Every day we perform hundreds of tasks. Our brain does them same way every time. At some point in time, often in early childhood, we learned to deal with countless daily tasks. Making our bed, buttoning a shirt, shaving (legs or face), and the list goes on. We perceive nothing wrong with what we have learned. Recently I learned something I have done my entire life was in fact not the best way. I learned I have been tying my shoes the “wrong” way for the past 30 years.
I remember a conversation with my father approximately 5 years ago. He mentioned the same thing. He told me of an exchange between to elderly leaders. One asked the other. “How come your shoes never come untied? I am always double knotting my shoes and they are still always coming untied” The other replied. “Because, you are tying granny knots, I am tying square knots.” When my father told me this story I thought very little of it. Maybe once I tried to see if I could figure out what I was doing wrong. Though ultimately I didn’t care. Fast forward 5 years. I watched a this TED talk
He shows how to do this simple daily task differently. It really does work. Tying your shoes with a square knot really makes a difference. You don’t need to double knot and they never come undone. Now granted it doesn’t come easy. Your brain still wants to do it the old way. Try forcing yourself to tie them differently for a week or two. Eventually you’ll never need to worry about your shoes coming untied again.
One of the things I found most interesting about all this is the way the brain works. These preprogrammed responses to daily activities define a lot of who we are and how we do things. How we react to stress. How we handle day to day interactions. Similarly these things can be rewired too. Granted they may take a little more thought and work. But changing our habits is as simple as making a conscious decision to change, and repeatedly replacing the old habit with a new one.
I encourage you all to try tying your shoes the “right” way. As you do it you will realize that you can change. Every person is capable of changing. I read some of the book “As a man thinketh” this weekend. Our thoughts determine who we want to be. If you want to change. Start thinking you can. Little things become big things over time. Just because we think we are doing something the “right” way doesn’t always mean we are. Remember, every person you meet knows something you don’t. Keep an open mind, keep learning, keep changing.