A recent discovery I made was learning that primates and people in other countries peel bananas from the bottom and not from the stem. This little fact caught me by surprise. I never thought about doing it that way.

I eat bananas every day. A lifetime of automatically peeling bananas from the stem made this discovery a special opportunity for me.

Doing this simple activity in this manner was an imbedded part of my daily routine. This led me to think of all the other things I do every day without any serious thinking. Unfortunately I learned my list of daily routines I perform basically by muscle memory is embarrassingly long.

I believe developing routines and habits help us become productive and reliable. They also give us daily positive affirmations and confidence as we manage through the day. In total they help construct and enforce our respective comfort zones.

Most of these are highly valuable. They provide a sense of safety and security. However they can also make us a little too comfortable for our own true good.

On reflection, I can clearly see how a deeply imbedded and unchallenged sense of “non- thinking” routine can impede creativity, innovation and personal development. Our coworkers, clients, friends and families often want us to us to be creative, fun and innovative. Given this, there might be much value when we cross-examine our routines and “shake them up” where it makes sense. Making adjustments can help us stretch and grow. It is also a little fun and can be quite challenging.

Change is not easy in general. As I learned changing a few lifetime habits is a bit harder and more uncomfortable than I thought. But this is the point. 

I now try peeling all my bananas from the bottom. I learned there are several small benefits; it is easier to open, the banana isn’t stringy, the entire banana can be eaten and the stem can be used as a convenient holder. The primates seem to be right. My challenge is breaking muscle memory to do this every day. I am getting there, but must often pause and think about it first.

Also, I began adjusting other daily routines… and will keep doing so. Examples include; driving a new way to work, changing the frequency I read and reply to emails, switching up my wardrobe, reading a new book genre and more.

Self-reflection leads to self-improvement. It’s amazing how thinking of an alternative way of peeling a banana has put me on an interesting, beneficial and fun path.

So, how will you peel your next banana?

Jim Ludlow

About Jim Ludlow

A founding father of Liquid, with dozens of published articles, a nationally-recognized personal investment book and decades of sound business practices quietly notched behind his name, Jim’s mere presence conjures a sense of confidence and integrity. He leads by example, encouraging each of us to push harder, continually improve, execute wisely and use our collective talents to bolster client growth.

Published May 20, 2013