Open your random crap drawer. You know the drawer, it’s that one you lazily throw your extra coins and other odds and ends into. Make sure you pull it out all the way. Now take a moment to analyze what you see but DO NOT TOUCH anything, simply look at the contents that comprise the mess that is your underappreciated junk drawer.
Did you find anything interesting or rediscover something you thought you lost? As you can see above, my drawer is a bit of a mess but I happen to think it remains functional. I even have a few organizational containers to go along with many useful items should I ever be under attack, feel bored, lose power, get lost, or just want to know the time.
What does your drawer have? A few good guesses include coins, batteries, cords, flashlights, knives, rulers, pens, and scraps of paper – how many of the guesses did your drawer contain? Regardless of who you are, your junk is just that, junk, at least until you can pawn it off on some kid, poor college student, or grandparent at a yard sale.
Okay, helpful as staring at the contents of a junk drawer is, it is impossible to see everything, which is not acceptable. The time to move on has arrived; dump your drawer.
Anything unexpected emerge? I for one did not expect to see cuff links nor do I know where that string came from, but that is precisely why you dump. Now, I want you to remove a surprise find, think about why it was in the drawer and promise yourself that you will use it. The purpose of messing with your random crap drawer isn’t to clean it but simply to rediscover and utilize a gem or two that has been hidden within.
Like our lives that they parallel, junk drawers are a combination of important and useless stuff that often jumble together in one big lump. Lost in this mess is treasure that is begging to be mined. If we don’t take the time to sift through everything, valuable items will remain hidden; literally buried beneath piles of absolute crap. By taking the time to sort through the mess, we can find inspiration…
You might view mess as disorder, confusion, or just uncleanliness but try think of it more as an opportunity and less as a nuisance. Think of mess as you would the music of Radiohead, as beautiful and hypnotic chaos. You might not be able to recognize the beauty or understand the order, but the inspiration is there. By the time we audience hear the music, lead singer Thom Yorke and his band mates have already sifted through their collective mess and arrived at the point of creation.
“Almost every tune is a collage.”
In an interview with NPR, Yorke said that he is “constantly absorbing other music and that’s what stimulates (him) the most.” What he is doing is collecting his mess, and through it and the creative input of his mates, he is finding his hidden gems.
Yorke went on to say that “almost every tune is like a collage; things we’d pre-recorded, each of us, and then were flying at each other. You get to a point where you think, ‘OK, this bit needs a big black line through it.’ It’s like editing a film or something.”
That is certainly a lot of mess, much more than most of us will ever see in any junk drawer, but it’s the process that remains the same. The act of compiling a mess can be easy, the ability to sift through it and pick out the gems is not. It takes work, often at a level only described as Godly or genius, to be able to uncover the gem or idea – the inspiration. Much practice is needed but as with anything, devoting time and energy will reap great rewards.
Be it real or imaginary, dig through your mess and make certain to embrace any gems you discover.