Do you need to change course?

May 14, 2019

Routines are great, but sometimes we might need to change course in order to get to our destination faster, or to our destination and not our boss’.


About a month back, I carelessly drove my car into a pillar in a carpark.


Thankfully, no one was hurt, as I was driving a parking speed.


My car’s been the workshop since as some parts are hard to come by, and I’ve actually been enjoying the experience of ordering parts from overseas, getting them returned because they sent parts for left-hand drive cars, when mines a right-hand drive etc.


“Enjoyment” is probably a strange word to use, but I was really upset with myself, until I spoke with a couple of my mentors.


I’ve written about that in this blog.


But it really goes to show that mindset is a huge factor in determining how we react to things, and whether or not we grow, and succeed as a result of all the things that happen.


This is the first time in about 20 years that I didn’t have a car at my disposal.


While it did take some getting used to, I did experience something else that I didn’t expect to enjoy…


Taking “Grab” – the Singapore equivalent of “Uber”.


Of course there’s the usual benefits of being driven around, such as having the time to relax, or think about business strategies, not needing to look for a place to park, etc.


But what I really found interesting was that I realized how I get stuck in my own ruts.


We all have routines.  That means going to the same places.


If I were driving myself, I’d be taking the usual routes.  Being driven by someone else, I see the different routes they take to the same destinations, and sometimes, these routes are faster than the ones that I usually took.


My belief that my route was the fastest was a limiting belief that prevented me from discovering a better way of doing things.


And that’s a result of routine.  Having that routine, and just doing things the same old way allows me to be most efficient, in the sense that it allows me to not have to think about which route to take every single day.


If I had to think about everything I needed to do, eg, wake up, how many steps to the bathroom to brush my teeth, how much toothpaste to squeeze, how many strokes to brush etc, life would be very difficult.


Routines have a purpose.  But the danger is getting caught in the routine.  


And the best way to prevent that from happening is to look for areas of our lives that we’re not happy with, and examine if a routine is causing that unhappiness.


Using the example of brushing my teeth.  If I had a toothache, I should be examining how I brush my teeth, because that routine might not be the best.


If I kept brushing my teeth the same way, my toothache would just persist, and I might start getting more toothaches.


In the same way, I used to go to work daily for 12-14 hours a day in my corporate law career.  After 20 years, I’d say this was pretty much a habit.


I did that on autopilot everyday.  It was easy.  It paid well.  But a part of my life was “aching”.


Unless I chose to do something different, like that tooth, the ache would persist, and eventually lead to more serious problems, if I didn’t change my habits.


And so I did, and learnt to market online.  Within 6 months I replaced my income.


But those 6 months were tough because I wasn’t in my routine.  I was learning new things.


Eventually online marketing became easy too.


And so, I’m truly grateful that I was pushed by my accident into taking Grabs (Ubers for those outside Singapore), given the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, and to re-examine my habits.




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