From as little as few days to the time when I was about 9years old, I was an addicted thumb sucker. Not only would my left thumb always be in my mouth, but my right palm would hide under my shirt, fiddling with my navel. It was as bad as that! In class, on the way, in church, in the toilet, think of any place, I would suck. Even while sleeping, my thumb would remain in my mouth. Now, I am beginning to imagine what you think of me. Smiles! My parents found this embarrassing while others would make a jest of me. The most embarrassing thing about it was that whenever I spoke, it was terrible. I’m sure you understand what I mean. Despite all strategies to make me quit sucking, I didn’t. I recall my mum one time making razor cuts on my thumb and adding Cameroon pepper, but did I stop? No! After the pain subsided, I resumed work as usual. But one day, my story would change forever, and that day came quickly!

One evening, my mum returned with a magazine. She opened to a page where there were some drawings and that was what worked. 5 minutes later I was completely delivered from the habit of sucking. “What were the drawings about?” you might be itching to ask. It about was a young beautiful girl addicted to sucking. She woke up one day to discover that she had become the ugliest girl in town. Her thumb was now ten times bigger and her lips had grown so large that they were dangling. So, my mother narrated her story to me, assuring me that I would become like that girl if I continued to suck my thumb. I felt so frightened as I imagined sleeping and waking up in her condition. My brother, my sister, do you know that my thumb-sucking addiction ended right there and then? I have never put my thumb my mouth since then.

Mean while, my mum’s friend showed the same magazine to her son who also was an addicted finger sucker. She narrated the girl’s ordeal to him as well, but the boy ignored it and continued sucking. In his mind, he must have said, “that is her cup of tea.” I know you are laughing right now.

What am I trying to say? What works for one might not necessarily work for another. That is why you may have set of twins have different reactions to the same situation. You do not use the same strategy on all your children or friends or colleagues.

Understanding what works for different people and different situations is key to proper management. Even in organizations, different strategies are used on different employees. There are staff who need emotional persuasion and there are others who need physical force to get jobs done.

It is also important to know what works for us in order to know how to manage our lives and situations. Trying to compare ourselves with others or wanting to imitate them can be a self-destructive strategy. Knowing what works for you can help you live a fulfilling life. Dr Ben Carson in his youthful age once picked up a holiday job with the town environmental cleaners. Carson discovered that the job usually took his whole day, and so devised a strategy to lesson his working hours. He suggested to his team to pick up refuses during the early hours of the day- that would save them from sweating in the sun while clearing garbage and being seen by many people. The interesting part of it was that he introduced playing of music during activities and it effective because the melodious sounds would increase their strength and agility. Ben Carson could then do his cleaning job in the morning and use the rest of the day for other productive activities. He summarized the innovation by saying that “we don’t necessarily have to play by the strict rules if we can find a way that works better, as long as it is reasonable and doesn’t hurt anybody.”

When we feel tired and dissatisfied with situations around us, we can innovate techniques that will work for us. Truth is we may have to critically think of strategies that would work for every area of our lives if we truly want to be happy people. How can we identify what works?

Characteristics of what works

  1. It brings solutions with ease: What works doesn’t stress you. it brings solutions with ease
  2. It saves time: Apart from the fact that it brings solution with ease, it saves time. So it doesn’t have to take you around Jericho to get things done for you.
  3. It suits you: You are comfortable with it, you can naturally fit into it. It aligns with you or what you want it to work on.

I take you back to the strategy that worked for my mum and on me. It was just what I needed to end sucking and in 5 minutes there was no struggle, it just delivered the solution with ease.

Sometimes we struggle with things, struggle with options, struggle with people that aren’t right for us. The simple truth is that they don’t work for us, so the more we keep managing, the more we keep hurting. It’s high time we looked inwards examine what works.


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