Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Question Current Practices

Sometimes we do things we've always done without thinking about why we do them. In our personal lives as well as in business, it pays to ask ourselves if we are doing things for the right reasons, or just doing them because we've always done them.

A small personal example is my watch. I no longer wear one. I don't need a watch to tell time. My phone is always with me and it tells perfectly good time.

My watch battery gave out and I found myself wearing it anyway. My initial rationalization was that if I didn't wear it, I wouldn't have it with me when I got around to going to a jeweler to have the battery replaced. But I laughed at the absurdity of putting on a watch every morning that I knew perfectly well didn't work. Upon reflection, I realized the truth: I was wearing a watch because besides keeping time it is a piece of jewelry and I was accustomed to wearing one.

But for me, there is a downside to wearing a watch. I found that when I was talking to someone, even if engaged and listening intently to what they were saying, I would sometimes unconsciously look at my watch during the conversation. The other person invariably would say "I'm sorry. Am I keeping  you?" I was always mortified. I wasn't even noticing the time, it was an unconscious crutch.

So I weaned myself from the habit of wearing a watch. After several months, it no longer feels like something is missing when I don't wear it. In fact, it would now feel odd if I did wear it. I am not suggesting that other people shouldn't wear watches if they like them. I am just saying that it's interesting to see the things we do that no longer make sense, yet we still do them.

I'm working to discover what other habits I have that have outlived their usefulness so I can change them too.