My 7 year old son is learning to use a laptop. He asked me why the keyboard isn’t in alphabetical order. It would making typing so simple and easy, he suggested.
The answer to his question goes back a long, long way…
You see, the very first typewriters used keys arranged in alphabetical order. But the characters were mounted on metal arms which would jam if neighbouring arms were pressed at the same time.
The letters on the keyboard were rearranged in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer from Wisconsin. He designed the QWERTY layout to keep the keys used most, far apart from each other, to reduce jams and raise typing speed.
This layout became the standard and is still used today because people learned the layout and could maintain their muscle memory as they switched between different typewriters. Then, when computer keyboards were created, it was only logical to use the same key layout everyone already used.
Seems crazy, right? The layout on your high speed, internet-connected computer was designed almost 250 years ago.And yet that’s true for so much of our lives, too.
As a coach, I spend my time with clients looking for clues. What is holding this super successful woman back from her next level of success? Why is this Olympic athlete able to perform at the highest levels, yet struggles to make money? Why does this millionaire business owner have so much ease making money, yet struggles to hold down a relationship?
So often, the answer is that a mindset that helped them have success in the past – or in another situation – is no longer working.
How do I get to the root of these past mindsets? I use provocative and “obvious” questions to listen for what’s not being said. I listen for the question behind the question. I create enough safety and love to get to the heart of what they really need – or what’s really going on. I get curious about how they think and where their motivation and their energy come from. And I listen to the content of their stories and then I draw out the real context of the situation.
How about you… If you got really honest, what are the outdated thoughts or actions – that go back a long, long way – that are holding you back the most, right now?
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