It’s good to be neat and it’s bad to be messy. Isn’t it? At least that’s what we’re told. We’ve all heard that cleanliness is next to godliness and a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. Most people believe that they would be happier and more successful if they were more organized.
This desire is evidenced by the success of The Container Store and the endless list of TV shows dedicated to cleaning up and reorganizing. Did that last sentence spark joy for you? Being disorganized seems like an obvious weakness that needs to be fixed.
Isn’t Marie Kondo right?
Not necessarily. In “A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder,” David Freedman and Eric Abrahamson argue that messiness is actually a strength and should be “celebrated rather than avoided.” They provide evidence that there are significant benefits to disorder.
For example, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin while sorting through his cluttered lab after returning from vacation. If his lab had been clean and organized, we might not have access to life-saving antibiotics.
Albert Einstein challenged enemies of clutter by asking, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what is an empty desk a sign of?”
Pink Goldfish Takeaway – Every weakness has a corresponding strength.