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David Squires

Stubborn Ice Cubes and Other Lessons Learned



I was really frustrated recently with my ice cube trays. Half of one tray was filled with stubborn ice cubes that simply would not disengage from their slots. I kept refilling the trays around the stuck ice cubes, but this seemed a terrific waste of resources, causing my overall ice-cube yield to come in 25% less than it should. Finally, determined to solve the problem, I pulled the tray out of the refrigerator and began banging it on the kitchen counter. Nothing. Banged sideways. Banged upside down. I even pulled out a steak knife and considered using that to pry the cubes out, but that seemed unwise.

“How am I going to get these damned ice cubes out of the tray?” I thought. Then, all of a sudden, I thought: “Wait a minute …”

Point: The solutions to your problems are sometimes screamingly obvious. Take a step back and make sure you’re not missing anything big.


In 1988, after the release of the underwhelming album/movie “Rattle and Hum”, U2 seemed a band that had already reached its peak. Instead of trying to redo what had already been successful for them, Bono and company went back to the drawing board in an effort to create something brand new. The result: a work that set the stage for the next decade of their career, and one of the most lauded albums in rock history.


Point: Everybody needs an Achtung Baby in their career, a work that completely leaves the past behind, and takes you in a brave new direction.


In a concerted effort to lower my golf handicap (okay, actually, to shoot golf scores low enough to actually have a golf handicap), I’ve been taking golf lessons.

The pro watched me for a few minutes, took videos, and worked with me on several major fixes. As frustrated as I was with my game, I was absolutely willing to take his instruction and commit fully to every one of his suggestions. Probably the biggest of his suggestions was weakening my grip, which was way, way too strong.

The first time I tried it, the new group felt absolutely alien. It felt like I was playing tennis and trying to hit a tennis ball with the side of the racket. I didn’t see how this could possibly work. Testing my new swing at the driving range, I was terrified for the very lives of the people in the practice bays on either side of me.

But very quickly, and remarkably, considering how anti-instinctual my swing felt, I was very quickly hitting balls that were straight, high, far and beautiful. (With, yes, the occasional dribbled shank or screaming hook.)


And now, a few weeks later, the new grip is now my natural grip and swinging any other way feels absolutely alien.

Point: If you get to the point where you require an expert’s help, submit to that expert’s advice to the best of your ability. No matter how awful and awkward it feels. Chances are, before long, you’ll be wondering how you did things any other way.


Someone around you worried about trying something new and difficult?

Be the inspiration that makes them try. If they ask you if they’re qualified, here’s your answer:
“Are you capable of converting oxygen into carbon dioxide? Then you’re qualified.”


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