The Problem With Buckets
They seem so harmless. Round, big empty containers waiting to be filled. They pretend to be willing partners that beg to help: “Oh that? Just put it right here. We were designed to hold that.”
We hand them our stuff. They graciously hold onto it. In heavy silence.
Closets and cabinets, bins and buckets… they consume any stuff we feed them and take up space anywhere we allow them.
In the container hierarchy, buckets top the list as a popular metaphor for holding key currencies of our lives: time, relationships, and material wants.
If you have full buckets, you are taught to expect *peace of mind.* But is that really so?
Somewhere along the way, buckets change from being useful to us, to us being more useful to them.
The Dark Side of Buckets
Buckets play rough. The higher they fill up, the heavier and harder they become to move. By default, we become hard to move. Why? Because that’s us in the bucket.
We are conditioned over the years to mindlessly fill buckets. Yet we’ve never been taught how to empty them.
I stored in them all the wrong things, and they were full to the brim. The weight of my buckets anchored me. I thought I would deal with them later. Instead, I just accrued more buckets.
This led to the experiment I launched nearly four years ago. It began with a list of questions:
Do I need that?
What does it do?
What is it keeping me from doing?
Can this thing be replaced with an action?
I started with the small task of emptying containers, boxes and closets:
- First, I decluttered containers of poor habits of health that kept showing up in the fridge and pantry.
- After a little progress, I went after the box of wasted time, namely the television box.
- Then, I took on the closet of negative relationships. Facing that task is difficult, but as you dive into it, it gets easier.
(You may have read these bullet points in 15 seconds. But eliminating these key clutter areas of my life took several years.)
As the buckets emptied out, so did their weight, which allowed me to become more agile. This new found agility led to opportunities to learn new skills, develop new interests, and appreciate new and different points of views.
Today, my family and I are emptying the biggest bucket of all. With our years of practice, this big step simply feels like another logical and small step in life agility.
We are proof, that over time, these small steps forward kick heavy buckets out the way.
I, then, transfer my Olympic Gold Medal performance strategies that streamline decision making and actions when engaged in complicated life currents with an aim towards the freedom of playing your own game.