Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than their US counterparts and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is how I would assume the vast majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, “How can we provide one?” It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon.
The solution to the problem of round watermelons wasn't nearly as difficult to solve for those who didn't assume the problem was impossible to begin with and simply asked how it could be done. It turns out that all you need to do is place them into a square box when they are growing and the watermelon will take on the shape of the box.
This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the US meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.
Here's a few lessons that can we can take from the square watermelons:
- Get rid of assumptions: Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it.
- Question habits: Question the way you do things on a consistent basis and thus you can continually improve the way that you live your life. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you are used to.
- Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective the solution may be quite simple.
- Find a better solution: Seek a better and more convenient way to do something. It's impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the right questions in the first place.
- Nothing is impossible: If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. Believe the assumption that it CAN be done!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.