5 Tips to Shine... #5 Be A Flip Flopper: Keep Change Constant

Be a Flip Flopper: Mix up your daily routine to keep your brain active

One of my peers at work told me that I have the ability to light up any room. The light comes from the inside and shines through confidence, being genuine and caring, and staying positive with a smile.

We all have heard the phrase - beauty is skin deep, it’s who you are on the inside that truly matters. Here are some tips to save valuable time and money, while you let your inner beauty shine.

Take this for what it is worth… When I say ‘be a flip flopper’, I mean don’t get stuck in the same daily routine.

When we are stuck on ‘auto-pilot’ we are doing things subconsciously. Keep your brain active by practicing methods for sparking creativity.  Know when to kick the bad habits - which can include the daily routines and ‘auto pilot’ monotony that unwittingly stifle creativity - and learn how to pick up new ones that will enhance your well-being and productivity.  If you’re in a negative rut, make the conscious choice to ‘flip flop’ to a positive one.

Here is a story of a friend and vendor who is a partner in crime for an authentic and positive lifestyle - and an inspiration for this tip.

He and I share a love for operations and process so we immediately connected the first time we met. Our minds were always spinning on how we could leverage and optimize our processes. During a visit a few years ago, he was so kind to pick me up at the Cincinnati airport. When I got in the car, I noticed he had a beard, which was not his ‘normal’ look…  

He began to explain that he often changes his daily routine in order to mix up the subconscious.  He first learned this technique that I labeled 'Flip Flopping' during his training as a young Marine, and successfully continues to use them some twenty years later. 

 As he explained it: 

I had this great instructor during my primary occupational training; he was a 25-year Master Gunnery Sergeant (aka ‘Top’), who happened to have a degree in Psychology. I was trained at Landing Force Training Command Pacific (LFTC-PAC), Coronado, CA as a Logistician.

Effective logistics requires stringent adherence to proven SOPs for moving troops and cargo expeditiously, and while utilizing various modes of transportation (air, land and sea) under adverse or frequently changing conditions.

That said, our instructor, ‘Top’, would often admonish: ‘once you are assigned to your duty stations, do NOT become stuck in the rut of “this is the way we always do it”. Instead, remain always flexible to adapting creative approaches when the usual SOP cannot be applied. Be able to change and adapt, or die.’

Top said that in order to stay flexible, we had to both recognize and then make the conscious choice to mix things up when life becomes routine.

What he said next to our class was very intriguing: ‘I want you to try an experiment. The next time you shave and/or brush your teeth, put on your socks and boots, your trousers, etc—I want you to simply use the opposite hand or start on the opposite side.

If you normally put on your right sock first, then start with your left. If you shave from your right side to left, then start on your left side. If you brush your teeth from the left side to right, then switch hands and start on the opposite side. Just pick one habit per day, change it, and then let me know how your day goes from there…’

Well, we followed Top’s direction and the results were interesting. Over the next few days of classes he went around the room to ask about our reactions, and a lot of us reported common experiences: awkwardness, being off-balance, baffled by how much thought went in to (or not) something so basic and, in general, how something as seemingly simple as changing which side of our face we shaved first, somehow affected our perspective on the day ahead. Overall, we agreed that it did have an effect. Top explained this, partly, as the result of invoking and exercising brain hemispheres and states of brainwave (alpha, beta, theta, etc).
— My dear friend

He concluded this history by commenting that he was grateful for the lesson and continues to apply these and other techniques for avoiding the doldrums.   

While developing this article I sent him this link and he replied at once with enthusiasm:  “That’s it- this article explains some of the principles that Top was trying to convey to us so many years ago..!” I appreciate that he helped retell the story from many years ago.

You may think that a few Operations geeks that were so into process would not be fans of change; however, it’s the opposite. We all need to embrace change and creativity to improve how we love, live, and work. When change is constant, it becomes the norm. When we change together, it makes the biggest impact.

 “Your actions determine which direction your life moves in. Therefore, to change the direction in your life, you must change your actions.”

Yours Truly