What's Wrong With Being Fanatical About Organization?
“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” - John Irving
Fanaticism acts as cement. It hardens your best habits into a discipline which then becomes, simply, who you are. Fanaticism about certain habits prevents me from being lazy, which I am, inherently.
Which then makes me think about our habits and our identity. So much of who we are revolves around the thousands of little things we do all day. If you were to ask people who know you well, they could just as easily say you're the life of the party as they could say you're a neatnik, or a true coffee lover, or an intellectual or a total mess or someone you can depend on to help you when things fall apart in your life.
A great deal of how you are described by others and how you regard yourself is the behavior we choose to be fanatical about. So Mr. Irving is on to something.
Here's what I'm fanatical about:
- Writing. I write to process my experiences and, can you believe it, because writing is a pleasure. I am a writer not because I long to be published but because it has been a lifelong habit that I couldn't function without.
- Nesting. I am fanatical about nesting, it's true. I like things just so. I am an organized type not because it is easy for me but because I reap the benefits of that habit. I am so lucky to make a living sharing the skill and benefit with others. I relish my home and the things I do to care for it, and yes, that means housework too. I relish the comfort my home provides after a long day in the city.
- Cooking. I have become an above average cook because I love to eat. I read recipes online and food memoirs on a regular basis because those habits support and inspire my efforts to deliver healthy and exciting food to my dining table and ultimately, my mouth. (Yes, I am in the "live to eat" category)
And finally, something I have to mention because it's another thing I am fanatical about:
- Promises. If I make a promise, I keep it. I come from flaky stock. I've had to compensate for a natural inability to follow through (and be on time) by being the kind of woman who does what she says. Every single time.
So while fanaticism as a term has gotten mixed up with unsavory types in the news (in the theme of political, NRA, religious fanaticism, extremes of all kinds) I'd like to volunteer it as a force used only for good.
In this case, for your own good, be fanatic about the things that bring out the best in you and for you. And if you don't know what that is, sit down, spend a little time writing it down. That's always worked for me.