Two weeks ago I forgot to bring my contact lens case to the eye doctor.  So they gave me one of theirs to store my contacts in during the exam.

It was much smaller than my normal case, the kind you get for free with the solution.

But it worked fine.  When I got home I stuck the case, with my lens in it, on the counter and promptly forgot about it.

I don’t wear contacts everyday, just when I go into the real world to meet with clients. So I didn’t look for the case until a week later, when I was packing for a trip.

I opened it and was about to transfer the lens into my normal case, when it struck me, one case was much deeper than the other. The free case from the solution company took three times as much solution to fill it.

Marketing genius.

Full disclosure, I’m not a doctor, but it sure looked to me like my lenses were doing just fine in their smaller space. There they were, perfectly moistened, oblivious to the fact that they were no longer swimming in an Olympian pool of solution.

Look, I don’t have an ax to grind with solution providers. They make great stuff, you can buy it at the airport, and they save me from wearing granny glasses in public.

I’m a sales person at heart. I love the idea that someone said, “Hey, if we make the cases a little deeper, we’ll sell more solution.”

But my contact solution epiphany does give me pause. It makes me wonder, how many other areas of my life am I just going through the motions?

How much of our lives are being lived unconsciously, using up stuff, spending time, and going along with what we assume we’re supposed to do?

My unconscious solution usage was costing me twenty bucks a year and a few extra trips to the store.

Not a tragedy, but the consequences of other unconscious behaviors may be more costly.

How many rules are we following, or assumptions are we accepting, without even realizing it?

Try this experiment: for the next 24 hours pay attention to everything you do, and ask yourself, why?

Why am I buying this?  Why am I using this?  Why am I doing this?

If the answer is “Because you’re supposed to.” look more carefully.

Being unconscious about some things is a good strategy, it frees up your brain for more important decisions.  But if you’re unconscious about everything, you wind up letting other people script your entire life.

The marketers will tell you what to buy, the politicians will tell you what to think, and assumptions from your past will determine your future.

(c) Lisa Earle McLeod

Lisa Earle McLeod is a sales leadership consultant. Companies like Apple, Kimberly-Clark and Pfizer hire her to help them create passionate, purpose-driven sales forces.

She the author of The Triangle of Truth, which the Washington Post named as a “Top Five Book for Leaders.” 

She has appeared on The Today Show, and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal.  She provides executive coaching sessions, strategy workshops, and keynote speeches.

More info: www.LisaEarleMcLeod.com  Lisa’s Blog – How Smart People Can Get Better At Everything

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