What do coconut, sweet potatoes and avocadoes have in common? They’re all foods that never passed by my lips when I was a kid. Maybe I would have eaten one of them if forced to choose between it and cooked spinach. But now that I’m older, those three foods are among my favorites. A coconut mocha from Starbucks? The perfect Friday treat. BLT with avocado? Yum. And nothing says Thanksgiving like a sweet potato casserole.
It works the other way, too. Ice cream, cake and pop (soda for you in the South) used to be pretty high on my food enjoyment list but not anymore. Maybe it’s because my taste buds are changing or perhaps I’ve repressed memories of a birthday party gone horribly wrong.
No matter the reason for my change in tastes, I wouldn’t know that I liked the new-to-me foods unless I first gave them a try. Experts say there are significant benefits to trying new things. In a Redbook article, “The Surprising Benefits of Finding a New Hobby”, the author discusses that trying new things, well…opens us up to new things. New ways of thinking, new ideas and new experiences.
In his TED talk, Matt Cutts shares how his effort to try something new for 30 days has led him to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, start biking to work and write a novel (albeit a terrible one as he’s the first to admit). One of my favorite things to do when I’m in a funk is to drive a different route to work, the mall or routine errands. It’s not nearly as fun as climbing a dormant volcano in Africa but it does help clean out the cobwebs in my head.
So if you’re in a funk or need fresh ideas to solve a problem at work or home, take baby steps and try something new today. Shop at a different grocery store, eat a new food or climb the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator.
One new thing I’m going to try which I took from Matt’s talk is to take one picture every day. I think it will make me look for details around me that I usually ignore. And as for cooked spinach? Well, I’ve eaten it and still don’t like it. Some things never change!