HOW I Hold The Sponge...

“If I cannot do great things, 
I can do small things in a great way.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

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This is a picture of our second-most-used kitchen appliance- our [amazing] Vitamix Blender.

When I’m not on the road, it serves me most every morning by churning up my breakfast- a delicious dark chocolate blueberry smoothie.

It’s awesome!
If you’d like my recipe let us know (

Once I add the ingredients, the auto cycle takes about 80 seconds to create super-nutritional deliciousness.

Then…I get to wash the thing.

And THIS is the basis for today’s TAKE-2…

Unlike other blenders, where the blades can be removed from the pitcher for cleaning- not so with a Vitamix.

To clean the [razor-sharp] blades, you add some warm water & a squirt of dish soap, then run the thing at high speed for a few seconds.

As you can imagine, this creates a soapy foamy froth…
Then…a sponge is used to clean the inside of the pitcher before rinsing.
This is where safety, human performance, and the potential for mistakes come into play.

As I said, I do this virtually every morning.

And for me, when I do ‘simple’ things over and over and over, I tend to develop a subconscious muscle memory.

In other words- it’s pretty gosh darn easy for my brain to be “somewhere else”.

I’m willing to bet this is true for you as well.

In Human Performance jargon, this is classic Skill-Based Performance.
The thing is, while your brain tends to focus less and less, any potential hazards remain the same.

I discovered this a while back as I ‘carelessly’ thrust my hand beneath the suds, scraping the skin from the knuckle of my middle finger.

What was the lesson?

It ain’t rocket science-

I instantly learned the need to be much more mindful while cleaning my Vitamix!

Now- while I can still allow my brain to wander a bit while completing the other tasks involved with crafting my morning smoothie such as setting out my supplements, opening the protein powder, scooping out the avocado, and so forth, cleaning the pitcher has my FULL attention.

Developing this level of focus was Step 1 in becoming a “safe” Vitamix pitcher cleaner!

And since we talk about this stuff in our PPI Learning & Development Sessions (reducing errors…not cleaning Vitamixes), each time I now clean the pitcher, I ask myself- “How can I do this [even] more safely?”

And recently I discovered this- IN ADDITION TO being mindful each time I reach into the soapy water, I can also hold the sponge in a way that my fingers have ZERO chance of coming into contact with the blades.

Things that make you go hmmm (simplicity on the far side of complexity).
What’s the point?

Well- if you own a Vitamix, remember this next time you need to clean the thing.

Far more important though, while performing routine mundane tasks (at work and at home)- engage your brain to consciously and consistently consider how you might combine appropriate mindfulness, i.e., PAYING ATTENTION, with simple methods or tools, like…how you “hold the sponge”.

Doing this over time will virtually eliminate your potential for making the types of mistakes that can get you or someone else hurt, or cause other types of bad things to happen.

Look, I’m human, and…I’m pretty sure you are as well.

Most of what we do each day is the same…it’s routine.

And doing these types of things is when our minds naturally tend to wander.

Some underlying science?

Each time you and I do something successfully, our confidence grows.

While this is a good thing to a certain point (aka, as skill development), it turns against us when we cross the line into overconfidence- where reduced levels of engagement and awareness set us up for bad things to happen because we’re not paying enough attention.
The initial stages of a disaster often begin with overconfidence.
This is where methods and tools help protect us from ourselves.

For example, my hands greatly appreciate my recent ‘discovery’ of HOW to safely clean my Vitamix pitcher every time I use it.

Now- engage YOUR brain.

Your routine mundane tasks offer [by far] the greatest potential for bad things to happen.

What can you do TODAY to virtually eliminate your potential for making mistakes in whatever it is you’re doing?

If you’ve discovered some great ‘tricks’ on the job or at home, or if you have a great smoothie recipe of your own…please share with the rest of us.

Thanks for every choice you make and every step you take to help our world become BETTER and SAFER!

Talk soon,
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