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Lessons from the Square Watermelon

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Interesting article… Please read on.

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than shops in the USA and therefore don’t have ample storage space. Watermelons wasted a lot of storage space as they are usually big and round. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that could be done about it. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach.

It wasn’t long before they invented the square watermelon. The farmers did not assume it was impossible – they simply asked how it could be done.

They found out that if they were to put the watermelon in a square box when it is growing, the watermelon will take on the shape of the box – and grow into a square fruit. This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took up less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the US. Growers could also charge a premium price for these square watermelons.


What has this got to do with our Life or Job? There are a few learning points which I felt you should take note of:

Don’t Assume Breaking yourself away from assumption can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly on the lookout for new and improved ways of doing things. Most people will automatically assume that square watermelons were impossible even before thinking about the question. Doing things a certain way your entire life is like growing a round watermelon. However, if you take time to think through, there might be another way.

Question Habits The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way you work. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them.

Be Creative When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking out of the box. Most people will think of how they could alter the shape of the watermelons genetically. However, by thinking out of the box, the solution can be quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in a different view point will help you find solutions to various problems where others are not able to see.

Alternative Solutions Get into the habit of asking yourself, “Is there a better way I could be doing this?” and you will find that often there is. The square watermelon question is merely seeking a better and more convenient way of doing something. The stores faced a problem and were asked if a solution was possible. It’s impossible to find a better solution if you didn’t ask a question in the first place.

Nothing is Impossible If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it will obviously be impossible. Don’t say no, without even trying.


Apply these learning points to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc.) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

I am sure we can bring about change if we really want to.


I’m going to leave you with two amazing quotes…

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in the sails. Dream. Explore. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~ Buonarroti Michelangelo



One Response

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  1. This is indeed very interesting! Now that we are able to have square water melons, we can assume that everything is possible.

    Now I still have an issue with that because humans are not things or water melons as such. When you love someone, that love is unique and nobody can cultivate or invent the LOVE that is exactly like that. So if you lost someone you love, you can never get that LOVE back! In this respect, you can go on or move on but your LOVE for that person never cease! Therefore this water melon story has its de-merits!

    Jenny She

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

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