Ask why before acting from habit

first_imgBonny Wolf told a great story on NPR that goes something like this:In Chicago, a friend cuts off the end of roast beef before she cooks it. She does it because her mother does it. Her mother does it because her grandmother did it. So one day, the friend asks her grandmother why for years she has cut the end off the roast beef. The reason? Her grandmother says, “because my pan is too small.”I love this story because it tells us so much of how humans think. We so often do as we have always done out of tradition or habit or imitation without questioning why. We move within our personal frames of reference, over and over, back and forth, until our ways are ingrained and unquestioned.I do this so much myself. And deep within the comfort of habit, I find myself irritated at the end of the day when my eight-year-old asks, “why?” to so many things. Yet she is so wise for asking. We should all ask why the end comes off the roast beef more often. I know I should. When I do is when I make a breakthrough on a problem, idea or project. Reject the frame you’re given, just a little, and see where it leads you.last_img read more