“You gotta challenge all assumptions. If you don’t, what is doctrine on day one becomes dogma forever after,” John Boyd once said. He was right.
We become so stuck on ourselves, our ways, that these patterns becomes the dogma of our lives and homes. Our assumptions stick, and the image of ourselves can be so rigid and inaccurate that we miss the mark of our potential.
More than relying on the status quo for guidance or succumbing to creature comforts, it’s our internal blindness to who we really are that most influences the choices we make about our stuff. It isn’t necessarily a resistance to change, it’s that we don’t even know that there are choices to confront. We rely on life events to shake and remind us that while too many choices can be overwhelming, we are so damned lucky to have them. This is where the practice of re-evaluating comes in. That’s right, no fancy name or strategy or gimmick, just the work we so often avoid doing.
It’s time to re-evaluate traditions, predictions of our futures, and the importance of the past. Re-evaluate whether an object is used enough to make it’s stay worthwhile. Re-evaluate the identity we hold so close in our imagination but don’t fully embody in practice.
It’s time to re-evaluate those “just because’s” that are cluttering our lives. Re-evaluate the pain of mementos through the process of reminiscing just enough to know that we are done and can finally move on. Re-evaluate the way we cook, the way we shop, the way we clean.
It’s time to re-evaluate the stuffed away bin we pass by because of it’s label, instead of dismantling it’s contents. Re-evaluate relationships in our lives that no longer hold meaning or cause more stress than joy. Re-evaluate our decision-making habits.
As John Boyd said, assumptions must be challenged. Are you keeping something around because it was a mainstay when you were growing up? Something your parents always taught you to have? Are you expecting your life will continue it’s current trajectory or do you worry life will go terribly wrong and you must be prepared (with possessions) for every turn? Turn these assumptions on their heads.
This is a call to action. Invest in re-evaluating so you don’t get caught in the current of life. Schedule this work in your calendar and consider how you will use the time effectively. Exercise your ability to re-examine, and enjoy the sense of renewal that comes with it.