Eat the Green Gummi Bears First
A few years ago when I still had my Costco membership, I would pick up these 5lb bags of gummi bears. I let my membership lapse because I realized that I only went to Costco to get candy. My girlfriend and I would snack away mindlessly on plentiful handfuls of small, delicious, fruit-flavored bears and then I noticed that she was picking out specific colors and putting others back into the bag. I said, “Hey! Eat what you grab, there’s no picking!”
“But I don’t like the green ones.”
“I’m not a big fan of them either, but it isn’t fair for you to only get the good ones.”
“Fine, I’ll throw the green ones out.”
“No! There’s no need to throw bears out, eat the green ones first.”
When I was in the third grade or so, the school lunchroom had multiple tables for the children to sit and eat their meals with teachers wandering about to make sure we weren’t getting into food fights or other undesirable activities. At the end of the lunch period, the tables would be let out to recess if the monitors felt we were ready to go. One day, some of the kids at my table didn’t finish their school-provided lunch (my mom usually made a bag lunch for me), so we kept getting held back until they finished their vegetables. The teacher asked them, “Why don’t you finish your food so you can go out and play?”
“We don’t like it.”
“You ate the rest of your food, why not the vegetables?”
“They taste yucky and they leave a bad taste that lasts forever.”
“Well, eat the yucky food first, so you are done with it, then eat the food you like and you can take your time to enjoy it. Then you won’t have the aftertaste of the vegetables, you’ll taste the good stuff.”
The next time I was at a family dinner and found some vegetables on my plate, I thought of what my teacher said and I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised with the results and my teacher’s words became carved into my mental stone.
My girlfriend, being a trooper, gave it a try and is now a proponent of the methodology. No more discarded gummies! Over the years, I’ve applied this technique to activities beyond food and achieved remarkable results – especially in my job and with schoolwork. Research papers? Project reports? Customer interactions? Inventories? Do the pieces you don’t like right away. Get them over with. Use those completions as motivation for the rest of the work. Essentially, eat the green gummi bears first.