Follow the directions

Paper Towel Dispenser

Sometimes my own stubbornness amazes me. I was in the restroom, with a purse and a briefcase, and after washing my hands, I figured I could just pull a paper towel out with one hand. Even though the image showed two hands pulling the paper towel with even strength, I figured I could one-hand it. So I did. And guess what? The paper towel tore. And then I tried again. And it tore again. When I grabbed it with both hands, it worked. Duh. Yet how often do I do this… blatantly ignore instructions and then get upset when I don’t get the result I want? More often than I care to admit. Perhaps you do this too. So today my advice for you is to follow the directions.

Here are some ways you might do this:

  • When a writer or speaker starts with “Please read carefully” or “Please listen carefully” it is probably because they are about to tell you how to avoid making mistakes countless others have made before you. Speaking from my own experience here.

  • When you are headed out and your host gives you specific directions to avoid the detour and easily get where you’re going, resist the urge to just say, “I’ll use the GPS on my phone” because the app you use may not be aware of the detour the person was telling you about. Also speaking from my own experience here.

  • When that small voice in your head tells you, "Look this up," listen to that voice rather than proceeding without help. Yep, you guessed it. I have experience with this one too.

Of course, there are times when we can ignore the directions because we know exactly what we’re doing. But if things don’t turn out the way you think they will… remember it might just be because you aren’t following directions. And next time you are at this type of paper towel dispenser, remember to use both hands - the first time.

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