Force of Habit

There's a saying I love: You do what you did.

Translation: People get in the habit of doing certain things only because that’s how they’ve always done those things.

You see it all the time in business. A company has some inefficient, illogical way of doing something, but no one can change it, because: “That’s how we’ve always done it.”

It's the ultimate force of habit. You don't even notice the force.

My friend Bruce Bloom tells the following joke:

A guy goes to a dinner party. He introduces himself to the hostess, who’s in the kitchen, cooking a roast. He notices that before she puts it in the oven, she cuts off the ends of the roast, puts it in the pan, and puts the pan in the oven.

“Out of curiosity,” the man says, “Why’d you cut off the ends of the roast?”

“That’s the way my mother taught me,” she says.

It turns out her mother is at the party, so the man follows up with her.

“Why do you cut off the ends of the roast?” he asks.

“That’s the way my mother taught me,” she says.

Turns out the grandmother’s at the party, too. So the man goes up to her.

“That’s the way my mother taught me,” she says.

Amazingly, the very old great-grandmother is also at the party. So the man asks her.

“Why do you cut the ends off the roast?” he says.

“I had a very small roasting pan. I used to have to cut off the ends to make it fit in the pan.”

Are there things you do just because you’ve always done them that way?

Maybe time to reconsider?

1 comment

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