Wooden art doll with its head squeezed in a vise.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” ~ Helen Keller

How optimistic are you? Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty kind of person?

When you wake up in the morning, are you generally hopeful about the day’s outcome or dreading something awful happening? Is that based on fact or story?

No doubt there are or will be events in our lives that will create a sense of dread or even stop us in our tracks. That should be an exception, not the rule—and based on something scarier than the sad corner in your basement or the box of photos under your bed.

Image what Helen Keller faced and overcame and suddenly that jumble of dead electronics on your closet floor seems rather tame.

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right,” and bell hooks reminds us that 90% of the things we worry about never happen.

So if you are avoiding getting organized because you don’t think you can or are afraid you will never be finished, dig in anyway. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Something you’re finished with leaves. Not bad even if not perfect.

When you procrastinate, you may tell yourself that you’re only being a realist, that you’re anticipating all the things that might go wrong, but really you’re just talking yourself out of taking one step forward.

The strength of optimism comes from realizing that although there may be obstacles, taken individually and as they come, you can overcome each of them in time. Regardless of whether they are imaginary OR very real and staring us in the face like that box of winter clothes, the pile of folders with old bills, or your computer desktop filled with photos you’ve downloaded but haven’t labeled or filed.

When it comes to getting organized, somewhere between The Little Engine That Could and Eeyore is a good place to be and if you had to choose one, I’d say go with the engine. I think Miss Keller would agree.

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at andrewmellen.com.

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