Electric Jo!

toothbrush-battle2This week my electric toothbrush stopped working. I  think I bought it in 2005 or 2006, all I remember is that it was very cold outside.

I had more than a decade of use with it so for $90 I can’t really complain. It probably cost me at least 2 to 3 times the cost in replacement brushes over the last 14-15 years, but the thing was pretty indestructible as I dropped it, banged it, accidentally knocked it into a sink full of water and on one occasion, almost knocked it into the toilet. After that I moved it to a not-anywhere-near-the-toilet-but-not-as-convenient-to-the-plug location on the bathroom counter. 

 
I decided this week that it really wasn’t worth it to replace it. It was a good gadget, always reliable and it cleaned my teeth really well. I had some problems with my back molars that required a small brush to get in there but those problems have been fixed so there is really no reason to spend another $100 on a new brush when I have several perfectly good old school toothbrushes in my cupboard. I always used a regular toothbrush when traveling and while I can afford to replace the toothbrush, it just isn’t as important as it used to be. 

 
I think at one point I was swayed by the allure of the idea of owning an electric toothbrush, my tiny step toward announcing  I have made it, I have an electric tooth brush.  It may seem silly for many of you, but to me it was a very big deal. The goal of living debt free, putting money in the bank and now owning an electric toothbrush. Having my cake and eating it too and then brushing my teeth after with the Electric Toothbrush of Affluence.

 
green-brushThe thing is, I don’t think anyone cared or noticed that I owned an electric toothbrush. In the world of fancy gadgets to own, it’s laughable. A lot of people have electric toothbrushes and think nothing of the cost or even considerate one a luxury item. 

 
 Then I thought about how much work this brush sort of was, I had to buy special brushes, I was constantly fiddling the cord because I never lived in a place where the bathroom plug is located near a spacious area of counter top. And there was that nagging thought always in the back of my mind that I might break it or knock it into the toilet or break it as I knock it away to prevent it from falling into the toilet.

 

So back to old school brushing which is easier now cause I can brush my teeth in the shower and I can make a huge droolie mess and not arrive at work with the dreaded toothpaste residue stains all over my shirt which to me is my greatest I have made it moment.

Mental Minimalism

punch1It’s complicated.

No It’s Not.

I thought about this while swimming laps last week. While I am a minimalist in the sense of possessions,  I realized that I am more of a mental minimalist.

Does that mean I am intentionally dumbing myself down?

No!

Wait, yes!

Years ago someone told me that their interpretation of KISS wasn’t:

keep it simple stupid

but

keep it stupid, simple

The idea stuck.

We (by we I also include myself) seem to be hell bent on adding to our own mental overload which leads to decision fatigue and irritability cause we never stop having to think about trivial and stupid things and then there is no mental energy for learning or growth thinkin’.

It’s chaos.

I have a theory that people purposely create chaos so that when they fail, which happens a lot, it’s fucking chaos, so they can justify that the chaos was just too difficult a challenge to overcome and that’s why they failed. If one eliminates the chaos, then one might have to soul search why one failed and that might bring up, you know, feelings. And accountability.

That I know cause I have failed a lot. I rocked the fail. I say this through gritted teeth but I almost always learn from these failures. And the whole feelings part really really sucks.

One of the reasons I do not fit in the corporate world is that I am all about clean lines and efficiency and the corporate world is not all about clean lines and efficiency. CEOs and other richer than me people with letters after their job titles say/want efficiency but it does happen because they don’t want it to happen.

The thinking appears to be crisis mode is easier to manage than avoiding the crisis in the first place. That takes a bit of effort and planning. Plus office politics and gross incompetency derails that idea pretty quickly.

I have tried over and over again in the last 15+ years to get managers to understand the importance of writing stuff down and cross referencing the info so it’s super duper accessible but time after time I just get resistance and the tired old “well it’s your job to do answer questions” or “you have to learn to roll with the punches.”

Or we could answer the questions before the questions have to be asked! Or we could create a punch free environment in the first place.

So now I’ve outlined in a very long winded way all your faults. Hurrah for me!

Now what?

Dumb it down! It really is that simple.

Get rid of the minor, yet mentally draining things in your day. You can’t control the boss’ 17 point plan for paperclip inventory and distribution, but you can put your bills on auto-pay and check the weather forecast the night before to figure out what to wear the next day. Pick up that book on the bookshelf that you want to read and just start reading. And if it’s no good, give it away. To a library or a thrift store. Don’t obsess which friend would like the book or not. That’s your friend’s mental clutter, not yours.

Create a system and if it fails, tweak it. It’s going to be messy and inelegant. There’s probably typos in this post and after my swim I will read it again and fix the mistakes. No big deal and not worth obsessing over.

Work steadily, one thing at a time for full mental sharpness.

It’s really that stupid!