My parents and I were in the States recently. Walking down Main Street, we had to stop at numerous crossings controlled by stop lights. Each time, we would stop, press the crossing button and wait for the signal to cross. Here, the symbol for stop is a red hand, and the symbol for go is a white colored walking man.
The red hand would be there, and we’d be waiting and talking and getting distracted by the shop windows, and then someone would notice we could cross. Each one of us said at one time or another ‘it’s green!’. The symbol for go in England is a green colored walking man. We KNEW the man we were looking at was a white light, and yet the rut in our brains that the man is green is so deep, that we couldn’t overcome it. (For the same reason, I persist in calling Main Street, the high street).
It’s hard to make the changes we know we should – not to check our phones every 20 seconds, to always do the important but not urgent work first, to do our filing once a week – because the ruts are so deep. Knowing that gives you the advantage though. You’re smarter than your brain. You know it’s a rut and it can be broken out of. It just takes a little effort. The man is not green, and it’s Main Street!