This is the last week of summer break for our kids. So this morning as I was preparing in the darkness for my sunrise bike ride to Starbuck’s, I placed extra importance on being stealth-like as I left the house. An act that includes knowing which are the squeaky stair steps and being able to obtain needed items in the dark. Things like a wallet, hat and digital camera. At one point during this ritual I was reaching from a dark room into an even darker closet, trying to obtain a belt. After a few seconds that seemed like an hour, I shifted the focus from that of relying on my sight to relying on my sense of touch. I knew that the belt I wanted to wear had a distinct texture.
Seeking focus, I closed my eyes and dropped my head as if to somehow obtain super power. All of a sudden, this moment of frustration turned into a moment of enlightenment… as if I was “Grasshopper” trying to steal the marble from the master’s hand. I could almost hear Yoda saying “done well my young Padawan”. It worked. Implementing a dormant sense of touch paid off. I instantly found the belt. And perhaps more importantly, in some way this simple and silly act, served as an antidote for the subtle numbing to such things one can encounter as they proceed through life.
(Indian bead belt, purchased from L.L. Bean and made in China)
A quick assessment of my surroundings indicates that I predominately rely on sight first, then sound. Seldom do I tap into taste, smell or touch as tools to aid with decisions. I’m sure if I were a better cook or guitar player, that would be different but, hey… we all have things we need to work on right?
This ordeal got me thinking that during our day-to-day existence, how little we treat all of our senses to the gift of recognition. And if there is opportunity with what we do as “experience managers” to correct that. At first it seems impossible or perhaps corny, that there could be ways to implement this concept. I don’t suggest that a home mimic the experience of walking into a Spencer Gifts store. But what if each drawer we opened in a dresser released a different aroma such as your favorite soap, potpourri or spice? What if a radio, tuned to soothing piano music crawled to life every time you flipped the light switch to on in your master closet? What if there was a sheepskin rug on the floor where you stand as you pick out your socks? What if you kept a tin of Altoids Cinnamon in the garage and every time you went out there to empty the recycling bin, you grabbed one?
In a previous career life, I attended a Zig Ziglar sales training event. I recall one of the presenters talking about the value in vacations… he said (in a rich Texas drawl) “once in a while, you just gotta sharpen the saw if you want to keep on dropping trees”. In a time of dwindling natural resources, that’s probably not a good analogy, but the point being, perhaps finding a belt in the dark can actually enable you to see the world more clearly.