A century ago, rags-to-riches was a literal expression. Clothing wasn’t so durable then, physical labor was the rule rather than the exception, and people of average means hoped to be able to replace their one suit of clothing once a season. If financial hardship prevented this, in barely a year, a worker’s clothes could be in tatters. Yet through a series of small good fortunes, this circumstance could give way to something better, until the same person was seen in fine new clothing and other signs of material good fortune. That’s the rags-to-riches story.
The visible signs of financial struggle have changed in the past century. These days, people pay extra for shredded clothing as a fashion statement. The surest sign of financial hardship is not clothing, but clutter. Wherever material possessions pile up neglected, you will find a person whose life is too stressed to have a shot at prosperity.
Yet this can change just as surely as the rags of a century ago. What people these days need is a clutter-to-riches story. This is something I write about in “Graptitude and the Clutter-to-Riches Story” today in the Fear of Nothing blog (coining a new word while I am at it):
If you feel good about the physical objects that are around you already, it becomes easier for you to collect the material possessions you really want. . . . If you feel good about the junk and clutter that’s in your life, you will replace it faster with the possessions you imagine for yourself. And it is easy to feel good about the worst possessions if you realize that they are not permanent, that they will not simply sit inertly forever, but that they are in motion, like the rest of the universe.