Last Christmas, I read Marie Kondo‘s book cover to cover on a 5 hour plane ride. Since then, I’ve been struck by how her message really took off. Comedian Ali Wong mentioned it in her hilarious Netflix special Baby Cobra, and then named her daughter Mari! And even Emily Gilmore KonMaried her house in the recent Gilmore Girls revival special (also on Netflix). Amazing! Why did it take off? Because it teaches us the power of “no” again? Did it reawaken something in us, without making us think about heavy emotional issues? Does the question “does this spark joy?” bring us back to our natural assertive state?
One of the biggest lessons of my 20’s was learning to say no and not feel guilty about it; learning to recognize in an instant what it is that I want, how to verbalize it, and act on it, without any need to explain myself to anyone. It’s such a liberating thing! One of my wise career supervisors / mentors recommended this classic book on assertiveness skills training called “When I say No, I Feel Guilty” by Manuel Smith (audible). (I have to read this for work, but it’s really helped me more than anyone!) It’s philosophy is very similar to KonMari’s approach but focused entirely on social interactions, with hilarious examples. Like KonMari’s book, don’t take it too literally. I don’t think I’ve ever actually asked myself if anything in my home sparked joy, but I will say that I KonMaried my home, sorta. Similarly, I’ve never been so obnoxiously assertive as some of the examples presented in this book, but I will say that I am a very assertive person, and much more content in my 30s because of that. I highly recommend this book to start off the new year. I listened to it on 1.5 speed on audible. It’s quick, easily digestible, and super empowering.
[image: from Vietnam]