There’s a story about a woman preparing a ham dinner one evening. As she cuts the ends off of the ham, the husband says, “That’s a waste of perfectly good ham.” After a few moments, he asks her, “Why do you cut those ends off anyway?” The woman replies, “That’s how my mother used to prepare it.” After thinking about that for a few minutes, she calls her mother and asks her why she cuts the ends of the ham off before cooking it. “I don’t really know. That’s the way your grandmother always did it.”
The woman’s grandmother had passed away, but she figured she would reach out to her grandfather and ask him if he knew. “Grandpa, why did grandma always cut the ends off the ham before cooking it?” After a moment of silence, he responded… “So the ham would fit into the pan.”
I love this story for several reasons, but the main one is that it gets you thinking about how we tend to do a lot of things in our lives and do not even know why we do them. Traditions, habits, and behaviors are often passed from generation to generation. In many cases, this is great. Our ancestors and elders went through trials and tribulations, allowing them to pass down their wisdom, helping to keep us from making the same mistakes they made or to build on their improved methods and processes.
But too often bad habits and behaviors are perpetuated from generation to generation. Instead of stopping, taking a minute, and asking why we do things the way we do them, we just keep doing them.
I remember a discussion/debate I had with a registered nurse about a particular healthcare policy. She was confused and upset that I had a particular view on this matter and was very critical of that. She fired question after question at me. And as I shared the research I had done supporting why I had made the choices that I had, she seemed to get angrier and angrier. Her frustration grew as I began asking her questions about why she held so strongly to her beliefs. Finally, as if she had no other answers, she blurted out, “This is the way it’s always been done.”
There was a brief moment of silence as I let her realize what she had just said. Then I asked her if that was the best answer she had, and if she thought it wise to rethink doing things a certain way simply because it’s the way it had always been done.
Here’s the thing… doing things the way they have always been done, or retaining cultural or familial behaviors is a really good idea… if you are getting the results you want. However, if certain areas of your life are not going the way you would like them to, it might be time to start questioning what you are doing, and why you do what you do.
Family traditions, business policies, religious beliefs, and personal habits should be reviewed periodically. It is helpful to know why you are doing what you are doing or why you believe what you believe. A good place to start would be to consider how you handle your health and wellness. With so much sickness and disease around us, you MUST rethink your beliefs regarding today’s healthcare as well as your philosophy and the choices you make regarding your health.
People are often surprised at how much of their lives are running on autopilot. Many behaviors and beliefs are just picked up along the way. We assume there is rhyme or reason to why we do what we do, but too often it’s just the way it has always been done.