A gasp and then silence fell across the room. Jenna, a young and wide-eyed girl behind me said with a soft and nervous voice, “Mommy, are they okay?” Boom! The environment exploded with electrifying sound and brilliant flashes of light. Silhouettes of nearby friends illuminated all around us, projecting living shadows across the room. A melody of “oohs” and “aahs” rose from the crowd. All eyes were fixed on the glowing white screen in front of us. It was grabbing us and pulling us toward an irresistible climax. A rising sound, then a chorus of anticipation filled our ears. Then sweeping notes of joy flooded many of our eyes with tears. The protagonist on the screen had stepped into our souls. We feel how she felt. We see what she saw. We heard what she heard. The moment had stitched us into the story. We had arrived. And yes, Jenna, things are going to be okay. 

Movies tell stories. But they also connect us. They walk us through our own emotions, our own dreams, and our own fears. They scare us. They inspire us. They take us on a fanciful journey. They stir our imagination, transport us to new realities and ultimately entertain, delight, and stir our souls. The art of storytelling through the medium of cinema is an amazing experience. It is needed. Through it we can step outside of our own troubles and into new possibilities. Our human souls yearn for those stories and imagination to take us on journeys we would never venture alone. They can be healing, providing relief and therapeutic inspiration. They can be fun.

As filmmakers, we have the incredible privilege of helping bring this experience to the world. Directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, designers, composers, editors, artists, and other cast members all assemble to bring these stories and experiences to life through visual and auditory means. It is an art-form and craft that ministers the magic of storytelling, delight, and joy to our planet.

This Friday, Inside Out 2 shows up in theaters. Be sure to take your friends and family to see it and encourage others to do the same. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see it, hear it, and of course… feel it too.

A Feast of Words

“Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to the words of knowledge.”– Proverbs

I love coffee. Before sitting down to write this, I had to get up and get a fresh cup. They say, “You are what you eat and drink.” Now, I must confess, my “coffee” is as much milk as it is caffeine. It is like a bolt of energy swimming in a caramel pool of cream. If I am what I eat and drink, I guess I would say I’m a venti iced caffe latte. I’m one cool guy, slightly frothy.

All joking aside, it is true. What you take in becomes part of you. It gets metabolized, converted to energy. When we eat or drink, the nutrients are absorbed by our bloodstream and transported to our cells to fuel us, build our bodies, and repair tissue. We are literally becoming what we consume.

Just as coffee is fuel for the body, so are words to the mind. Words. Those tiny chunks of thought and concepts stream together to form knowledge, wisdom, and instruction. As we consume them, they metabolize into the neural fabric of our mind. New connections are formed in the brain. Electrical impulses dance across the mesmerizing network of living cells, attuning to the cascade of meaning and intelligence, absorbing the nutrients and literally growing new thoughts, concepts, and perceptions. We are becoming what we hear and read.

What are you becoming? What new words are you feeding on today? Did you sip on some tweets, snack on a podcast or feast on a novel? What words are shaping you? Is it a good diet? I confess, it is often easier to go with handy pre-processed words. They taste good and take less time. But they don’t cause you to think deeply or leave a lasting impact. They can even come with unhealthy side effects like misconceptions, biases, and fabrications. I find a healthy diet includes novels, scientific reviews, research papers, and well-informed articles. Be careful what you read.

Words are fuel. They power our life, our worldviews, our capacities to solve problems and our ability to make an impact. Go grab some prose. Stock up on paragraphs and phrases. Chow down on a satisfying dish of poetry. Feast on a nourishing buffet of knowledge and become what you eat. Oh, and feel free to enjoy some coffee while you are at it.

Thanks for reading my words today.

Richard Sherman

I was running late. The previous session had run over. I needed to run! I jogged across the campus to make it to my next meeting. It was in the presentation room at Imagineering HQ. After a quick sprint down the John Hench Graffiti Hallway, I quietly ducked into the venue. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. I followed in a few other late arrivals. The person in front of me and I took a seat on one of the couches in the back. The meeting hadn’t yet started. I let out a sigh of relief and the person next to me smiled and nodded a sympathetic, “Well, at least we made it.” We managed to find some water bottles, a nice treat after a mad dash between meetings. We chitchatted about the water, the sprawling creative campus and the new modernized presentation room.

The meeting finally got underway. The emcee stood at the front of the room on a small riser and addressed the crowd. They had wheeled in a digital piano and a stand mic. The host welcomed everyone and informed us that we were in for a special treat. A renowned guest had joined us today and would be talking to us about their career at Disney as a songwriter and musician. This special guest, he informed us, was a Disney legend and had worked directly with Walt Disney himself. There were some oohs and ahhs across the room as the announcer concluded, “Please join me in welcoming Richard Sherman to the stage.”

We began to clap. My new friend next to me stood up and started walking toward the front of the room. I was stunned! He turned around and looked at me and grinned. I’m pretty sure my face was red. All this time I hadn’t recognized that the friendly soul sitting next to me was none another than one of the most prolific composer-lyricists in the history of family entertainment, Richard Sherman. 

Richard took his seat at the keyboard and began telling us his story. He talked about his time working with Walt Disney. He told how he and his brother, Robert, had composed songs like “Chim Chim Cheree”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “I Wanna Be Like You,” “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room”, “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Feed the Birds”, “Winnie the Pooh,” and of course, “It’s A Small World (After All).” He used the keyboard to tell the stories and punctuate each stage of his career with melody and rhyme. He sang to us. He taught us. He inspired us. He entertained us. Richard was simply amazing.

This past weekend, Richard composed his final outro. The narrative of his 95 years had reached its end. While his story may have ended, his songs never will. His words, his choruses and his melodies will live on forever. Like him, they sing to our souls. They teach us to smile, optimistically and cheerfully embrace the future, our work and each other. They entertain and delight us. Richard tickled the keys of the human spirit. He will be missed, but his words will continue across the planet for years to come. 

And finally, just a reminder, don’t hesitate to greet those you sit next to, even if you are late to the meeting. You never know who you might accidentally meet. But then again, I guess it does make sense, it is A Small World, after all.

“No matter what you do, give it everything you’ve got.” – Richard M. Sherman

Watch “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story” on Disney Plus:

Be a Leader

What is leadership? It must be important. Everyone’s looking for it. We have a never-ending supply of books, articles, and conferences on the subject. But is there a simple answer? I confess, I don’t have one. I won’t pretend to be the expert in leadership, but I am a student of it, and it is amazing what you learn on your trips around the sun. I think we sometimes equate leadership to popularity or fame. The loudest voice may be identified as a leader, but is it, really? Some say leadership is in your DNA. You are born with it. Some say, it is thrust upon you by your circumstances or perhaps your training. I don’t dismiss that, but I also think it is bigger and broader than that.

I believe anyone can be a leader. Leadership is not about rank or a journey to the top. It’s not about power. It’s not about entitlement, position, or authority. No, instead, leadership is about caring for others. It is about stewardship, it is about nurturing, supporting, and shepherding the world’s greatest treasure: human beings. Our family. People. The most important thing on planet earth.

While people are brilliant, creative, and passionate, we are also complex and messy. We make mistakes. We trip, we stumble, we sometimes lose hope. We need humble leaders to inspire, encourage, and coach us. They help us see beyond ourselves. They help us look over the horizon and face the unknown. They nudge, empower, care for, and benefit us more than themselves. We model them, respect them, trust them, and follow them. They are true guides, true servants, and true leaders. The world needs more leaders. 

Now it’s your turn. Be a leader. I believe in everyone is a spark, an empathetic guide inside seeking to emerge and help our fellow travelers along the way. Let it out. Look for souls that need help. Dream into their lives as much as your own. Take them to the places they always wanted to go, but never had the ambition to try. Challenge them. Care for them. Encourage them. Be a leader.

AI Assistants

“That’s not AI, that’s three IF statements in a trench coat”

“This can’t be happening!” John was stressed out. He stared intently at the screen with bloodshot eyes betraying his failing attempt to hide his all-nighter. He never intended to stay up all night on this coding binge, but he was eager to impress his new team. 

Fresh out of college, this was John’s first real project. It had been going exceptionally well and earlier in the night, he was euphoric with the progress. But now he was stuck. The complex logic that had previously worked was no longer delivering the right results with the new test data. What changed? Quickly he began adding debug prints and assertions to narrow in on the defect. 

This was going to take several more hours, he thought to himself. Anxiety set in. Just four hours before the demo was scheduled. “Why in the world did I schedule that demo?”

Then it hit him. Didn’t Julie tell him that they had just rolled out a new AI tool for coders? He flipped over to his email inbox and found the announcement. “Step 1: Download this plugin to your IDE.” He followed the steps and soon the plugin came to life. A dropdown menu appeared highlighting quick action features like “Explain this”, “Document this”, “Test this”, and then he saw the new AI gourmet hamburger menu serve up a glorious “Fix this” tile.

“Yes!” Click! He literally held his breath. The AI went to work. A spinning wheel soon started churning out text. It first described the section of code he was debugging, correctly outlining how it was building the result, even complimenting him on the code. Ugh, that’s not helping, he thought. But then the AI assistant added at the end, “However, this one line seems to have an incorrect indentation that could be preventing expected results. Would you like me to fix it (Y/n)?”

John laughed and almost cried as he clicked yes. “Of course! I can’t believe I missed that!” Suddenly, his code was working as expected. He was ready for the demo, even if he was more ready for a good night’s sleep.


Sasha was the departmental wizard. She was the most senior engineer and had more history in the company than anyone else. Need to know how something worked or the history on why it worked the way it did? Just ask Sasha. She probably built it! As she fired up her IDE to start the new project, she smiled. “I’m going to AI the heck out of this” she said to herself. The keyboard exploded to life as her fingers flooded the screen with instructive text. She described the data structures, global settings, APIs and logic required to complete the project. Like magic, classes and functions began to appear in translucent text below her cursor. 

“Tab. Tab. Enter.” she verbalized her actions, smiling with each keystroke as code materialized on the screen. The AI assistant was filling in all the code. It was powerful! Quickly scanning the logic, she hummed her approval. 

“Nice!” she exclaimed and scrolled down and entered more instructive comments, again followed by the AI assistant quickly filling out the details. She made some minor changes to variables to match the company style. The AI adapted and started using the same style in the next coding blocks. 

Sasha shook her head, “This is just brilliant,” she laughed. Further down she began writing the complex logic to complete the project. The AI didn’t get all of it right. But it was easy to tweak the changes she needed. She occasionally ignored some of the suggestions from the AI but was quick to accept the suggestions that would hydrate data structures when she needed them, removing that tedium and making it easier for her to tackle the more difficult sections.

“Done!” Sasha folded her arms and looked at the team around her with a great deal of satisfaction. “It’s working!” This 6-hour job only took 3 hours to complete, thanks to this AI assistant.


Coming soon, to an IDE near you… These new AI assistants are starting to show up everywhere. They are ready to help. They can code, test, debug, and fix. They are always ready to serve. But the question is, are you ready for them?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready! I first started using GitHub CoPilot for my personal side projects, allowing it to help write code, translate code, review, and even fix my code. Like those fanciful stories above, I’ve been nothing but amazed at this incredible tool and its ability to amplify my efforts. It feels so good, so empowering and expressive.

I confess, I love coding. I believe every technologist, including leaders, should stay “in the code” to some degree. It’s both grounding and inspiring at the same time. Coding is art. It’s so satisfying to sculpt a digital canvass and watch a program emerge. But I admit, these AI coding assistants took it to the next level for me. I feel like the creative director for my projects, not just the keyboard hacker. I nudge my idea out there and the AI reads my mind, filling in the tedium and doing the toil for me. It’s simply brilliant!

Some adult supervision required. Every suggestion the AI makes is an opportunity for human judgement. I confess that I have learned a lot from the AI suggesting an approach I wouldn’t have done myself, but I have also seen it make a miss or two. All good. I don’t mind helping my digital Padawan navigate the complexities of programming. As the coding Jedi Masters, that is my role after all. Review the work. Validate the logic. Yes, and even learn a thing or two myself.

Someone once said, “You’re not going to lose your job to AI, you’re going to lose your job to someone who knows how to use AI.” Get busy learning how to use these new tools. I think you will love them. Prove me wrong! Are you using tools like GitHub CoPilot yet? What are your experiences? I would love to hear from you.

These tools are the worst they will ever be, they are just going to get better. But I believe the same thing about all of you. We have an incredible ability to adapt, create and become more than we were before. Go at it, learn something new, and grow.

Four Keys to Happiness

It is undeniable. Some people aren’t happy. In fact, I have heard that 6 out of 7 Dwarfs are not Happy. Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself. 

All joking aside, are you happy? Do you feel content, satisfied, joyful and serene? Look, I get it. There are times we aren’t happy. Happiness is a complex and multifaceted concept that encompasses many psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social factors. It is a complex gradient that varies over time. That intricacy means it can be as hard to predict as weather in the Midwest and often, even more difficult to change. But don’t lose hope, it can be changed!

I’m not an expert on this subject, but I am a perpetual practitioner of happiness. I can’t help it. There is so much good to experience. Life is an incredible gift. It is packed with so many things to savor and enjoy. Every season of life opens a new chapter of surprises. These are meant to be enjoyed, not just survived. In my experience and studies, I have run across several keys to happiness. Here are four that I’m thinking about this week:

  • Hope – Something amazing is coming! I’m convinced that practicing optimism, focusing on positive aspects of our current and coming situations will help breathe life into those future realities. There is something magical and even transforming about faith. It changes us and begins to radiate out from us to others. It can even change the world. Be hopeful. Be optimistic.
  • Gratitude – There are few things in life that will provide an immediate return on investment. Thankfulness is one of them. With all your heart, express sincere gratitude to someone else, and watch what happens. You will feel it. Your brain will release neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, propelling you towards feelings of happiness and well-being. Wired into us is the need to be thankful. We are optimized for gratitude, yet we often fail to express it. Please, if you are reading this, stop right now and find someone you can appreciate. Express your gratitude. Notice how that changes things. And if you did that, thank you. And I mean that, with all my heart.
  • Engagement – Setting goals and pursuing activities that align with your values, interests, and talents will unlock overall well-being and happiness. You have a purpose. Your life will make an impact. Every human life is immensely valuable and precious. You are holding yours in your hands. What will you do with it? One of life’s greatest joys is being who you were made to be. You are unique and you are needed. You were made to be the part you play in this grand composition of the universe. Play your role and engage in the activities made for you, the hard work and fun work, with all your heart and mind. Are you engaged? If not, let’s talk!
  • Focus – Practice mindfulness. Be present and absorbed in the current moment. Each day is full of everlasting moments. Like Easter eggs, they are hidden all around us. We can walk right by them and miss some of life’s greatest joys. Pause, stoop down and pick up each moment. Focus on it, examine it, and savor it. Isn’t it wonderful? Let the detail and intricacy wash over you. Meditate on this moment and practice all the above. Be optimistic, thankful, and engaged. Don’t let this moment pass you by.

Happiness is a gradual, ongoing process. Setbacks will come. Don’t give up. Plant the seeds of hope, gratitude, engagement, and focus. The harvest of happiness will come soon enough.

Be Redemptive

I’m sore. In addition to hunting for eggs this weekend, I needed to do a bunch of work around the house. A week ago, we received the news that our kitchen sewer line under our house had ceased to exist. I wish that was an April fools day joke. Unfortunately, it was true. The half-a-century old cast iron line that runs from the kitchen to the center of our house had completely corroded and collapsed. The solution? Saw and blast away the foundation in the middle of the house and replace the line. I remember feeling lightheaded and slightly dizzy before I hit the floor. Maybe I exaggerate, but it was a shock. Thankfully after some measurements, the plumber was able to plot a new path that would route it outside the house without invading the foundation. It would require cutting through the patio, brick walkways and the driveway, but it was 10 billion percent better than cutting up our tile floor and main foundation. 

Construction started. The contractor even promised to “put it back, exactly like they found it.” Workers wielding saws, jackhammers, grinders, shovels, trowels, and mixers showed up and started working their magic. I drove into our driveway on Thursday and noticed the holes in the front of the house had been closed. The concrete was in place. But then I saw it, the repaired brick sidewalk that the pipe had to pass looked more like a rumble strip more than a flat sidewalk. Edges of bricks were sticking up a good half inch above the rest. Oh no! It would definitely trip anyone walking up to our house. At first, I thought it must have been just roughed in, but no, the mortar was in place. After discovering that the contractor would not return to fix it for many days, I knew I had to act. First, because the mortar was still wet but drying quickly, and second, because I’m massively impatient and obsessive about things being out of place. 

I dug it up. I took out the bricks and the mortar. My wife, bless her for putting up with my “engineer everything” OCD, even helped me level the bed. After a trip to the hardware store, which by the way always results in me buying more toys, I mean tools than I need, we went to work placing the bricks back in the proper herringbone pattern. We used a level to ensure every brick was plumb and the grade was consistent for stormwater runoff. I mixed and added the mortar to set the pattern. As with any project, we couldn’t help but expand the scope a little and ended up cleaning up the brick edge next to the adjacent flower bed. All too soon it was nighttime. Thankfully, we had completed the task. We had our sidewalk restored and a little bit more. And yes, in case you are wondering, we informed the contractor. I wasn’t going to let them touch the back patio that needed similar treatment. I would be doing that myself and completed it this weekend as well.

I am exhausted. It is a lot of work carrying 60-pound bags of mortar around and floating concrete into place. But I am so glad I did. It looks so good. I spent the whole time wondering how someone could do the work that sloppy and think it was done. 

I know I’m high maintenance. But to be fair, I come by it honest. My dad was the same. He always insisted that anything we did needed to be engineered well. We had to leave things better than we found them. If he borrowed something, he would spend half the time cleaning or otherwise making whatever he borrowed better than what it was when he got it. As a kid, I hated that. We would get lists of things to do if we rented a car, boat, or house. My sister and I would spend all day doing that work instead of playing. But I also recall how incredible it felt looking at the work we did and realizing we made something better for someone else. Life is full of opportunities like that. Yes, they require hard work and effort, but they are so rewarding.

Be redemptive. That word refers to something that has the power to make amends, restore something that has been lost or damaged. It is about something that has the power to bring about a positive change to improve any situation. I often used that phrase with my kids. Don’t leave this world without somehow making a positive difference. Be redemptive. Make things a bit better for yourself and those who come behind you. We have that choice. We have that power. And with some Advil, you can even redeem your sidewalk.


“Your life will be a story. It will be your story, with its highs and lows, its heroes and villains, its forks in the road that mean everything.” – Steve Jobs

It was a hot summer afternoon. The sun was starting to make its journey to the horizon. I was riding home on my bicycle after school. It was muggy but I was enjoying the cool breeze as I coasted down the neighborhood street. As I passed under a canopy of trees, I noticed how the branches were casting interesting patterns of light on the pavement below. It seemed to dance back and forth across the narrow road as if it were swaying to the music. My tires hummed along, wading through the light and dark patches. In the distance, I could hear cicadas. Their loud evening ballad of electrical buzzing sounds seemed to reach a crescendo as I drove deeper into the woods.

Click, click, click. My pedaling and the chain of my bicycle added a soothing rhythm section to the ambient song. I saw birds swooping from tree to tree and gently landing on neighboring power lines. They chirped and chattered, comparing notes from the day’s adventures. It was refreshing. I let my mind soak in everything around me. It was so peaceful. I was almost home.

I often think of moments like that and love to relive those times. My mind is full of stories, recollections, and feelings. Each passing year, I add more to my collection. They are like magical golden blessings that grow more valuable the more you remember them, tell them, and use them. Few things in life are like that! Stories are powerful.

We are storytellers. We craft and crave narratives that inspire, inform, and entertain us. Since the beginning of our human family we have passed down our experiences and knowledge through stories. They connect us. They bridge our human experience. They transcend time and space. They are deeply part of what it means to be human.

As we approach World Storyteller Day this Wednesday, think about your story. How is your story going? What can you tell or teach us? Don’t be afraid. Tap into your memory and find one of those gems. Relive that moment and maybe even consider telling it to someone else. That’s what it means to be human, after all. We are storytellers.

Excuse me for a few minutes… I need to get back on my bicycle…

A Slice of Pi

Archimedes poised to measure a circle behind him in the distance.

Circles. Those fascinating geometric shapes have perplexed us for millennia. The Babylonians began poking at these mysterious objects 4,000 years ago and discovered that the distance around a circle was slightly greater than 3 times its width, specifically 3 1/8 or 3.125, which they recorded on a stone tablet. About the same time, Egyptians, seeking the area of a circle, estimated the ratio to be 3.1605 and recorded their estimation in the Rhind Papyrus (1650 BC).

Fast forward to ancient Greece, Antiphon and Bryson of Heraclea developed the innovative idea of inscribing a polygon inside a circle, finding its area, and doubling the sides over and over. Unfortunately, their approach meant finding the areas of hundreds of tiny triangles, which was complicated and yielded very little results. Then came Archimedes. Instead of computing area, he focused on estimating the circumference based on the sum of the perimeter edges of the polygons. Imagine iteratively doubling the sides of these polygons, slicing them into many tiny triangles, each subdividing the former and pushing closer to the circle’s edge. Using a theorem from Pythagoras, Archimedes was able to compute the length of the sides of these right triangles. As he progressed, dividing the former triangles into smaller ones, an ever more accurate estimation of the circumference emerged. He started with a hexagon, then doubled the sides four times to finish with a 96-sided polygon. Through this method, he narrowed down the value to between 3 10/71 and 3 1/7 (3.141 and 3.143).

Using right triangle geometry and Pythagorean theorem, a2 + b2 = c2, you can compute the length of the edges to approximate the circumference of the circle.

Over the centuries, mathematicians across cultures and continents refined these approximations, each contributing a piece to the puzzle of this magical number. However, it wasn’t until the 17th century when mathematicians like Ludolph van Ceulen calculated this golden number to an unprecedented 35 decimal places. Humanity’s relentless pursuit of mathematical precision didn’t stop there. Our fascination with this mysterious golden ratio continued to motivate mathematicians, engineers, and enthusiasts alike. In 2022, researchers at Google announced computing it to 100 trillion decimal digits.  We still haven’t found the end. Its digits extend infinitely, never repeating in a discernible pattern, yet holding the key to understanding the fundamental property of circles. 

Of course, this fascinating ratio is the number we call Pi, represented by the Greek letter π. As we approach Archimedes estimate of 3.14 on our calendars as March 14, Pi Day, let’s celebrate the enduring curiosity and perseverance of our human family that led to the discovery of this remarkable number. It reminds us that even the most complex mysteries can be unraveled with dedication and ingenuity.

Here is a slice of Pi you can take with you this week. This simple python script will compute Pi to 100 places using Archimedes’ approach:

from decimal import Decimal, getcontext

def pi_archimedes(n):
    Calculate Pi using Archimedes method with n iterations to estimate Pi.
    This method approximates Pi by calculating the perimeter of a polygon 
    inscribed within a unit circle.

    Polygon edge lengths are computed using the Pythagorean theorem and 
    the geometry of the polygons. The number of sides of the polygon is
    also doubled in each iteration, as each side of the polygon is 
    bisected to form a new polygon with twice as many sides.

    The formula is:
        sides = 2 * 2^n
        length^2 = 2 - 2 * sqrt(1 - length^2 / 4))

    After n iterations, the function returns the approximate value of 
    Pi using the formula:
        perimeter = sides * sqrt(length^2)
    polygon_edge_length_sq = Decimal(2)
    polygon_sides = 2
    # Start with a line, then a square, then a octagon, etc.
    for _ in range(n):
        polygon_edge_length_sq = 2 - 2 * (1 - polygon_edge_length_sq / 4).sqrt()
        polygon_sides = polygon_sides * 2
    return polygon_sides * polygon_edge_length_sq.sqrt()

# Set the number of decimal places to calculate
PLACES = 100

# Calculate Pi with increasing iterations until the result converges at
# the desired number of decimal places
old_result = None
for n in range(10*PLACES):
    getcontext().prec = 2 * PLACES  # Do calculations with double precision
    result = pi_archimedes(n)
    getcontext().prec = PLACES      # Print the result with single precision
    result = +result                # Rounding
    print("%3d: %s" % (n, result))
    if result == old_result:        # Did it converge?
    old_result = result



Office with clutter and bookshelves full of books.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I confess, I’m a hoarder. I have boxes full of junk that haven’t been visited in over 10 years. There are ancient RCA, S-Video, Coaxial, and even Apple 30-pin iPhone 4 cables, just in case I ever need them again. I have broken electronics and computer parts for the same reason. My nostalgic tendency means I also collect piles of mementos from trips, photos, and even birthday cards. I love physical books and have shelves packed full of them. My digital life is just as bad. In fact, I don’t think I have ever really deleted an app. I collect them like souvenirs. Are any of you like that too?

Clutter. I’m sitting at my desk today in awe of the piles of things around me. Books, magazines, post-it notes, half-completed forms, empty boxes, and some left-over décor from the holidays. I was about to comment on the several coffee mugs sitting on the desk, but that isn’t clutter, that is essential equipment for survival. But still, so much clutter.

My mind is full too. I have to-do lists, incomplete thoughts, spurious worries about implausible events, un-actionable regrets, doubts, and a collection of unhelpful grudges in the corner. My mind is full. Time to relive that embarrassing moment? Worry about something? Think about something you can’t take any action on right now? You might have forgotten it or left something behind, time to worry about it. My mind keeps sorting the useless junk, going back and forth, wondering if it can collect more. It’s like trains of thoughts going in circles. Stop! 

The mental clutter is a bit noisy at times, isn’t it? It can be overwhelming. Do you ever have that? If so, it’s time to clean house. Yes, it’s time for some Marie Kondo magic of tidying up. Go through the clutter… Start with what is around you. What can be tossed. What needs to be kept? Start with what is in reach in front of you. As the haze clears, expand to the office area or room you are in. Be careful, it may get away from you! Don’t try to do it all. After all, we still need to visit the most important place of all. The mind palace. Those trains in your mind that are doing circles around each other, tell them to stop. Look around. Can you do anything about that thought? If not, cast it aside. Wrap up those worries, regrets, and grudges. Pack them in tight, thank them for their better days and ship them off to the garbage. Sweep out the useless fears and self-doubt. Is it getting better? 

Distill, reduce, minimize, and simplify. Clutter happens. In fact, it seems to collect around us like dust with little or no effort. It takes energy to remove it, but happiness awaits! I encourage you to join me in spending a few minutes this week purging the clutter, taming the thoughts, and sweeping out the mess that saps our energy. Find that clarity. Enjoy it and appreciate it! Oh, and set a reminder to do this again next week.

Have a great week!