Switch It Up

“Who knows what could happen, but I think you do yourself a disservice for not giving something new a try.”

tl;dr:

  • It’s not that bad
  • You might be missing out
  • Don’t be boring

It’s Not That Bad

Some time ago, probably around two or three years, I heard that it’s not that hard to switch from doing something with your left hand to your right, and vice versa. I’m not sure where I heard it exactly, but I definitely remember thinking, “no ways, that’s bullshit.” It sat with me, though. The idea of doing something with your non-dominant hand that you’ve been doing with your dominant one for practically your entire life, maybe there is something to it? I was curious, to say the least, so I decided to give it a shot. For the foreseeable future, I was going to brush my teeth with my left hand (my right is my dominant — fyi).

As it turns out, that person was right. It’s not that bad.

I thought I would have a terrible time. I mean, surely with all the motor function involved in brushing your teeth so engrained in your muscle memory (especially after years of conditioning), I would have a terrible time trying to essentially teach my other hand to do it? Well, I’m both right and wrong at the same time on that one.

Turns out I’m right, because it’s kinda like trying to now swap your hands around when doing that “pat your head and rub your stomach” game we also try and fail at (yes, I hear you ambidextrous freaks of nature, we know you’re superior, so you can stop smirking now). But, it turns out I’m also wrong because with a little repetition and habit you can, in fact, train your other hand to do something new. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

I thought it would take me longer than it did to become second nature, but one day I woke up and realised I was grabbing my brush with my left hand and the toothpaste with my right, without really thinking about it. Bam! I’m ambidextrous now! Well, not quite. I might be able to do it as second nature now, but I’m still not great at it. My teeth get brushed, don’t get me wrong, but not as quickly and seamlessly as before, that’s for certain, but that’s not the point.

The point is it’s not that difficult to do things differently if you give it enough time and practice. By no means will I win an award at brushing my teeth with my left hand. But, I am better at it than I thought I would be, just because I gave it a shot. What you give a shot may be very different to me, but if you don’t try you’ll never know how good you could have been at it.

You Might Be Missing Out

Along the same lines, you also don’t know if you’re missing out on a unique experience because you’re only doing something one way. I may be getting a little too profound about brushing my teeth, but after all the years of doing so with one hand, I never entertained doing it with the other, so I didn’t know what I was missing. I wasn’t missing much (beyond the opportunity to write a weird article like this one), but, again, that’s not the point. The point is that you never know what you’re missing until you try something different.

Maybe you’ve been a rugby lad all your life and you never gave badminton a shot, but you could be the next Kento Momota. You just don’t know. That’s the most exciting part about doing something differently to how you’ve been doing it your whole life; you could be tapping into something you never dreamed of. Who knows what could happen, but I think you do yourself a disservice for not giving something new a try.

Don’t Be Boring

One of the best parts about doing something not a lot of people do, is that you have bragging rights. I’m not saying the point of doing something new and different is to brag, but I’m also not saying that’s an entirely bad thing.

My dad is left-handed (or so he says), but he does most things in his life with his right hand. Pretty much everything except for a few select things, such as writing. I don’t know about you, though, but writing with your non-dominant hand is definitely what makes you a little more interesting than the rest of us. You write with your normal hand? Boring. Try do everything else with your right and only write with your left; now that’s interesting.

Of course, I’m biased to my father. I find a lot of things he does interesting. But the point of what I’m getting at is if you do everything like everyone else does, what’s something fun you can bring up at drinks with the office or bingo with gran? You’re just like everyone else, so what’s interesting to talk about? What’s unique about what you do?

Being unique isn’t always something you’re born with, except when your mother tells you you’re special. Definitely believe that. But if everyone is unique then everyone is also the same. So stand out. Do something different. You don’t have to be born with a special talent or inclination towards doing something a certain way, you can also practice it till it becomes a part of you. That’s a different kind of special, that’s initiative.

Don’t be boring. Being boring sucks.

I never saw myself as someone who did everything with their right hand except brush their teeth. Now I do, and I like it, purely for the principal of it. All it took was an active change and I have something I do a little different that brings me joy (however mundane the thing is). Who knows what that means for what I can change tomorrow. Imagine what a small change could do for you.

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Full-time designer, illustrator and lettering artist. Part time lecturer. Part time student. Experiencing the world through words, both written and drawn.

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Zachary Styles

Zachary Styles

Full-time designer, illustrator and lettering artist. Part time lecturer. Part time student. Experiencing the world through words, both written and drawn.

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