Maybe it's just a weird week. Three times in the past three days, I've bumped into someone I know and started a conversation with, "Hey, how ARE you?"

Nothing unusual about that. But the responses were all discussions of problems with STUFF. Cars. Computers. Sprinkling systems. Lawnmowers. Burglar alarms. Phones. Dishwashers. Everybody's stuff was causing headaches. Okay, so I guess the short answer to the question would have been, "I have a headache."

It's not that I didn't want to hear the story behind the headache--it's that the headache wouldn't have existed without all that stuff.

Is your stuff causing you headaches? Do you spend more time and energy and money on maintaining your things than on improving yourself? It's easy to get caught up in it, isn't it?

I don't want to complain about stuff. I'd rather not have it.

Okay, so we have to have a home, some form of transportation, and some way to interact with the world. But maybe we don't need the biggest, fastest, hippest version of all three.

Take a look at your stuff, and think about what it takes to maintain it. Now, think about the time and energy you spend investing in yourself and your own development as an Excellent Human.

Who's the or your STUFF?

Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian poet, philosopher, painter, songwriter, composer and Nobel laureate, said this:

"The sparrow is sorry for the peacock at the burden of his tail."

Which are you...the sparrow or the peacock?

The cool thing about Excellence is that it doesn't require stuff. It's available to everyone, whether you are the sparrow or the peacock. All you need is your mind and the time to use it.

Take note of how much time you spend worrying about your things. If it turns out that your stuff is taking over your mindspace, realize you have a choice. You can CHOOSE to worry less about it, or you can CHOOSE to pare it down.

Guess what? It's easier to pare down than to stop worrying.

Albert Einstein is one of my favorite thinkers. One of his Three Rules of Work is this:
"Out of clutter, find simplicity."

Use your mind--and maybe your muscles--to take control of your stuff. Start this weekend. Clear off your desk. Sort through the junk in your closet. Clean out your garage. What do you really need, anyway? Be ruthless, and then be generous--donate your items. Don't you feel lighter just thinking about it?

Simplify your stuff. You'll have fewer headaches, and more time for Excellence.

And maybe you'll have something more inspiring to talk about when someone asks how you are.

© Copyright 2003, Maya Talisman Frost

Author's Bio: 

Maya Talisman Frost has been massaging minds since 1983. She uses a unique blend of philosophy, compassion and humor to develop clarity, jumpstart creativity, and promote excellence. Her articles, courses, and workshops have inspired thinkers in over 60 countries around the world. She offers a free weekly e-zine, the Friday Mind Massage, as well as an audio CD set and an ebook version of her popular course, Massage Your Mind!: Defining Your Life Philosophy. For more information, visit her website at