“If you get stuck, draw with a different pen. Change your tools; it may free your thinking.” Paul Arden
This past week, I was faced with a dilemma. The shrimp I wanted to have for dinner was enclosed in a self-sealing bag. You’d think it would have been a simple thing to open it, right? But no, I absolutely could not get purchase on the two sides of the closure.
Hungry and not completely rational, I struggled for quite a while, getting more and more distressed. I tried using a rubber grip that I use to open recalcitrant bottle tops, to no available. Finally, I opened the kitchen drawer where I keep useful tools at the ready and pulled out a pliers. Yes, a pliers. And that did the trick! It enabled me to grab hold of one end while the pliers pulled the other end open.
I was very proud of myself. My solution might not have been elegant but it was functional. And I’ve needed to use the pliers every time since when I was lusting after the shrimp.
This experience made me start to think about the “tools” I have that can make my life easier, yet I forget they exist, and therefore, neglect to use them.
For example, I finally broke down and purchased a garden kneeler and seat to save wear and tear on my knees when I plant or weed my gardens. I immediately put it to use in the spring when I first received it, because I was doing a lot of planting. However, although it is sitting right next to my back door, I forgot that I had it and resumed kneeling on the ground for subsequent planting and weeding. In other words, we have tools available that we overlook, so we make our tasks unnecessarily more difficult.
On a more professional note, I spent a few days this past week developing a response to a request for proposal to conduct a three-day management and leadership training program. I took my typical first step, which is to search my files to see if I have any relevant lesson plans, training materials and/or past training proposals that I can incorporate or adapt.
Since the client wanted specific content that I had not previously addressed, my file search provided insufficient results. My next step, therefore, was to start to Google articles and learning activities on the desired content. I spent hours searching the web, selecting and reading articles to see if they would be useful.
Finally, a simple reference in one of those articles took me where I should have looked in the first place. The reference was for a book of learning activities for teaching management and leadership. I had actually had one of my learning activities published in that book, which was sitting on my bookshelf. An excellent resource had been at my fingertips, but I had forgotten that it even existed.
We are always hustling on to the next thing, assuming that someone else will have the answers if we can only find them, without recognizing that we might already have the tools we need.
What tools do you already have that can make your work and your life more comfortable?
May your learning be sweet.