If asked, each one of us would want to do a NEAT job no matter what the work is. From the most mundane to the most complicated work, the adjective NEAT if it precedes the effort, would show case the ultimate result a notch higher. The difference between good work and great work is often just the way the ultimate result is perceived and a NEAT job ultimately gets noticed as a Nice Elegant Appreciative Try.

Neatness is a mix of order, symmetry, balance, elegance and visual ecstasy. Invariably those getting good marks in exams have a slight edge if they have a neat handwriting because the end result gets highlighted and catches the eye of the examiner. Similarly, people who excel in art and drawing have the ability to conjure up a balanced and visually appealing product be it a painting or flower arrangement or merely the overall setting in which they operate be it at home or work. Ironically many a talented and artistically inclined thrive in chaotic and messy surroundings and perhaps they are so obsessed with the neatness of the end product that everything else is ignored.

If one wants to be NEAT it is imperative that one prunes the junk. This means all that is superfluous and unwanted must be ruthlessly eliminated. The difficulty here is that we are often obsessed by the tendency to hoard and that is why we tend to store, stock and showcase the good, the bad, the useful and the useless. The next is to develop a sense of balance, order and symmetry. If one lacks this innate ability then it is essential that we get someone else with this ability to help us. The spurt in using the service of architects, interior decorators and landscape designers reflects the move to seek professional help. Finally if one wants to be NEAT at all times, one must be prepared to take a lot of effort. The effort involves maintaining a high personal standard of excellence and this could mean not compromising on even the most insignificant detail. Continuity is the key and the one big stumbling block is the constant care, maintenance and cleanliness that taken together forms the axis around which neatness revolves.

Finally it is essential that we examine our own beliefs, attitudes and actions to determine how committed we are to being neat. Simple things like how much importance we attach to personal grooming, the seriousness with which we approach a given task, the extend of detailing we would go into with respect to any activity etc. would indicate to us our ability to meet the rigors of being neat. Perhaps we can make a good beginning by just examining our own setting at this point in time and determine if we are in a NEAT setting and tell ourselves that it is Nice Elegant Appreciative Try.

Action Points:
  • Every month make 2 major changes in your living room and bedroom to give you a feeling of change, newness and neatness.
  • Attempt at least 2 of the following:
  • Visit an art gallery and observe the style, shades, strokes that are reflected in the paintings on display.
  • Visit a car showroom of a high end brand of cars and appreciate the subtle differences that make the car so special and expensive.
  • Go to the major vegetable market in your city and examine reasons for dirt, squalor and untidiness there. Are there solutions to redeem the situation?
  • Visit the local zoo or a dairy farm that maintains its own milking cows. Ask yourself 3 reasons that ensure the place is relatively very neat.
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From India, Mumbai
I guess neatness is an individual trait and a natural flair for art and design could enhance the appearance of what a person attempts. However keeping things orderly, dusting and cleaning, general upkeep etc. should be the norm for any normal individual and being neat would never be a chore.
From India, Pune
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