Yesterday I decided that I would break a habit.
Every Monday morning it’s the same old thing. I get up. I walk gingerly to the bathroom with creaky knees and hips, feeling every hockey body-check I have ever taken. Shower, get dressed, go to get gas, buy a morning coffee at Tim’s (I am better known as ‘Double-Double’ there – along with 2 million other Canadians!)
Head to work. Walk in the door. Say hello the gang I work with. I have oatmeal at 9:00am. Around 10:30am I like to go to Cobs’ bread and get a Cinnamon Scone, and head over to Starbucks for my dark roast drip coffee with a shot of hazelnut.
So this morning I thought I would break my habit. Mix up the routine a little. So I asked my buddy if I could borrow his very realistic gorilla suit. Darker than dark. With a leather chest, two nipples, leather hand gloves that allow you to hold coins, and a scary, ferocious looking head.
I got all ready as normal at home this morning – and then I put on my gorilla suit. The key to wearing a gorilla suit is staying in character. It’s no use putting it on and then going out and telling people that you are not really a Gorilla and holding some sort of boring conversation with them like nothing is going on.
Like at the local Starbucks where you give the barista a scribble note for your coffee order, grab a banana, and point at the banana bread – and you do it all with a series of grunts. Sort of like channeling your inner Beavis & Butthead.
The only problem I ran into was when I went inside the gas station and my friend Emmanuel yelled at me
“Take off your mask!”
Yikes – I forgot for a moment that you can’t really walk into banks or gas stations wearing a mask. I can imagine that had I been in Texas I would have gotten out ‘Hey, I want to buy…” just before I got shot. My mistake.
So for the other visits – to the bread store, Starbucks, Pizza Slice place and barbershop – my colleague Angelena came with me.
I started singing that line from the Joe Jackson song.
“Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street!”
It worked out pretty well. Heck, I was real happy that we were successful… they even had to pull Ronald McDonald off the market after the crazy clown scares started spreading like wildfire.
Let me tell you this. If you are trying to break a habit – it’s not a bad idea to try it on Halloween. I mean, there are only so many days or occasions when you can wear a gorilla suit.
“Honey – it’s just a dinner party. The Anderson’s are lovely people. You make everyone uncomfortable when you are drinking martinis and dining with all of our friends wearing your gorilla suit…”
There must be some very good reasons why humans have so many habits. I can imagine that by following a series of steps and procedures that we found a way to survive an otherwise hostile world. It’s got to be in our DNA.
‘Stay left of the Grizzly bear den, stay low in the wheat field and out of the vision of the mountain lion and head right when you get to the crocodile pond’.
If you follow that process in order you will be able to get to the spot where Org and the rest of the gang are skinning the antelope. Nice meal.
We all have routines for a reason. They help us survive. They improve our lives. But the problem is that you don’t really know when the habits that once led to your success are no longer relevant. In fact they may now be leading to ruin.
In the trucking industry you may find that the old ways don’t work anymore. Some new competitor has come into the marketplace and has changed the landscape – completely altered customer expectations. And you are left there with your ‘buggy whip’ hitting your horses hard so that they go faster while a Lamborghini races past you. Just following the same old routine doesn’t work anymore.
We design and distribute trucking software and freight broker software. At its essential core, software is all about behavior change. It carries with it the promise that in following a new process, in automating some of your activities, that it will help lead you to your greater success. But as any performance psychologist will tell you, learning something new means that, INITIALLY, performance declines. In the short term you will have better results doing it the way you have always done it. Yes… press that thumb on the side of your golf club and slice your way down to fairway to your double-bogey… again!
Many people are unwilling to lighten the grip with their lower hand, roll it over the club and put the ‘V’- the crook between your finger and thumb – in line with their shoulder. Mr. Vardon knew a better way – a way that all the best golfers use. They use it because they know it will give them better results IN THE LONG RUN. But in the ‘we need it now’ society that we live in there is no longer the patience to work at something – to stay with it until you iron out the kinks so that you find a better way to perform consistently, systematically, over the long term.
When you are going to adopt some new way of doing things – some new technology – some new trucking & freight broker software – you are going to need to courage to risk it, the patience to persevere, and the discipline to change your behavior.
Yes… you can do the same things, the same old way… every day, until one day you just have to stop doing them because they don’t make sense any more. Or you can decide to put on your gorilla suit, get all sweaty, make weird grunting noises, and make some people smile, frown, jump and even laugh. Your choice.
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