Last night I was taking a late train home from the city, reading the May issue of Women’s Health Magazine to unwind. I had just finished a really stimulating Expert Panel at ?WhatIf! on Skinny Innovation so my brain was still a bit in overdrive.

In between the articles on flatter abs and firmer buns, I came across an article about will power that really struck a chord.

The secret it seems to mastering the previously insurmountable task of controlling mind and body is ….drum roll please…eating with your left hand.

The article said if you are normally right-handed, but make an effort to break out of this pattern and eat with your left hand you will have more control over what you eat. After repeated forced use of your “less dominant” side, not only does will power improve but overall complex task mastery as well.

I found this really thought provoking with a potentially interesting twist for innovation.

I started to think about activities I take for granted and wondered if a little conscious detour could actually help me become more aware, more focused and perhaps more creative.

Here’s a few “left-handed” ideas:

Re-arrange the furniture in your office, cube, or just the layout of the stuff on your desk. (At ?WhatIf! they have open seating and everyone chooses a different location every day depending on their mood).

Take a different route to work. If you take the subway try the bus, if you walk try a different street, if you drive take a detour (or better yet…ride your bike!).

Switch from coffee to tea for the day.

Let someone else lead the meeting you usually chair.

Boxers to briefs?

You get the idea. Go out of your way to change a “second nature” behavior and see what develops.

That’s my point of View. What’s your twist?

What’s your “left-handed” trick?

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


  1. I am not a morning person by any stretch. So, for the longest time, I have followed a very prescriptive morning routine — therefore not having to think. Basically, I got ready on auto pilot.

    Lately, I have fallen out of this routine due to several dynamics over which I had little control. I found this disruption very taxing. But, as I look back on it now, it did force my brain to kick-in — and I can now recall starting my days with some good ideas on several fronts.

    After reading your great post, I now realize why this is happening — and why I should keep doing it. From now on, I am going to make sure I regularly mix up my morning routine. It is a positive, not a negative.

    Thanks for another inspiring post, Julie!

  2. I’d like to echo Tom and say that I have followed a relatively strict Monday – Friday routine for the past 6 years or so. Recently, my routine has been thrown up in the air and completely knocked out of whack.
    Surprisingly I’ve found that I’m smiling more and, strangely, feel more true to myself than I have felt in awhile. I’m noticing things I never noticed before in New York City. It’s pretty cool.
    Two days ago I observed a team of colleagues (likely advertising, creative types) playing a game in the park on the West Side by the river. It reminded me of the first days of spring when college professors let us have class “outside.” Eavesdropping a bit closer, I realized it was a type of brainstorming session and they were ideating in a non-traditional way and having a blast doing it. It’s true that the unseasonably warm temperatures made us all a little giddy this past week but I also thought it was a terrific way to shake up the routine for that team up and come up with some terrific ideas.

    Change, I’m learning, can really be a good thing.

    Another great succint post, Julie.

  3. Hello Julie,
    Nice post! I’ve been thinking about this one. Sometimes change kicks you into a better gear, but sometimes it’s disruptive. And sometimes habits mean you are stuck in a rut and sometimes they mean you are in a good routine. I sometimes struggle to understand the difference. 🙂
    I think that one of the arts of getting older is maintaining your ability to mix change into your life, balanced with a growing understanding of what kind of change will lead to self improvement or new insights.

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