As I was walking into work recently, I noticed our facilities guy Ralph rolling a large filing cabinet around on a small square wooden platform that had a caster wheel on each corner. While on this platform, the large cabinet was obviously easy to move around. I was intrigued with how Ralph got the cabinet onto the platform in the first place. In my mind, I was thinking of how he might have done this, but it seemed like that it would have been challenging and involve some degree of brute force.
My curiosity finally won the day and I asked Ralph how he was able to get the big cabinet up on that tiny cart. Ralph explained his method and how easy it was, using some leverage and surprisingly little effort. After he finished his explanation, he looked at me smiling, pointed to his head and said, “You’ve got to use the big muscle first.”
I love that saying. It’s so simple, yet so true. Ralph was stating the obvious, though often forgotten principle, of first thinking about what you’re doing and creating a plan before just diving in and forcing something to happen.
I must admit that I don’t always remember to do this with tasks at hand either physical or mental. So often, I attempt to cause something to happen by physical force or will, without first coming up with a logical approach to accomplishing the task. Have you ever rushed into a task like that, without a first thinking about what might be the best approach? I hope I’m not the only one.
As you face new tasks this week, take a few seconds to stop and see whether you would benefit from using the big muscle first. If you’ve successfully completed the task a million times before, you can probably go ahead and jump right in. However, if you are presented with a task you’ve never done before, or done very few times, it would most likely be beneficial to use the big muscle first and get a plan of attach in place instead of just diving in.
Give it a try. See if your tasks don’t become easier to complete by using the big muscle first. It’s just waiting to be put to work!