06/15/2015 04:30 pm ET Updated Jun 15, 2016

Creating a Life of Purpose and Joy

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When I put my house in order, I discovered what I really waned to do.

Marie Kondo's book, the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, offers this quote as proof of a side benefit to cleaning up one's home. After following the cleaning process of focusing by category, rather than simply going room-by-room, Kondo says she notices a surprising change to the clients' outlooks and attitudes, in addition to them having less clutter in their homes: They seem to express increased levels of purpose and joy.

She says clients often become more passionately involved in their work, either starting their own companies or changing jobs, and they may even show more interest in their hobbies or families. Additionally, her clients frequently express more confidence in their decision-making capacity and lose attachments to past experiences or anxieties about the future. The people seemed to learn that as they make decisions to discard "extras" taking up space in their world experience, life became easier for them. Even with fewer belongings, or especially with fewer belongings, they knew that they would be fine. Simply said, they learned that their world was easier once they let go, rather than trying to continue to hold on.

Isn't this a lesson we all need to learn? We hold on, and on, and on. We're afraid to let go because "what if" something happens. What if we "need that" a week from now, a month from now, or even years from now?

The wisest of us stop at some point and really examine what is essential for us to live life while staying true to our core values. And that's when we might want to create a personal mission statement.

Try following these steps and see what happens for you:

  • Imagine yourself about five years from now. List what you hope you will be doing, and with whom you hope will have as an important part of your life.
  • Determine the roles you desire to play in your life, what will make you feel fulfilled, and how you hope to impact your world. This need not be a specific profession, but just the way in which you want to spend your time and your overall life goals.
  • After brainstorming these ideas, write one statement, in present tense, as though your dream of dreams is already a reality. Imagine it is already your truth. I am a...

This statement is your personal mission statement, and can provide direction for what you do, and a guideline for what is important enough to remain in your life. This pertains to people, belongings, and the roles in which you are currently spending time.

Now, assess your reality and how it works toward fulfillment of your personal mission statement. If something is in alignment, great. And if something does not help you reach your ultimate goal, determine the appropriate way to remove it from your days.

Marie Kondo suggests that we should start cleaning out our homes with the items holding the least sentimental value to us, and work toward those with the strongest tug at our heartstrings. This might be exactly the same process we all need to follow as we work our way towards creating the lives that will bring us the most joy and purpose, and make our hearts sing.

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