A month ago I retrieved the vacuum cleaner from the closet and placed it in my room.
This morning, I finally used it.
While sweeping the floor I thought, “Why did I put this off for a month? It is such a relatively easy, simple task.”
Pondered for a moment, and then an answer came:
Somewhere in the past, I received a message that I am no good at vacuuming. I do not know precisely how the message got there. Maybe when I was a kid someone said, “You missed a spot,” one too many times.
One night when I was 17, I ran the floor polisher where I worked. My boss stopped me and criticized my efforts. “If you do a half-assed job, you’ll get half-assed results,” he said. Which is true, but I was not aware that I was doing a half-assed job and I took what he said as a personal attack.
I already had baggage with feeling incompetent and unskilled and not good enough so it is possible that what he said hit just a deep enough nerve to contribute to my aversion to cleaning floors.
So this morning midway through vacuuming my room, the epiphany hit me between the eyes:
I had hated vacuuming for years and years because I subconsciously held a belief that I sucked at it.
(Pun absolutely, irrevocably, and unapologetically intended.)
Receiving that realization while vacuuming was awesome. I received the distinct pleasure of, in realtime, feeling the task transform from a mundane chore to an entertaining activity.
All I had to do to shatter that old subconscious hogwash to bits was internally acknowledge my competency as an elite amongst vacuum operators.
This acknowledgement filled me with excitement and contributed to my resolve to do the most thorough floor cleaning work ever.
When you do an all-assed job, you get all-assed results.
Upon completion, I looked upon that ridiculously pristine carpet with a smile on my face and in my heart. And it was good.
And maybe vacuuming is just the beginning.
Join the peaceful revolution with Andrew L. Hicks
Sign up for free stuff and all the latest about Andrew's books, public appearances, and policies pertaining to HICKS/YOU 2020.
Instantly receive a free copy of The Art of Being Human in the eBook format of your choice (or choose 'em all, whatevs).
Also published on Medium.