The following is a speech I wrote for a Toastmaster’s meeting, I hope you enjoy it!
Coke or Pepsi?
McDonalds or Burger King?
Boxers or briefs?
You answered those pretty quickly I bet.
These are questions that get asked so often that we no longer actually make a choice between the options, it’s instinctual. It’s a habit.
When was the last time you changed your underwear?
No, not the physical pair you are (hopefully) wearing right now. I mean, when was the last time you made a conscious choice of what underwear you were going to buy?
If you are anything like me, it’s been awhile. I can tell you the exact store, the exact aisle, and the exact shelf I find my underwear because I get the same thing every time I go shopping.
It’s a habit.
And that’s not a bad thing.
Lets think about the mental energy we would have to expend if we had to actually choose our underwear EVERY time we went shopping.
There’s long johns, boxers, briefs, boxer briefs, boy shorts, panties, hipsters, thongs, g-strings, and, of course, the option to wear none at all.
Then there’s the fabric. You have cotton, polyester, satin, silk, and mixes of all of these.
Then there’s the color. White, black, “nude”, red, green, and even purple polka dot! A million and a half different choices to be made in color alone!
Even just looking at just of few item from each category, there are HUNDREDS of options to choose from.
And this is just for UNDERWEAR!
If we, as human beings, had to go through every option every time we went shopping, we would be paralyzed. It is simply too much for our brains to handle.
Which is why we have habits.
Make a choice a few times, probably without looking at all the options, and it becomes a habit.
Your brain does this so that you can be clothed and think of other things without seizing up.
This is fantastic for us, but it leaves one drawback.
Once made into a habit, we really stop thinking about whether the choice that was made was a good one.
I’ll give an example.
Writer A.J. Jacobs, in his book “My Life as an Experiment”, realized he didn’t really like his toothpaste.
He bought the same toothpaste every time he went shopping because it was a habit, but he wasn’t a huge fan of it.
He decided it was time to pick a new toothpaste so he bought one of every single toothpaste type he could find and he tried them all.
Some were too frothy, some were too minty, some didn’t seem to rinse out well, but he tried them all.
From that experiment, he found an apricot toothpaste that he really liked and he made it a habit to buy that one from now on.
Which brings me back to my original question: when was the last time you changed your underwear?
Habits are great and incredibly necessary for us to function, but they need to be examined every now and then to see if they are still doing what we need them to do.
Your morning routine, your work routine, your lunch routine, your afternoon routine, your bed time routine, your shopping routine, all these routines are habits that need to be looked at occasionally to make sure they are still working for you.
You may like your underwear you have, but there may be the most perfectly comfortable awesome pair out there and you would never know because you never even thought to look.
Therefore, I have a challenge for you.
I want you to look for something you do or use in your daily life that is ok, but could be better. The shampoo you use, toothpaste, underwear, the milk you drink, the apples you eat, choose one thing that you have been doing for years without thinking about.
And think about it.
It may seem silly because it’s not a huge choice like what college to go to or what car to buy, but I will argue that it’s more important.
These little habits stick with you your entire life and, without realizing it, they do have an impact on your day, your week, your life.
It is these little habits that build who you are.
Who do you want to be in 10 years?
And do you have the proper underwear to help you get there?