The Haja Sheriff Blog

Clearing Clutter Increases Success

Posted by in Attitude, Motivation, Personal Effectiveness, Time Management


This is an article by Jack Canfield.  Please read on.

imageOur physical spaces are filled with dozens of minor distractions and irritants, such as stacks of unread books, scuff marks on the wall, and closets filled with unused items. For most people, these things are like gnats – annoying, but generally insignificant and easily ignored.

Rarely do we recognize them for what they really are – potent threats to our productivity, energy, concentration and peace of mind.

For those of us committed to achieving greater success in our lives, a cluttered physical environment produces three negative consequences:

1.    You feel drained. If there are things to do everywhere you look, your mind constantly keeps thinking “I need to fix that.” Eventually, you to feel drained, anxious, irritable, and overwhelmed. To cope, we have to put blinders on and overlook the distractions.

2.    Problems spiral out of control. We often overlook irritations for the short-term gain of being able to continue with our daily routine. The danger, however, is that some problems with grow worse with lack of attention. The chip in the windshield that could have been fixed in 30 minutes grows to a crack that requires replacement of the entire windshield.

3.    You miss important clues and ideas. It’s impossible to selectively numb out your awareness, ignoring only the minor distractions in your physical space while paying close attention to everything else. This is perhaps the biggest danger for success-minded people. Our most powerful insights often manifest in gut feelings, fleeting thoughts and subtle cues. Numbing out to our cluttered physical environments makes us oblivious to these clues, as well.

Physical Space Impacts Mental Space

Seemingly small irritations and distractions also have a dramatic impact on our mental state. It’s common for people who feel overwhelmed by their physical clutter to go into a state of resignation. When you have a sense that you can’t control the little things – such as quickly finding a stapler when you need it – then it becomes easy to tell yourself that there’s no way you can have the other, bigger things that you want, such as a better car, bigger house, prestigious job, or loving relationship.

The good news is that the same concept works in reverse. When you do recognize that you can control little things, such as the squeak every time you open your front door, you recognize that you can control the bigger things in life, too. Taking action to manage irritations, distractions and clutter builds your confidence in your ability to achieve success, regardless of form.

3 Ways to Deal with Clutter

There are three ways to change any environment: add something to it, take something out of it, or modify it in some form.
Go through your environment and figure out what is irritating and distracting you. Ask yourself how it needs to be fixed. Then think about who you might be able to delegate all or part of the task to. One reason that to-do items accumulate is that we feel like we have to do all of the work ourselves. One of the key strategies for getting more done is to master the art of delegation.

To help you move forward with this process, I’ve posted an “Irritations & Tolerations” worksheet on my blog. Use this tool to identify and create an action plan for handling your irritations and tolerations.

Next, scan your environment to identify elements that need to be removed completely, as well as items that can be brought in to increase the energy in your space. For example, you might find that removing the television or computer from your bedroom makes your sleeping space more relaxing and peaceful. On the other hand, you might find that adding a conference table to your office gives you an inviting place for creative work, while adding plants makes you feel calmer and connected to nature.

Spotting “Good” Clutter

Remember that all clutter is not bad. For many people, clutter is part of their creative process.

When in the midst of creation – such as writing an article, developing a presentation, mapping out a business strategy or creating a product – they pull out resources like books, clippings, articles and notepads. More artistic types might fill their work spaces with tools of their particular trade.

The litmus test to use in determining whether your clutter needs attention is how you feel. If you feel inspired, the clutter is serving you and contributing to your creative expression. If you feel contracted, drained, anxious or stressed, the clutter needs to be tamed.

Environments control us, but it’s important to recognize that as human beings, we are one of the few animals that can control their environments.

*Click Here to Download the Irritations and Tolerations Worksheet

Courtesy: Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:


A Million Thanks- and taking a step forward!

Posted by in Motivation

I was reading this article about a girl who created a Movement.   And it set me thinking- how many of us, do something about ideas that come to us- about possible areas where we could touch people’s lives?


Shauna Fleming was watching a report one night when she caught a report about American soldiers overseas feeling unappreciated by the people back home.  She needed to fulfill a community service credit at school, and the news report gave her an idea.

“Dad,” she told her dad, “I’m going to send thank-you notes to the troops”.  

“Great,” he replied absently. 

“How many do you think I’ll need?”

“A Million,” he said. 

She took him at his word and proceeded to call, write, and email everyone she knew about writing to the American troops, and they each called a friend themselves and so on. The word spread – and before long she got a call from Associated Press which put her story out on the wire to newspapers around the world.

Boxes and boxes of letters arrived at her school and before long she along with her friends were dispatching letters to the soldiers around the world.  She was invited to deliver the millionth letter in person to President Bush in the Oval office.  

She created the organization , A Million Thanks, and they are currently over 5.2M letters- and still coming.

How is that for creating a Movement that touches people’s lives.

What have we done about something that we believe in? Have we touched someone’s life – at least once today?  

Story courtesy- “The Power of Small” by Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval.


Lessons from Steve Jobs’ life

Posted by in Innovation, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Personal Effectiveness

Here is an article that my daughter wrote for her school.  There is a lesson in this for all of us as well.  

What Steve Jobs’ Life Teaches Us

By Ryna Shireen Sheriff

We all know who Steve Jobs was. He was the founder of Apple and ran the company over the last few years to make it the biggest PC Company in the world. It was also a very innovative company that changed the landscape of the world in many many ways. He sadly passed away a few months ago.

As students, we have a number of things to learn from Steve Jobs, and here are a few lessons that we all can take away as we move forward in our school lives. ·

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – For us students this is very important. We should learn to love our school and our studies. Focus all our energy on doing what we love & success will follow.

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”-There is a purpose why we are living in this world. Let us make this life count by doing something spectacular with our life which makes us, our parents, our family and our family and school proud. Don’t waste your life by just passing through.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” Live your life as if there is no tomorrow. Let us give our best every day and make it all work in the long run.

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. We will all face some big challenges in our lives.”- We should find a way to live our lives doing what we love-and God will take care of the rest. Believe in God always, and in your abilities.

Surround Yourself with Brilliance – Whether he was willing to admit it or not, Steve Jobs could not do everything. But he had a great team that he had built that took care of everything else he could not do. For us this means, we should surround ourselves with great friends who are looking forward to doing big things in life.

These are just some but very relevant learning’s for us to take from Steve Jobs life. The next time we use an iPod, iPad or an iPhone, let us remember the lessons from the man who made it possible. Let us work hard here and let us all leave a mark in this world like Steve Jobs has done.


How do you handle adversity?

Posted by in Motivation


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" the mother asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Page 10 of 27« First...89101112...20...Last »