Washing Your Own Dishes

Washing Your Own Dishes

Washing dishes? Probably doesn’t sound like anything that anyone would ever willing to set out to do as a goal, but maybe you should consider this for a moment.

Thousands of years ago, like 2005, I was working with USAG (USA Gymnastics, junior division) doing mental performance coaching. I noticed that these athletes, whose average age was 12, had all of the skills, abilities, and responsibilities of a professional athlete but at home, their skills were near zero. Their parents had moved all of the activities of daily life out of the way so they could focus totally on gymnastics. Sounds good, right? It worked pretty well unless they were having some type of performance problem. Then the fun would begin.

Since the kids didn’t have any other things that they did besides go to school and go to gymnastics they had no outside references for how to problem solve. I would ask the parents if they mowed the yard, did dishes, cooked or any other normal activities that non-soon-to-be Olympic athletes did? The answer was frequently no.

My advice to them was to immediately reintegrate the athlete back into the family schedule. It taught the athlete time management, problem-solving and the other siblings’ animosity generally would also decline as an added benefit.

washing dishes

Simple Things

So what does washing dishes have to do with this article? Simple. We live in a world where almost everything has been automated for us. Soon we will have self-driving cars or bullet trains to take us anywhere we want to go. We also have about 2 generations of humans that can’t read a map, use a compass or look at street signs because they were raised on Google maps or Waze to get around.

We have automatic dishwashers, automatic washers, and dryers, automatic just about everything and we are losing the ability to do things for ourselves.

Is this a good thing? I don’t really know the answer to that. I do know that having skills when those “modern conveniences” aren’t around could be useful. My sister recently took a trip from Texas to Canada and she told me there are plenty of places with no cell service or internet connectivity. She can read a map too, so it wasn’t an issue.

washing dishes

Repetitive Tasks Are Hypnotic

I’ve said this before, “repetition is hypnotic, repetition is hypnotic, repetition is hypnotic”. Whenever you have repetitive tasks the mind automates the activity and the unconscious mind takes over so you have the conscious mind available to do other things. Plan, dream, work things out that have been bothering you, etc. It also provides a break from that blast of electronic media and gives you time to chill. Have you been trying to find time to practice your mindfulness meditation? Try folding socks. Go pull weeds or rake leaves. These simple activities are deceptively wonderful for resetting from this busy world.


washing dishes

Watch These Two Videos

The first is from one of my favorite movies, The Razor’s Edge, with Bill Murray. A not too popular attempt by Bill Murray to do drama rather than humor. The short version is the hero of the story meets a man washing dishes and assumes he works for whoever owns the boat he is staying on. It is that simple interaction that sends him in the direction that he wanted to go.

This next video is also a favorite. It was The University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven.

The 10 points of video are worth copying and pasting onto your computer screen so you can see them every day. They are words to pattern your whole life around.

1. Make your bed
2. Find people to paddle with you
3. Measure the size of the heart, not flippers
4. Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
5. Don’t be afraid of the circuses
6. Sometimes you have to slide down obstacles head first
7. Don’t back down from the sharks
8. You must be your very best in the darkest moments
9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. Hope for everyone
10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell

And Wash Your Own Dishes

Making your bed, washing your own dishes, prepping your own breakfast lunch before work is simple. The long-term effect is that you will become more conscious of your daily routine and how these actions affect both you and the people around you.


I wrote this article in my head while I was washing my morning breakfast containers, lol.

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