Last year I went to a U2 concert. I didn’t check the set list and didn’t even realize they made a new album. I didn’t buy a t-shirt. I got there a bit later than I thought I would (bands always start an hour late, so no biggie right?). Everything went fine, but I was generally sheepish about the whole thing.
Can you guess that U2 is one of my favorite bands ever? It’s not that I was embarrassed by that—it’s more that I was in denial that I can care so much about something as frivolous as a concert. I did not want to make a big deal out of just a band (as if U2 isn’t one of the greatest bands ever), even though it would become one of the most epic nights of my life. I purposefully made it seem less important than I felt in my heart.
I was in denial about what was actually important to me.
That got me thinking—what do I really care about? What it would take for me to feel like a badass, responsible-yet-shameless, and in-control person?
I needed to get my shit together.
Get your shit together.
What is the deal with this phrase?
When you hear “get your shit together” you probably think, ok, I need to get control of my life somehow.
You skip the literal meaning of the phrase and go into the metaphorical meaning. But if you take it literally, you actually get a huge hint on how to get control of your life. You get your shit together by literally getting your shit together—and then keeping track of it.
Hear me out.
A lot of people think that feeling in-control is really hard (It is). But there is a system to it—and many people skip the system and instead do things that are completely irrelevant.
You don’t have to have go to a life-changing resort. You don’t need a promotion. You don’t need to learn the different types of scotch, and you don’t have to fix that bike that’s been sitting in your garage for months.
You literally just have to get your shit together.
Think about somebody who has their shit together. What do he look and act like? He knows where his wallet is. He is generally clean. His phone and computer aren’t covered in a thick layer of grease. He doesn’t cancel last-minute because he forgot a meeting. He packs quickly. He doesn’t have embarrassing pictures that aren’t password-protected.
People who have their shit together know what their important shit is and know where it is at all times. If you asked them if their favorite shirts have been laundered, or what is in their wallet, or what files they have on their computer, they can tell you.
This is all really basic—so basic that it is extremely boring, and most people don’t do it. But doing this but it gives your token put-together person the confidence to go about his day.
He takes care of his own important shit, and as a consequence he takes care of shit in general and gets shit done.
And because this takes up all of his time, he doesn’t bother with other people’s nonsense. They have their business, he has his.
This guy can tell you his favorite band, and if they’re on tour this year, and if he can afford to go.
If you have less shit to take care of, it is certainly easier, but you do not have to be a minimalist and live out of your suitcase Fight-club style. You can keep your surround-sound system and those color-changing lights you were supposed to fix.
That is because objects aren’t the hardest thing to keep track of. The hardest part of getting your shit together is keeping track of things that don’t actually exist—your goals, your relationships and your priorities.
What do you need to do by tomorrow? What are you reading next? Who is relying on you to be strong for them? Where are you wasting time? (Where is your wallet?)
Don’t know what a double malt scotch is? Doesn’t matter.
Now, I’m going to go listen to U2’s “Invisible” another 200 times. Because I have my priorities straight.