Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was one of the pioneers of computer programming. In 1952, she developed a compiler that allowed people to program in English and then convert it into code. Besides being brilliant, she had an ability to get amazing things done in tightly controlled, risk-averse situations.
Her advice for being creative was to look for questions that people answered with “we’ve always done it this way” and see if there was another way to do it. Always be looking for a better way. Challenge yourself not to settle into a groove without some experimentation to make sure you’re doing it the best possible way.
She believed in this so strongly that she made the following promise which you are welcome to apply to yourself.
For the rest of your life, every time you say, “We’ve always done it that way,” my ghost will appear and haunt you for twenty-four hours.
Who wants to be haunted by a ghost shaming you for your complacency? If someone asked you why you were doing things the way you’re doing them, would you have an answer?