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Innovation Insights
by Stephen Shapiro

Change the question, innovation

Change the Question; Change Your Life

Change the question, innovationMany years back I consumed a massive amount of diet cola. 5 liters or more each day. I would unconsciously drink a 20-ounce bottle while working at my desk. It seemed like within 5 minutes it was empty, and I didn’t even recall drinking it. So I would buy another and consume it equally fast. 10 bottles (or more) a day was typical. And it didn’t really give me that much pleasure because I was not present while drinking.

When I realized I had a problem, I decided to stop drinking soft drinks. Cold turkey. Of course that did not work. I had dreams of dancing Coke bottles at night. Seriously. I craved it more when I couldn’t have it.

What went wrong? I was solving the wrong problem.

“How can I stop drinking soda?” was the (unwritten) challenge statement.

The question had me focus on what I could not have. Every solution felt like a sacrifice.

I could have tried a different question, “How can I be more present when drinking soda?” This would have increased my awareness of my consumption and would have increased my enjoyment.

But instead I tried a different question; one that led to success.

“How can I drink 2 liters of water a day?”

No restriction on how many soft drinks. No perceived sacrifice. If I want diet cola, I  can have one. And I don’t have to be “present” while drinking it. But I must find a way to drink 2 liters of water a day.

My methods included buying/filling a 1-liter bottle of water at the beginning of each day and another one at lunchtime. I also got a nice water bottle that I loved drinking out of and I would fill it up – repeatedly. Now I have a refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser. I love crushed ice in my water. Drinking water is a joy.

I no longer buy diet cola for the house. I only drink it out with a meal. When I buy soft drinks for the house, I typically buy all natural ones sweetened with Stevia (hoping those are healthier).

The result? I drink much less diet cola. And when I crave one, I enjoy one.

When you change the question, you change the result, which can change your life.