innovation, new ways of doing things

Why Tying Your Shoes Wrong Matters

You learned how to tie your shoelaces in kindergarten, or maybe you were very bright and your parents taught you when you were three or four.

So for all these years, you’ve been doing it the same way as I have – and it’s wrong. I learned this just a couple of days ago from a BloombergBusiness video.

I’ve practiced tying my walking shoes several times and it’s far superior to how I did it before. Learning to do this most basic task a new way shook up how I’ve been thinking about things.

Here is a demo of how to tie your shoes going forward (preceded by a brief commercial).

Are You Stuck in a Rut?

There is always a lesson to be learned to improve our lives and our businesses. Why do we persist in doing things the same way when they don’t produce the results we want? We’re on automatic pilot when it comes to our service and product offerings.

If what you’re offering is not selling enough, why not change your strategy? Years ago I worked for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. We promoted rum because all the excise taxes collected in the U.S. on the sale of rum reverted to the Puerto Rican treasury. So it behooved the government to get more people to drink rum – more rum, more taxes.

But studies showed that most Americans thought rum was too sweet. That’s because they associated rum with Rum and Coke made with brown rum. But white rum is not sweet. In fact, in taste tastes against vodka and gin, white Puerto Rican rum always came out on top.

So we mounted a major promotional campaign. Advertising alone wasn’t going to work. We had to get consumers to taste white rum to see how wrong their perceptions were. We also developed tie-ins with other consumer products companies. For example, we created the “Teetotaler “ – white rum with ice tea and then traveled around the country doing tastings for consumers and retailers.

I always marveled at the looks on faces when people tasted white rum – in martinis (yum), or paired with tonic, water, and soda. Over time Bacardi (a rum made in Puerto Rico) became the best selling brand in the white liquor category.

What’s New With You?

What’s new in your business – or is it the same old, same old? I should talk. What have I done lately that makes me the great authority? I’ve sure been thinking about my business – and how much I want to invest my time and resources into it as I slide into retirement.

But I’m not ready to throw it in just yet. So what do I want to do to make some money and have some fun?

What are you going to do to shake things up? Did you try tying your shoes the new way? Isn’t it better? No more loose laces on the treadmill or tripping you up on your run. There’s always a better way if you’re on the lookout for it.

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  1. Great question and great timing. In November, I started thinking about what I want to change and improve on for next year. This past weekend, I finished some more pages that I wanted to create on my website. And, now I am ready to reevaluate some areas and services that I want to improve on for my organizing and small business admin services. It is a process and can be overwhelming but it does help. Thanks for sharing this reminder. I like the shoe video too. My husband showed me this year ago, but I don’t normally wear tied shoes so I didn’t care. But, he changed the way he tied his dress shoes and has been doing it every since.

  2. Well who knew about tying your shoes with the Madison tie? Have to give it a try tomorrow when I walk. You asked, Why do we persist in doing things the same way when they don’t produce the results we want? Because it’s a habit. We get into habits and rarely stop to question things like you suggest – are we getting results we want.

    What am I going to do to shake things up? Hmmm. I’ll sleep on that one because really, I am closer to retirement than you Jeannette!

    • Patricia — If we’re talking age than I’m way closer than you! It’s true, we’re creatures of habit. I think the most fun I had in a long time occurred back in 2009 when I started blogging and then committed myself to becomimg adept at social media. It opened up a whole new world for me. I think we’re always up for new challenges — just need to figure out what they are.

  3. The tying shoe video was a great lead-in to the topic. So often we persist in doing things the same way even when they aren’t that effective. (Reminds me of the day and a half my husband spent on the phone with Microsoft tech support, each technician doing the same things which hadn’t worked for the previous agent.) Shaking things up can be exciting and effective. BTW, I’ve been tying my shoes wrong all my life! I’m going to change that.

    • Donna — yes, the video was an eye-opener because whenever I tied my sneakers (OK, old-fashioned term), they’d come undone. Never occurred to me there could be a better way. That’s what led me to write the post.

  4. Isn’t it funny how we can just do things over and over without ever even stopping to think there might be a different or BETTER way to do them? We get so set in our ways that it doesn’t even cross our minds. I find it helpful when I’m looking to shake things up to get a fresh set of eyes to look at things and give me a different perspective. It is amazing sometimes a new person can come in and just right away go “why in the world were you doing it that way? This way would work so much better.” I just want to kick myself when the answer is that that is the way I’ve always done it. Haven’t got the shoe tying video to play yet, but can’t wait to see how I’m doing that wrong for all these years. Lol

    • Susan — I can relate to what you’re saying. It may have seemed silly, but when I saw this video on BloombergBusiness I decided to practice tying my shoes the new way. Of course, it’s better because your shoe laces stay nice and tight. Duh. It wouldn’t have dawned on me — once you get in a rut it’s hard to climb out. Let’s face it, it’s easier to just “go along to get along.”

  5. I’m still in the phase of learning how to be the best freelancer I can be, and there’s so much to learn. It’s hard to know where to start some days and what practices are best to focus on. Referrals have been good, but I need to commit more to promoting my services. I don’t mind that aspect, but tend not to make time for it. However, when it comes to my writing, I still am not into marketing it, but at least now I realize it’s because I’ve been writing all over the map and need to find more of a niche. But it’s hard to find a niche without first experimenting with possibilities.

    • Jeri — Your last words, “…experimenting with possibilities” is so important. Once you find your niche the steps you need to take to market yourself will fall into place. Not that it will be easy. Who said making a living would be easy?!

  6. What a wonderful example of the importance of questioning assumptions. And I have to admit I would be one of those people to associate rum with the old rum and coke standby.

    So, what am I doing to shake things up? I have been stretching my brain in so many new directions lately I can barely make myself sleep! I’ve just completed running my first two online courses and right now – today – am putting the finishing touches on my motivational product line that I’ll sell from my new online gift shop. I would be embarrassed to tell you have many times I stumbled trying to figure out how to set all this stuff up, but I have been having a blast! These projects have required a huge investment in time and energy and I haven’t even begun marketing them yet, but I’m looking at both the gift shop and the courses as building sustainable elements of my business that will – eventually – allow me to move away from trading hours for dollars and be able to travel again! 🙂

    • Marquita — more power to you! I wish you all the luck in the world. I admire your posts and learn so much from them I just hope you will find customers who feel the same way.

  7. Jeannette, I can’t watch the video on this old computer so I am definitely going to have to come back to this post when I get my new one the end of this month. Imagine, having to learn to tie my shoes at my age.

    I have been working on my Etsy shop and while I get quite a few visitors, I don’t seem to get any buyers. This shop is something I really want to do so have to keep trying to find a solution. One day it will click and all come together.

    Reading blogs by the BHB members have introduced me to a lot of people with some very interesting backgrounds, you included. Working for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. How in the world did you come by a job like that, it’s very unusual. By the way, I used to love Bacardi rum – am more of a white wine spritzer gal now.

    • Lenie — Yay, you’re getting a new computer. I know, I feel the same way about tying my shoes. But the new way does keep them from untying, which is such a pain. I got to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico through what was then called a Personnel agency. They needed a PR person in the government’s NY office, and I fit the bill even though I didn’t speak Spanish. It was a very interesting experience. Fun and gratifying to know that we were also promoting (besides rum) economic development and helping to create jobs there.

  8. Terrific post, Jeannette, as always.

    I think that technology and social media really help us to keep moving forward in the way we do things. Ever-changing technology will not LET us stand still. It makes us embrace change and keep looking at new options in order to stay in the game. I’m grateful for that.

    • Doreen — Thanks and you’re right. We can’t get left behind even if we do nothing to learn about technology. It will simply drag us along, like it or not!

  9. Hi Jeannette,
    I was so skeptical while reading the beginning of your post. Even though, my sneakers are constantly coming untied. LOL – That actually was very informative and I’m going to start tying my shoes that way.

    That’s a terrific story about your work with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. As for what’s new with me, my husband took early retirement the first of this year and I’ve been slacking when it comes to blogging. After all the losses we experienced last year, (my mother-in-law, a sister-in-law and my husband’s best friend all passed away within about a week of each other), I’m spending less time blogging and more time with family.

    Don’t count me out yet though! We’re brainstorming ideas of ways to make money. Luckily, we work well together. I still like helping people with their online businesses. I just want to focus more on the strategies and less on the behind the scenes techie stuff.

    It seems like a lot of us baby boomers are at the same point in our lives – reassessing where we are and where we’re headed. I think it’s keeping us young.

    • Sherryl — We all have different priorities at different times in our lives. I’m “working retired” and sliding more towards the retirement than the working, even though I enjoy the assignments I get. I’m blogging less, too, trying to write when I have something to add to the conversation. You will figure out what’s next, I’m sure.

  10. Hey Jeannette,

    To be honest with you, my shoes never come untied so although I don’t tie it like they’re suggesting I obviously am doing a good enough job to not worry about it at that crucial moment.

    I do agree though that with some things we might be under the impression that they are one way when they’re actually the other. As you know from my post today I’m going to start doing webinars. So although this isn’t anything new, it is for me and a way that I feel I need to get in front of more people. It scares the heck out of me too only because when I get really nervous about something I stumble all over my words so when the time comes that I’m on my own, well that’s going to be the true test.

    Thanks for sharing this though, you can give us something to think about. Things are always changing or in the case, we’re finding other ways to do some things better. 😉


    • Adrienne — tuning in to many webinars about social media really helped me in the beginning of my blogging and social media journey. I’ve also participated in webinars and learned some do’s and don’ts that I could share with you. It’s important to practice first and select the two or three key messages you want to communicate. I’m sure you will be a big success!