Who Sets the Standards

Who Sets the Standards

Some people have what seems to be an obsessive need for beauty and order. Even low-level chaos creates so much static and over-stimulation for them that it makes them feel a bit crazy. And it may be that when things are even a little out of order, they can’t find their keys or remember to put out the trash. These people benefit from a tidy, well organized, beautiful environment.

Some people can tolerate a moderate amount of disorder and can function for periods of time with loosely constructed systems and occasional maintenance. Some people would like a more orderly environment but put a higher priority on work or time with their families, and don’t get around to making big changes until their children leave home or retirement rolls around.

Over the years I have observed that almost everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject of how a living space should be kept. Those who keep a tidy environment often feel that everyone else should too.  And those who don’t keep such a tidy environment often feel they should and berate themselves for not doing so. When those who share space are involved, it can be a sensitive and sometimes volatile issue. At those times, compromise is usually necessary, with both parties being willing to make adjustments.

When it comes to a space that belongs exclusively to you, however, it is important to avoid standards imposed by an outside source, and to instead find your own level of function and comfort. In this case, the answer to who sets your standard is you do!

So, spend a little time thinking about the influence and effects that disorder and disharmony have on your life, your work, your play and your spirit. Consider how much structure, order, and beauty you need to function easily and productively. How much you need to feel comfortable, happy and supported in your life. Then, set some standards and begin to bring your surroundings into alignment with them.

Don’t Compare

One Person’s Experience. One of my clients has had a successful business for over 25 years, manages much of her own investment portfolio, and has a number of other interests, many of which involve paper and planning. One day, while we were ordering her chaos around a little, she (in a state of frustration and pique) demanded to know, “Why doesn’t my mother have this problem?”

“What does your mother do?” I asked.

After a moment of thought she grimaced and said, “She plays golf and bridge.”

“Hmm,” I replied. “Not particularly paper intensive pursuits.”

We laughed and returned to our work.

So don’t compare yourself to others. You and your needs are unique depending on, among other things, your personality, interests, work style, life style, life purpose . . . and, where you are in your cycle of life.

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