underwear. step by step.

I explained the origin of my foundational organization philosophy in the The Underwear Principle. I’m going to “strip it down” into steps which can be applied in many situations, so it can be used as more than just an organizational tool.

The Underwear Principle, Step by Step:

Step 1:
Let it go. I have to pry my white knuckled fingers off of “MY Way.” I have to consider that “different” isn’t wrong and I can’t force anyone to follow my directions. At least not in the long run.

Step 2:
I have to accept whoever is contributing to the problem. Even if it’s ME. In my family, I know that they are not purposely trying to sabotage me (or make me bang my head on the nearest table in frustration). I try to stay focused on what’s really important. People and relationships. I’m making memories. I want them to be good ones, with no flashbacks of me looking like Cruella DeVille on a self-centered rampage.

Step 3:
I HAVE to pay attention. I HAVE to watch what happens naturally and figure out why. Is someone doing something a certain way because they are taking the path of least resistance? Is there an obstacle I don’t understand?

Step 4:
My favorite part. I gather information. I get to learn stuff. From any source. Books, the internet, magazines and periodicals, friends, family . . . I gather ideas with the mindset that I can figure out how to solve the problem. Some ideas I hate and immediately discard. I might take other ideas and twist or build on them a little to customize something for my situation. Some ideas might be great right from the start.

Step 5:
I implement changes based on what I learned and then watch to see how others react. I don’t change everything at once.

Step 6: Modify and Repeat. Circumstances change and I have to adapt. Application of The Underwear Principle is never a done deal. Some changes don’t work. Some changes make improvements, but don’t work completely. It requires modification over time.

The Underwear Principle can be applied in so many other situations. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll post some of my experiences applying it. See the original Underwear Principle post for links.

Do you have an “Underwear Principle” story? I’d love to hear it!

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