I recently was on a short flight and instead of paying $8 for slow internet I decided to be productive and clear out some of the crud living in my phone. First I went through pictures and deleted a lot of no longer needed screenshots of funny Instagram posts or images of products I was considering buying (but didn't), and that process gave me a few laughs (and some grimaces), and ultimately just made me wonder if someone studied my google history what they'd say about my interests (and possibly my sense of humor).
Next I took on my contact list, a huge undertaking considering somehow my phone apparently captures every person I've ever sent or received an email from as an entry, sometimes adding the same email address as multiple contacts. (Suggestions/diagnoses welcome!)
I went through the painstaking process of deleting each name I no longer needed or didn't recognize -mostly in email address format - occasionally smiling as I recalled an encounter with a pleasant person or chuckling as I happily deleted a person whose emails were infrequent, insincere and always asking an extreme favor.
Having spent the majority of my career in sales and marketing, I have a broad network - and because I primarily worked in consulting and recruiting firms, most of the people I interacted with were running businesses (or leading teams) or people looking for their next gig.
Some of the names I read caused me to ponder for a second how that person was doing and wishing them well, even as I deleted their contact knowing it's not likely we'll need to be in touch again considering my departure from the industry. Other names caused me to actually shudder and press delete with delight. "Good riddance!" I thought. "Now that I'm not in a position to help that person they will never contact me again."
That said, one takeaway I had from this experience was regarding the impressions we make in this world, be they lingering or fleeting. It's not always a conscious thing certainly, and some of the more annoying folks in my deleted pile could have just been in a weird place at the time and are perfectly nice, well-adjusted contributing members of society.
While the majority of the "delightful deletes" were pushy salespeople that never really "got it" or candidates that no showed for job interviews (or worse, their first day on the job!) I had to take into account that they too are human and not everyone can be a peach 100% of the time. I'm sure even the worst of the worst have friends and family that think they are just great!
They probably have no idea (and wouldn't be bothered by the fact) that I grimaced at the sight of their name in my phone. And why should they? After all, your life is your own and your happiness should be independent of anyone else's opinion of you. In fact, I'm sure I'm in someone's "delightfully deleted" list and that's OK by me.
But the greater lesson here is the feeling I had as I went through this process (and it's definitely a process. I have only made it through the Gs!) is that I felt lighter and more positive that these people were no longer taking up residence in my phone, and as a result, in my brain. It was like physically deleting excess contacts from my device provided clearing that removed some mental clutter. It's a great feeling and I highly recommend it.
Take a few moments to think about what you're holding on to that no longer serves you, whether in the physical, digital or spiritual realm - wish them all well and let them go! You'll be happier, I promise. (This includes that impressive stack of business cards in your 2nd drawer!) Regardless if you are holding on to feelings or not, isn't it nice to have fewer contacts to scroll through (and take up valuable space!) on your mobile device? Now I have more room for screenshots of delicious looking food and "cows sitting like dogs" (google it, you'll thank me).