Sometimes conventional wisdom is (unfortunately) correct

One feature of my personality is that I tend to be a mis-matcher. And by mis-matcher I mean that if you were to say to me, “the sky is blue.” I would (at least in my head) want to reply, “that’s not technically true the light is just refracted in such a way that the blue light is what we perceive” (or something to that effect). I like to think of counter-examples, exceptions to the rule, and love the delightfully unexpected.

The great thing about this feature is that I am creative. I will often look at a problem from different perspectives until I find the solution. I like to find work-arounds, short cuts, and roads not taken.

The downside is that sometimes the conventional way is, in fact, the best, fastest or easiest way to do it (or at least good enough because blazing your own trail can be exhausting). Also, some people (myself included) find my never ending list of suggestions for different ways to do things to be a teensy bit annoying.

A couple of examples of this phenomena that I’ve noticed to be true are (and I think a big reason I was willing to change was because I read Daniel Pink’s excellent book When: The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing)

1.Exercising in the morning does make a difference

I sort of hate this. Because often it is more convenient for me to exercise in the evening. But, when I start my day with some kind of exercise — a trip to the gym, a short walk with my dog, a sun salutation — it makes a difference for the rest of the day. I may do my more exercise in the evening, but exercising in the morning is good stuff.

2. Children really are happier when they go to bed earlier

Because of my work schedule (our classes are in the evenings and we often work til 9 pm or later), for the first several years of my daughters’ life, we eschewed the conventional wisdom that young children should be in bed by 7 and wake up early. Our daughter stayed up til 10 or later every night and still got her 10 hours of sleep, she just woke up at  8 or 9 am.

Now that we’ve had to adjust to preschool and elementary school schedules, we’ve made an earlier bedtime work, and they are happier and more well-adjusted when they go to bed earlier. I wanted there to be a work-around for this SO badly, and we were fine during our season of crazy bedtimes, but this is a little better.

3. Taylor Swift’s music is really good.

I know this may be the most controversial thing I’ve posted on this blog, but I really enjoy her music — it’s popular for a reason.

And more generally, I am reminded of one of Gretchen Rubin’s “Secrets of Adulthood”:

For the most part, I’m very much like other people, but our differences are very important.

Often, what works for most people will probably work for me. Life hacks, creative problem solving, and taking a unique perspective on problems are all great. But sometimes there’s a long line at that restaurant because that restaurant is awesome.

As much as it pains me to say this, sometimes the obvious choice really is the best one.

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