A few weeks ago I sat in on a brief lecture that was focused on personal growth. The analogy being used in the presentation was so simple and yet so perfect. The speaker was comparing us as humans to a rock. Then he held up a split and polished quartz amethyst geode (I had to look this up… I am far from being a gemologist or whatever the right term is). This is the kind of rock we have all seen in souvenir shops at the Any-town museum.
(photo credit: University of Texas)
He went further to explain that seeking personal growth is really like polishing the inner layers of our being. On the outside we still look the same, but personal improvement polishes our insides. Pretty interesting.
As the presentation proceeded, I thought of how this comparison is equally applicable to the act of organizing. The success of a truly good organizing system is dependent on the understanding of the user’s processes. Whenever one studies their behavior, truths are revealed. Therefore, any action that reveals truths about yourself can be considered self improvement, right?
It’s kind of an abstract trail. You start out trying to clean the front of your refrigerator and you end up contemplating the moment you took that picture of your sister helping your daughter fly a kite, then thinking about why that moment struck such a strong chord in your soul. And therefore, is that picture more valuable than the veterinarian’s business card, which is dueling with it for space on the Whirlpool.
When organizing (or designing), we are forced to give thought to importance, priority and value. Ironically, if you have ever taken a walk on a northern Michigan beach and you don’t apply the same thinking, you end up with about 1,043 rocks in your pocket that you just simply can’t live without.