This comes from a story I read in the classic little
book I Dare You. A professor once hit upon a
great discovery while buttoning up his vest. Or
rather, he hit upon the discovery because his vest
wouldn't button up. His little daughter had sewn up
some of the buttonholes by mistake. His fingers were
going along as usual in their most intricate operations
of buttoning a button, when something happened. A
button wouldn't button.
His fingers fumbled helplessly for a moment, then sent
out a call for help. His mind woke up. The
eyes looked down -- a new idea was born, or rather
a new understanding of an old idea. What the
professor had discovered was that fingers can
remember. You know how automatic things can
become, riding a bicycle, using a keyboard, or even
driving home from the office.
Then the professor began playing pranks on his
classes, and he found that the answer was always
the same. As long as they could keep on doing the
things they had always done, their minds wouldn't
work. It was only when he figuratively sewed up
their buttonholes, stole their notebooks, locked the
doors, upset their routine, that any thinking was
So he came to the great, and now generally
accepted, conclusion that the mind of man is "an
emergency organ." That it relegates everything
possible to automatic functions as long as it is able,
and that it is only when the old order of things won't
work any longer that it gets on the job and starts
working. Keeping things the same may be
keeping you stupid. Write your name with
the hand opposite your normal dominance to see how
it wakes up your brain.
So my advice is this: Sew up some buttonholes in
your life. Drive a different route home from work.
Read a book you would not normally read. Maybe
you need to brush your teeth with your left hand
Take time to stop to help a stranded motorist.
Volunteer to help on a community project. And
welcome the unexpected "closed buttonholes"
this week. You may be surprised at having your brain
turn on. Who knows what creative ideas or solutions
you may discover. What could you do today to wake
up your mind? You may even brighten up your face!
48 Days To Creative Income has more ideas to shake your traditional thinking