Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over again (the exact same way), but expecting a different result each time. This definition is attributed to Albert Einstein, who is considered the greatest physicist of all times. Einstein is also quoted as saying, “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” I’ve personally heard individuals say “if it’s not broke, then there’s no need to fix it.” Yet these same individuals don’t even realize that something is broke. That is, until they are exposed to something new or different.
The Story: As a project manager, I work with several individuals who write code for various software applications. This code consists of a combination of words, numbers, letters, symbols, etc. that essentially tell a software application what to do, what not to do, and how to respond to various data inputs. If the code isn’t developed correctly, then the software application won’t work as intended. This was the case with a software upgrade that I once managed. The developer wrote some code that didn’t work. Therefore, the software application didn’t work. The developer re-wrote the code, but it still didn’t work. He then re-wrote it a 3rd time, but it failed yet again. Finally, he asked one of his peers to review each instance of the code he had developed. It turns out the developer was re-writing the exact same code each time which led to the same failure each time.
This story is applicable to everyday life. If we do the same things the same way…behave the same way in a given situation…dress the same way…eat the same way…think the same way…then we are prone to never achieve the results we want. This could also impact our finances, friendships, relationships, jobs and our health.
The Joke: A young girl observed her mother as she was preparing to cook a pot roast. The girl noticed that before placing the pot roast in the pan, her mother cut off both ends and threw them in the garbage can. She asked her mother why did she do that. Her mother responded that she did not know, but that’s how her mother did it. The mother suggested that her daughter call her grandmother to find out. So, the girl called her grandmother and asked. Her grandmother responded, “I don’t know why your mother does it, but I do it because it doesn’t fit in my pan.”
This joke is a reminder that we should always be curious and resourceful. Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it remains the right way, or the only way, to do it. Imagine how much time and money we can earn and save simply by finding a better way to do things. In fact, we should consistently consider something new.