Are leaders born or made? What are the traits and predispositions that determine who will become successful and who will fail miserably? These are all questions normal human beings rarely ask, but an everyday situation and an interesting piece of research both provoked me to dig deeper in the whole issue of whether there is a link between cleanliness and neatness and success.
Here is the situation:
My mother surprised me with a visit a few years back and my apartment was a mess. In my defence I just had better things to do than chores. I strongly believed that “a clean house is a sign of a wasted life”. My mom confidently concluded that since I was incapable of taking proper care of the plants, I was probably going to be a bad mother and a failure as a wife. She didn’t use these exact words, but I think that’s what she implied. As much as I can’t put plants and children on the same scale so easily, I started thinking about the attitude that makes you want to keep a clean and ordered house and the discipline required to do so. You will be surprised at the resemblance these have with traits leaders and successful people possess.
Here is the research:
1. Neat people save time.
And time is money! When you go to work and spend half an hour looking for the papers you need NOW, you are wasting precious time, one you could invest in making good impression, prepare yourself for the meeting with your boss, or actually get something done. In addition, regular cleaning gives you structure.
2. Neat people are considered more attractive and clean spaces more appealing.
When you work with clients and you are trying to convince them that you can get the job done, do you think you will make a great impression if your work space resembles a waste field? If you can’t handle your own desk, how will you approach that super important deal with those fancy clients? First impression is a lot more important than you might thing and neat people just look more reliable.
3. Neat men with good cleaning habits get laid more often.
True story! Research on 7,000 American couples found out that men who cleaned the home and helped more were perceived as sexier and thus enjoyed better sex life and happier marriages.
4. People with good cleaning habits possess higher level of awareness.
It sounds crazy, but you can really walk past a pile of garbage or dirty laundry on the floor and NOT notice it. The same applies to things and traits that really make bad impression on other people, but we refuse to see them, like an upper lip hair, or unibrow. With this in mind, maybe neat people, as well as successful people manage to spot such negative things and act on them.
5. Even though it looks like a waste of time, cleaning is actually good exercise and it chases your blues away.
Have you heard the expression: “idle hands, idle mind”? It is true! When you clean, your hands are busy and your mind is free to wander to some magical place in a land far, far away. It is known for a fact that clutter stresses people and creates the feeling that you have more work to do than you actually have. On the contrary when you are done de-cluttering you feel sense of accomplishment. You will approach your next task with more confidence and desire.
If you have hated cleaning for as long as I have, maybe now will be a good time to take these points into an account and give them a try. It is not that bad, I promise!