The Pick’N’Mix Approach

About a decade ago, I was reading a magazine article. I don’t remember the magazine, or the person who was being interviewed, but one thing they said stuck with me. They said they’ve taken a ‘pick-and-mix’ approach to religion: picking out aspects of various religions that ring true and putting them together to create their own belief system.

Worry not, I’m not about to delve into a religious argument. I am instead talking about an approach that can be applied to life in general. Instead of having to take on entire works – books, systems, structures, programmes – it can often be more beneficial to pick out a few aspects that really resonate with you. You can then combine elements of many people’s experiences to enhance your own.

Let me give you an example. I recently read ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo. For those of you that hadn’t heard of it, it’s a bestselling book about getting your home uncluttered. It’s taken the world by storm, probably because we live in a consumerist society where most people own way too much stuff! And being one of those people and always on the lookout for new ideas, I decided to have a read.

And to be honest, many of her ideas are not for me. I am not the kind of person who gets rid of books as soon as she’s read them, or discards things used rarely as you can always buy replacements if needed, or stores all important documents in one big box so that every time you need something is an opportunity to unclutter your documents box (no, really)! It would be tempting to dismiss Marie Kondo’s book based on such disagreements. Which would make reading it in the first place a waste of time.

Rather than taking an all-or-nothing view of the book, I went with the alternative: I picked out a few nuggets that rang true and added them to my arsenal. I like her way of folding clothes, and the application of the system to clothes in general. I like the basic concept of maximising joy in your home.

I don’t have to take on the entirety of somebody else’s worldview. Rather, I can borrow a few great ideas from their experience, and build my own treasury of tools.


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