My understanding (from a reliable personal source) is that the two words that are the title of this blog entry mean very different things. So many times I’ve said to this person: “If I could just get organized,” or “I want to get organized” or some other version of the same. I tell him this when we are talking about my feeling overwhelmed by life’s “busyness.” This person always tells me, “You don’t need to get organized, you need to simplify.” Ok, in the beginning I listened. But, he kept telling me the same thing every time we talked about it. His counsel started to get on my nerves; why should I always listen to him? Why did I ask for his counsel and then get aggravated by it? Why did I feel he seemed to think he had all the answers? His advice in this area was his mantra for making my life more manageable and enjoyable. Besides, I thought, the simplicity movement is just another marketing gig to sell hundreds of books, videos and speaking engagements, no? His advice wasn’t so original after all.
Since pursuing quietness is my one and only resolution this year, it seemed reasonable when thoughts of these past conversations began creeping into my consciousness of late. It was starting all over again. Why did he always say the same thing? What did he really mean? Aren’t the two words interchangeable? Doesn’t it stand to reason that if I were “organized,” my life will be “simplified.” Does it matter which comes first? I was beginning to get a headache.
So, tonight, I decided to do what any intelligent human being living in the 21st century does when seeking knowledge quickly; I sat down in front of the flickering screen and went to the Google search page. I typed in the words, “simplify or organize” and within 0.14 seconds, I got 1,960,000 results! Whoa! Where to start? I began reading through the headings. Much to my amazement, most of the titles contained both words, connected with the word, “and” — implying they were the same. Ah hah! I was about to prove this person wrong. I was about to discover that these words had the same meaning. After almost an hour of reading, I was getting confused. I decided to look up the words the old-fashioned way, in a dictionary!
This led me to old faithful, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. Confession: I went to the online version – after all, it’s 2011, right? Here is what I found:
Definition of SIMPLIFY
: to make simple or simpler: as a : to reduce to basic essentials b : to diminish in scope or complexity : streamline c : to make more intelligible : clarify
Definition of ORGANIZE
1: to cause to develop an organic structure
2: to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole : integrate
3: to set up an administrative structure for b : to persuade to associate in an organization; especially : unionize
4: to arrange by systematic planning and united effort
After all that reading and searching and opening new windows, there it was – an explanation that was SIMPLE and I could understand. OK, so maybe he was right. No wonder I’ve always looked up to him. After all, this reliable personal source, this person of interest, is my big brother. He isn’t just my big brother, he is a friend, a counselor and a critic. He helps me, he teaches me and best of all, he listens to me.
I guess what I am trying to say is that even though I might be a slow study, I’ve come to realize the wisdom of his words. It is about simplifying. To move forward, I need to begin reflecting on what is most important to me and focus on those aspects of my life. The rest of the “noise” will go away and I won’t need to organize anything. The pieces of my life will fit together perfectly. Thanks, Chuck.