What breaking habits can do for you

We are creatures of habit, as they say.

One of the most habitual things is our tendency to choose a dominant hand for writing, eating, in general doing day to day things. Not everyone is ambidextrous! For our challenge this Sunday, we chose to use our non-dominant hand for all of our normal daily activities (special credit to our friend Adam for inspiring this challenge with his goal to brush his teeth left-handed for a week).

We are both righties. Reversing the natural order of things felt weird, and a bit unnerving … as if something was wrong.

It started with brushing our teeth – the once easy task became dropping the toothbrush and brushing gums instead of teeth. Then it came down to using our computers. Typing was the same, but using your non-dominant hand for the mouse gestures made everything take twice as long.

The exercise made us appreciate the familiarity and efficiencies we gained from years of practice. It also brought to light the significance of practicing – as if we continued to use our non-dominant hand for everything for a number of weeks, I’m sure we’d get pretty good at it compared to today. It’s important to try novel experiences, and practice – and show humility to those that are novices (including yourself). Translating to the broader scope of things, practicing patience with those that aren’t as well versed in your area of expertise and see things from a novice’s POV will go far. Same goes for yourself – be kind to yourself when you try something new, you’ll probably fall on your face many times, but it’ll be worth it in the end when you become good at it.

Try it out: Try out something new this week, or challenge yourself to using your non-dominant hand for the day! For those of you trying this out this week, we recommend picking one or several activities to use your non-dominant hand (i.e. brushing teeth in the morning, etc.), as we found that as the day progressed, it was easy to fall back in to the habit of using our dominant hand. That, or maybe wear a glove on one hand to remember not to use it.

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