Last weekend my family spent a day with some friends at a park with a river nearby. We spent a while by a calm part of the river skipping stones with the kids. Now, I haven’t skipped stones for many, many years but after a throw or two it came right back to me. Being the old guy that I am, my arm started getting tired after a while so I decided to try my luck throwing left handed. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. I couldn’t skip a stone to save my life when using my left arm.
That experience got me thinking about how automatic our bodies can be once we develop a routine. I had done this so many times in the past with my right arm that it was almost automatic. Kind of like riding a bike. Once you hone the skill, it never goes away. You don’t even have to think about it, your body just does it. But when you switch things up a little bit, like using your other hand to do something, it isn’t automatic. Your brain has to stop functioning on auto-pilot and start thinking for a change. And that’s something our brains are not used to doing.
Have you become a victim of routine in your life? Everything we do becomes routine and automatic after a while. Brushing your teeth, getting dressed, your route to work, it’s all automatic and we don’t even think about what we’re doing. Doing the same thing every day over and over causes our brains to kick into auto-pilot and grow complacent. The way to break that routine and get your brain to start working is to do something different. Write your name with your other hand. Brush your teeth with your other hand. Take a different route to work. Answer the phone in a different way. Answer email later in the day, or only once per day. Stand up at the desk instead of sitting down.
This week, do something to force your brain to think. It will spark creativity and new ideas for you. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Matt Wegner is a finance and business coach dedicated to teaching the principles of successfully living debt free. Learn more at www.financialexcellence.net