I was taking a continuing education class recently and the instructor told us a great story.
A child was with one of his parents in the kitchen and the parent decided it was time to teach the child how to cook a roast.
Early in the process, the child asked, “Why do you have to cut the ends off the roast?”
“I don’t know,” replied the parent, “That’s how your grandmother taught me.”
The child called the grandmother and asked.
The grandmother replied, “I don’t know. That’s how my mother taught me. Let’s ask your great grandma when we visit her next week.”
The following week when they visited the great grandma, the child asked the question.
The great grandma explained, “When your grandmother was a little girl, we were very poor. We only had one roasting pan. In order for the roast to fit into the pan, I had to cut off the ends.”
For decades and decades, this family had been cutting off the ends because that’s the way it was always done; throwing away pounds of perfectly good food in the process.
Each of us has many things we’ve been doing a certain way just because that’s how we’ve always done it.
I have a small example from something I recently experienced.
I was complaining to my wife that my backpack was too heavy and I wanted to consider buying a new, lighter-weight backpack. She lifted up my backpack and agreed it was, indeed, very heavy. She started looking into all the compartments and pulling out various things I was carrying around.
To make a long story short, after removing seven pens, two chapsticks, a significant supply of extra business cards, several small packs of tissues, and quite a few other things I was carrying “just in case of emergency,” my old backpack was no longer so heavy.
We all probably do many things—at work, with our family, with our health, and relating to our happiness—because “that’s how we’ve always done it.” And, of course, if you’ve read my book, or this blog, you know all about how important habits are—how those things we do automatically, routinely, and without thinking impact our happiness, our health, and every part of our life (for good and for bad).
The first step to changing your habit is the awareness you want to make a change—in this case, perhaps realizing you’ve been doing something for a long, long time “just because.”
What’s your “ends of the roast” story? Join the conversation with your comments…