Monday, February 10, 2014

Get Out of The Rut

You have probably heard the saying – If you always think the way you’ve always thought, you will always do what you have always done, and you will always get what you always gotten – and quite frankly sometimes that’s not good enough for us.

To illustrate the point, let me share some information with you about why train tracks in the United States areas wide as they are. See if you think it has applicability.

The United States standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them inEngland, and English expatriates built the American railroads.

Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did they use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jugs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons use the odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that’s the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So who built these old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long-distance roads in Europe for the benefit of their legions, and the roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts? Roman war chariots first made the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons. Since the chariots were made by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.


Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for a Roman army chariot. The Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two warhorses.

If we don’t take proactive steps to get out of the rut, to do things differently, even if we are currently successful, our future might be limited to past practices, which no longer have any applicability to meeting today’s needs and meeting today’s goals.

Is it good enough for you to simply get what you've always got? 



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