This book is the ultimate in possibility thinking. The story of One Red Paperclip made international news back in 2006, so it may ring a bell. Kyle MacDonald is a young slacker who has the bright idea to trade "bigger and better," starting with a paperclip and working his way up to a house. The intricacies are fascinating in their own right, as MacDonald stumbles into the media limelight and starts meeting celebrities. What I like best about the book is his irrepressibly positive attitude. It could be a textbook for the skill of possibility thinking. Cockeyed optimism does actually work from time to time!
I'm a slacker, too. I bought this book at least five years ago and I just now got around to reading it. The world works in mysterious ways, however, and the Hollywood Reporter just reported that MGM is "in talks" to make One Red Paperclip into a movie. I hope it happens, because the world needs this story.
Possibility thinking does not overlap completely with optimism. MacDonald is motivated by guilt that he's unemployed and that his girlfriend is paying their rent. He has frequent bouts of discouragement, feeling lazy and like this is a stupid idea. He keeps reminding himself that he's on a quest, though, and that he might as well see it through. Part of what makes this endearing is that he focuses on making trades that are meaningful to all parties, rather than chasing financial value alone.
What I would love to see happen is for the Bigger and Better game to become commonplace. Due to my professional work with clutter and hoarding, I have a pretty good idea that most households are hanging onto all sorts of unused objects. A few of these are special and could find new life in a new home, where they would actually fulfill their purpose as useful things. SO MANY art supplies, musical instruments, and tubs of camping gear and other sports equipment, just moping in a corner like the Isle of Misfit Toys. SO MUCH monetary value, locked away and doing no good to anyone. We feel so poor and we feel that we CAN'T AFFORD so many things, even as we're knee-deep in stuff. What would we do if we could swap it all for our true heart's desire?
If you knew you could start with a random object that was sitting around your house, and trade for the most amazing thing you could think of, what would it be? What would you give up and what would you ask for?
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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