Spring Cleaning - Let Go Of The Old To Make Room For The New
Finally, spring is here in beautiful New Jersey! And with this beautiful weather comes all the fun outside activities we all love to do: softball and baseball, picnics and walks by the lake, and of course my favorite— spring cleaning. This past weekend while working out in the yard before trash day, I picked up an old bag by the mailbox. Curiosity got the best of me, and I opened this bag to find the yellow pages.
For those of you too young to remember, the yellow pages is a phonebook listing of all businesses in the area’s address and phone number. Looking at this book, I realized how quickly technology and the rise of the internet has rendered the printed telephone book useless. Before the internet, to find a specific business nearby, you’d have to flip through pages of businesses to find their phone number so you could call the business and find out their hours, what they do, how much their services cost…all information that now can be found in several seconds using the internet. And for business owners, if their phone number changes, the change can be listed instantly via the internet, as opposed to the next printing of the yellow pages book. What we used to do with Yellow Pages we now do quicker and with the convenience of anywhere we are! Makes you wonder why the yellow pages company would bother with the cost and time to print the phone book.
This blast into the past got me thinking of all the things that we hold onto in life that are no longer useful to us. I think that as humans, we have a tendency to hold onto things we no longer need: shoes, clothes, old hats, the list goes on and on. Not only do we hold onto physical things, but spiritual things as well! Grudges and habits… these are feelings and actions we choose to hold onto, leading us into a sort of tunnel vision. Suddenly we find ourselves stagnant in our routines.
Like an old pair of comfortable shoes, or a broken in baseball glove, we like to hold onto those things that are familiar to us. Reminds me of one of my former coworkers from my time working in the automotive business. One day while working together, I was riding in her car with her on a short business trip and heard a hissing sound. Looking around, I realized the hissing noise around my head was from the window. The seal in the window of her BMW was broken and did not seal properly, letting air from outside in through the broken window seal. Several years later, we were able to secure her a brand new Chevy at no cost. Expecting her to be excited about this new car with less than 10 miles on the odometer, we were all taken aback when she begrudgingly accepted the Chevy with a less than enthused attitude. We had assumed she would be thrilled to have a brand new car with all the bells and whistles her old car didn’t have, but she loved that beat up BMW with its broken window. She was slow to let go of her unreliable car that hissed like a cobra and a jingled like a jazz ensemble.
Now more than ever, thanks to technology, we are living in a rapidly changing world. An oft quoted mantra in the business world is “Adapt or Die”. Adapt to the changing technology, the terminology, sales funnels, and every viral trend that may affect your business—or find yourself stale. What tools are you using in your business that could be simplified, updated or done away with altogether?
Change is often frightening, and our egos can get in the way of changing procedures or getting rid of the clutter in our lives. “I already know how to use the old computer system and it worked fine, why do we need a new one?” “Jeez I’d like to get rid of all these baking dishes that are cluttering up my kitchen, but what if I need to use the 8 miniature cupcake trays that I haven’t used in 10 years?” More times than not, people raise their defenses when confronted with a new way of doing things. Subconsciously we think if there is a new way of doing things, then the old way must be wrong. When we resist these changes, we waste precious time and energy complaining instead of putting that same time and energy into learning the new skills or cleaning out our old junk to make room for new things we might need more.
The Bible says, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. For the patch will pull away from the garment, and a worse tear will result. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:16-17
We must accept that our world is ever changing and will most likely follow the historic trends of changing faster and faster. By challenging our habits and embracing the idea of a spring cleaning in both our personal and professional lives, we can continue to innovate and improve all factions of our lives. When we become complacent and stagnant in our habits and routines, we lose the foresight and ability to keep up with new ideas and ways of doing things.