the sky floor

Don’t Squeeze the Toothpaste Up

August 18, 2022

Frequently, my son comes running out of the bathroom with the tube of children’s toothpaste held high. “It won’t come out!” (The exclamation point doesn’t do a whole lot to convey the 4-year-old exasperation that accompanied the statement.)

The problem becomes apparent when he shows me how he was trying to get the toothpaste out. He is holding the tube so the opening faces straight into the air. Children’s toothpaste tubes are not as pliable as their grown-up counterparts, so they fill with air when you point them up. 

All I had to do was point it down, wait a few seconds for gravity to do its magic, and squeeze the tiniest bit – boom, toothpaste dab deposited onto the brush. 

It got me thinking, how often are we, like a 4-year-old, trying to push the toothpaste up against all the natural forces at work?

Don’t get me wrong. There are times to completely buck the trends and push the toothpaste up the tube as hard as possible. If the Wright Brothers didn’t literally fight gravity, we would be a far different society. But often, we are simply trying to brush our teeth and fighting hard for no advantage. 

Maybe it is launching a new product, and you are targetting the wrong audience. Perhaps you are adding more services to your business instead of perfecting the ones you already offer. Maybe you need a more significant adjustment to your mindset to be helpful instead of helpless.

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No matter what, you may need to tip the tube over 180 degrees and let gravity help you instead of fighting the forces at play. If a simple pivot assists your goal, you would be foolish not to uncover it and try it!


Identify areas where you struggle to gain traction and look for natural forces that can aid you instead of fighting them like a 4-year-old squeezing their toothpaste up.