Once Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than shops in the USA 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 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 was not to solve as the farmers did not assume it was impossible - and simply asked how it could be done. They found out that if you put the watermelon in a square box when they are growing, the watermelon will take on the shape of the box - and grow into a square fruit.
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 too.
Question your habits : The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you work. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them.
Be creative : When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all phases of your life will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them.
Look for a better way : The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It's impossible to find a better way if you never ask a question in the first place. Get into the habit of asking yourself, "Is there a better way I could be doing this?" and you will find there often is.
Impossibilities often aren't : If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be impossible for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error. Take the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.
I am sure we can bring about change if we really want to.
Created by Sushma Gupta on May 27, 2001
Modified on 10/01/13