortunately, the “OPPORTUNITY” email wasn’t one of the 83 emails he went through. (Remember his email program mixes his new emails in with his old emails.) In fact, he won’t find the “OPPORTUNITY” email for another twenty-one days. (Coincidently, the same day he sees his friend Matt on Ellen DeGeneres show joking with her and telling her about how he made ten million dollars in 7 minutes and 24 seconds.)
In this short and sweet story, Matt enjoyed amazing and speedy success, while Pat did not. Was Matt necessarily smarter, inherently more lucky, or blessed with better instincts than Pat? NO, not necessarily! And Matt definitely didn’t work harder.
The difference between Matt and Pat is that Matt chose to spend a greater portion of his time organizing himself and his life so that he could notice and seize the opportunities that were right for him.
Even though, the “OPPORTUNITY” that Matt and Pat received might not come to our inboxes, opportunities have the potential to show up everyday, in our inboxes, in our conversations, in our US Postal mailboxes, and in many other ways. The more organized we are, the greater chance we afford ourselves of confidently noticing and acting upon these opportunities. And acting upon these opportunities can change our lives.
(Now this is a lot for a poet who used to be a messy kid to take in.)
Game of the Day
How can you organize yourself more effectively so that you are able to notice an increasing number of opportunities?
Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset. For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.