“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Ernst Hemingway is credited with saying “Defrost the refrigerator,” was the first step in being a successful writer. I think that perhaps he was not speaking solely of the first step of being a successful writer but the first step of being successful at anything.
It is commonly stated that when Hemingway said this he was referring to the ability to procrastinate. I too have amazing procrastination skills. There are some things I do not enjoy doing yet and will put off for amazing amounts of time. On a day where I need to scrape the cat boxes and do laundry and that is all I have on my “to do” list for the day. I will do laundry, clean the kitchen, label my cookbook, vacuum the floor, go for a walk, call my in-laws…everything to fill my entire waking time except scrape the cat boxes.
I do this in my mind too. Dominic and I are working on our fortune and building our own business and brand. I am completion in a regional competition surrounding one of my passions. Both of these require defrosting our brains. For our entire life we have been taught that the path to success is, go to school, get good grades and when you graduate with your degree, you will have the right job with more than enough money waiting for you. Neither of us found those job offers waiting with our diplomas. None of our friends did either. So we have to take steps back and figure out what do we need to do to be where we need to be.
Maybe Hemingway wasn’t actually speaking to procrastination so much as he was speaking to cleaning out the junk to make way for the good stuff. When you defrost a refrigerator, you have to take everything out of it and look at it and decide what to keep and what to trash as well as taking the time to clear out the ice and frost from the freezer. Our minds can be a lot like freezers. We acquire many things in our minds and in our fridge. Things we keep thinking we will use them later but usually, we have some good things we actually will use in there and a whole lot of crap we won’t that we need to just throw out.
Being successful means that I have had to go through and keep going through all the things I have stored in my mind, like the belief that after college it would all work out somehow. It turns out that after college, you need to work it out still. Just like I had to work and study and learn to earn my degree, I now have to work and learn to earn my fortune. In the back of my mind was the bag of twenty-year-old peas that no one will ever eat belief that I was still the white trailer trash I was born as and that I could never rise above that. And just like that bag of peas in the freezer, I had to decide if I wanted to keep it or throw it out. I decided to throw it away. I did not want to save that to eat later. Years ago, I had decided to keep it still though I cannot tell you why.
My brother-in-law is quite happy living as white trailer trash. He has a trailer that isn’t even in a trailer park and for him, that is as good as he wants to have it. Dom and I dream bigger. We have to remove those self-limiting beliefs and replace them with other beliefs. For me, one of the beliefs I have replaced it with is that I am successful. And success to me is not trailer-park-trash. So perhaps the success process actually does begin with defrosting the fridge, not with procrastination but with clearing out all the stuff you have accumulated and are “saving” to make room for what you actually want to have.
Now if you will excuse me, I do need to scrape those litter boxes.
Life’s too short to have bad days! What are you doing to make today FANTASTIC?