Creative Challenge no. 1- use your 'wrong' hand

I recently found some fabulous books. Little gems that challenge you to do things a bit differently, very randomly and to have fun with simply getting messy. To find them for yourself, check out the collection of books by Keri Smith.

I don't know how I missed her books before now, (feeling very slightly miffed about the fact) but Keri Smith most definitely has found a new fan in me!

To share the creative chaos and mess that Keri is encouraging I've decided to share one of her challenges from her "Mess" book  with you. Drum roll please......

"For an entire day do all of your necessary tasks using your 'wrong' hand."

So if you're a righty, use your left, lefties use the right. Go on, challenge yourself!

But that's not all. A challenge completed is all the more fun when your progress is shared. So write down what you got up to (be sure to use your wrong hand!) and take a photo, or scan it, tie it to the leg of a carrier pigeon, or send it via weather balloon - however you choose to share it, make sure I find out about it here.

Just add it in a comment to this blog, or as a link to the carrier pigeon, and I'll make sure that it gets shared with the world.

As I see it, a challenge shared is a hundredfold more fun!

If you feel like you want to keep reading what I have to say, that's great! I'll share my own story of a challenge like this one. I've done this before and I can attest to how good it can make you feel when you succeed - in whatever way that success presents itself ;-)

I used to work in Pathology. I spent quite a number of years poking needles into people and taking their blood. While I enjoyed my work, I found it became a tad tedious after I'd mastered the needle skills.  And believe me, there is most definitely a skill to taking blood, and doing it well.

But as I said, it became tedious - truth be told I become bored if I'm not challenged, so I created a challenge for myself. As I'm a lefty, I decided that I'd teach myself to take blood using my right hand - and only my right hand. There would be no swapping hands if it became difficult, I simply had to push on and focus.  I had to relearn the skill by using it in a different way.

I know, this sounds horrific for my patients doesn't it! You're probably all thankful that I didn't take your blood while I was teaching myself this new trick. But it wasn't bad, I promise. I had the confidence of someone who was proficient in the requirements of the job, (so I didn't have newbie nerves), but I had the opportunity to explore what was essentially a new skill.

Let me tell you, I loved it! My first days were not so easy, I'll admit. But, it wouldn't have been a challenge if they were. Luckily I didn't have to face any babies or children in the first week.  If I had, I might well have needed to break my self imposed rules. (patients had to come first, not my personal challenge) But I kept going, and as each patient left the room with no disasters, no tears and smiling faces I became more and more sure that I was doing something good.

Soon enough I was as proficient with my right hand as I was with my left. YAY! Even better, was the discovery that there was also an unexpected benefit to my newly learned skills. Some people have very difficult veins to find. Extremely difficult! I'm proud to say that I'm not one of those people who know there's a vein in there somewhere so would poke around with the needle in the hope that I'd find it. Sadly, there are people who do this. Not me. It's true there are veins in there, and if I couldn't find them, I wasn't going vein mining!

With my new skills I was very excited to discover that if I couldn't feel the vein with my right hand, more often than not I'd easily be able to feel it with my left. (My usual routine was to feel for the veins with my right, and hold the needle in my left). I guess I have differing sensitivities from one hand to the next. If I could feel the vein with my left hand, I now had the skills to hold the needle in my right.

So, not only had I relieved my sense of tedium, had the pleasure of the warm, fuzzy sense of pride and excitement at having completed a challenge, but I also taught myself a skill that ultimately made me more proficient at my job.

It's 8 years since I set myself that challenge, and I still feel that swell of pride in my chest when I think of it.

OK, challenge set. Give your dominant hand a rest for 24 hours and see what you can achieve with your wrong hand. I'll be giving it a go too!

Remember I'd love to see how you managed!

Here's my first attempt - I traced the outline of my left hand using my right. That's why my fingertips look all funky :-/

Sure, that's not an important task, but it's a start. I'm thinking that writing might be an interesting one.

 Did you know?

There are four different types of handedness that include: left-handedness, right-handedness, mixed-handedness, and ambidexterity. Globally, roughly 12% of men and 10% of women are left-handed.