This recent blog post will focus on my ever-waning observational skills. Perhaps you will be able to relate.
I continue to swim five days a week before going to work. To do that, I must have my gym bag filled with lotions, potions and other accoutrements to transform myself from swim rat to working professional. Although carrying my gym bag could be considered a weight-lifting exercise, I do try to scale down the sizes of everything including my hair dryer.
Since shampoo and conditioner often come in very large bottles, I transfer the products into travel size containers. About a month ago, I received a notice in the mail that Ulta was having a buy 2 get 1 free sale on my shampoo and conditioner. Being a savvy shopper, I went right out and bought two big bottles of shampoo and one of conditioner. The shampoo label has green writing and the conditioner label is written in blue. I refilled the travel bottles as soon as I arrived back home.
The next time I was getting ready for work at the gym, I noticed that the conditioner was a different formula than in the past. It was much thinner in consistency. I really like a conditioner that sticks to my hair, because it helps counteract the effects of the pool chemicals. However, things change so I didn’t think much of it.
Each time I used the conditioner at the gym, I would think how much I missed the OLD formula. Then my mind would wander off to other products that have changed over time. I mean what was wrong with 45-rpm records. You stack them up, they all play through, and then the record player turns itself off. Or what about toothpaste? Colgate had one kind at the grocery; you grabbed it and went on your way. Heck, now we need a degree in chemical engineering to know which tube will serve our purpose. But, I digress.
This past weekend, I needed to refill my travel containers. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the shampoo and conditioner. I grabbed the bottle with the green print on the label and refilled the travel container with shampoo. Next I grabbed the bottle with the blue label and as I was about to pour the conditioner, something caught my eye. The word, SHAMPOO.
I stopped, put the bottle on the counter and looked at it carefully. Yep it read shampoo. Must be I had mixed up the labels in my mind. So I grabbed the other bottle only to see the word shampoo on it as well. I went to the cupboard to check the third bottle that I picked up on the day of the great Ulta sale and it was the green printed label reading shampoo.
For a minute, I just stood there thinking “what the heck?” and then I began laughing. I remember that on the day of the great SALE, I picked up the conditioner and immediately set it back down so I could grab TWO bottles of shampoo. When I went back to pick up the conditioner, I must have accidentally grabbed the blue label bottle of shampoo instead of the conditioner. I didn’t check to see if I had the correct products, I just paid for the items. I didn’t take the time to READ.
The conditioner formula had not changed. I was conditioning my hair, for a solid month, with SHAMPOO. Fortunately, I had a different type of conditioner in the closet and put that in my gym bag until I could go shopping.
The next time I went swimming, I began reflecting on the shampoo/conditioner saga. I smiled as I remembered the number of times that I had been frustrated by the change in formula. I used that “conditioner” about 20 times before I realized my mistake. Then as my mind often does, I wondered about the other parts of my life where I missed important details that could or would make my life easier.
Tinkering With Success is about becoming a better version of oneself. As you can see from this post, I need to get better about noticing details, both small and large. I think that our lives get so busy that, for routine tasks, we often operate on autopilot. We do what we typically do in that same situation. In this case, the outcome was more of a nuisance. It was just a shampoo/conditioner mix-up. This could have been a much more serious error. Thankfully, that was NOT the case.
While shopping at the great sale, I remember being distracted by the other shoppers finding their neat bargains. Multitasking is overrated and if you do any research on the topic, you will find that it is not very effective and, in some instances, not possible. As you move through your day, try to bring focus to the task at hand. And the next time you find yourself upset that a product (or circumstance) has changed, be sure it is truly the product and not YOUR version of the “shampoo impersonating conditioner”.