How A Toilet Cleaner Can Teach Life Wisdom

Our habits create our daily realities. Much of our habits are acted out unconsciously everyday. Tomorrow just watch people going to work. On the bus.

The train. Crossing at the lights. The blank stares. No real connection. Just going to work. Listening to their Ipods.

Their own inner dialogue. So what? Well soon the mind becomes like the commutor. Our thoughts travel the same path each day. We dress much the same. We move much the same. Most mornings people go through the same routine.

Until there is an accident on the motorway. Or a crisis at home. The toilet is blocked.

Oh no, things are turning to excrement. This is where the teachings of a toilet cleaner come in handy. I remember an email client I was coaching whose life had reached rock bottom.

He had lost everything and was now cleaning public toilets. He was deeply depressed. So I had to find a way of rebuilding his self-belief. It was about reminding him of a bigger hidden purpose that lay beyond cleaning toilets. His situation was temporary. He needed to know that this was preparing him for something bigger.

He needed to believe in himself. He needed to use cleaning toilets as his martial arts for life. Toughening his mind.

Strengthening his character. So he started to see things differently. When people left little piles on the toilet floor and wrote messages, " eat my *bleep*" he simply said, "here is the best part of that person". After a while he slowly started turning his life around.

This is what the toilet can teach us. It is a honest place. It does not pretend to be anything else other than serve its primary function. This is why the toilet cleaner is so important. Each cubicle. Each urinal.

Each bowl. They all need cleaning daily. Nothing upsets us more than unclean unflushed toilets. Similarly with our own negative experiences. We need to wipe, flush and disinfect the negative residue from our minds.

Yet we also grow stronger as a result. The challenges and struggles of life help build mental toughness and inner character. A tree growing on the side of a cliff has tougher wood than the same tree growing on flat sheltered land. A butterfly needs to squeeze and struggle its way free of its cocoon so that it has the strength to fly. Struggle and adversity are the realities of life.

It is your attitude towards your struggles that determines whether you fly or crash. So the next time, you use the toilet. Remember to wipe, flush and spray your mind as well.

Hirini Reedy is a Maori philosopher from New Zealand. A former military officer, martial arts founder, engineer and mystical thinker. He combines modern science with nature inspired principles as a path to self-mastery. You can read more at


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