Thursday, 7 May 2009

If it ain't broke...

A fair few years ago I was flicking through a random business-related magazine. I wish I could remember what it was, what the articles were about or why I was reading it - clearly it was that exciting. Anyway, in between snoozes I fell upon a comment made by a company CEO or a Professor of something or other (sometimes I find detail so over-rated...). The phrase in question was: "If it ain't broke, break it." The reworking of a chronically over-used line wasn't enough to keep me engaged and I filed the mag in the waste paper bin.

But over the years that phrase has had a habit of popping into my consciousness when I least expect, like some syrupy boy band rendition that you ignored at the time but now happily tap away to as it's ripened with age and isn't full of cheese after all... Indeed, the phrase in question has made me think a lot about those good old "comfort zones".

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not the type that's had an epiphany telling me to sell up all my worldly possessions, renounce capitalism and build myself a treehouse in the Amazon (though there's nothing wrong with anyone taking that route, and maybe I'm limiting myself by assuming I'm not the type...). No, it's the idea that maybe sometimes you don't realise how much you really are coasting along, however natural it feels. Playing and 'clocking' the same video game over and over because you know you're good and you can; having your Friday fish dinner because you quite like it and always have fish on a Friday; every Saturday night hanging out with the same crew that you have in the same bar for the past many years. We all have our own conventional and random versions of the above.

Sometimes change for change sake is good, sometimes change for change sake is rotten. So I'm not suggesting this will work for everyone in every circumstance. Sometimes there is no need. But having myself tried to recollect what I did of value over a couple of samey years earlier this decade (years which personal evidence suggests never actually happened), I realised that once in a while it's worth thinking about shaking up the cosy, 'nice' little existence. Or at the very least consider ways of taking things to the next level. My approach is evolution not revolution. But if you prefer, go at it with a hammer...


  1. I really like the way you write! It's got a dash of humour in there that I really enjoy. I lived for many years under "if it aint broke, DON'T fix it"...although I didn't use that saying per se, it's just how I lived my life, mostly in fear of change. Now I'm breakin' it all and the change is REALLY good. I think that fear of the unknown stops a lot of people from changing up boring or toxic routines, and it's a shame because they miss out on so much...I can speak from experience, I did my "housecleaning" earlier last year and had the same realization. Nice post!

  2. Many thanks, Rain. It's amazing how most of us are happy to live with that toxic mix. Fear - yep, that's a big one. Glad to see that you are moving onwards though.