For best results, flatten as you go up…

Probably the most useless advise for people who make oral health a priority. And I’m convinced it’s useless because my 3-year-old daughter needn’t be told to squeeze the tube from the bottom and flatten it to extract the last ounce of paste. Her instincts knew better.

Of course, toothpaste companies won’t stop sharing this age-old advice just because 3-year-olds have become smarter. And I have no qualms against it either. It was just an observation since I can’t figure out who their target audience would be. Perhaps, culturally, we’ve become accustomed to ignoring free advice (particularly the ones that don’t add much value) instead of challenging their veracity.

Or maybe, it doesn’t matter, because you’re not looking for life-changing advice on a toothpaste tube anyway. It’s unsolicited and we don’t care about it either. But what happens when you seek advice from someone and in return get something worthless? If you’re like me, you question your senses and vow not to repeat the same mistake.

The alternative is to ask better questions and deepen your understanding. And by that, I mean putting your filters away and think from the other person’s perspective. Doing this will allow you to create a space between your own beliefs and this random/weird/nonsensical idea that on top of your awareness.

It’s during those instances you realise that while flattening as you go up doesn’t mean anything to us, it meant a lot to Colgate-Palmolive executive back in the 50s. They wanted to increase their sales by 40% so they increased the tube’s 4mm hole to 5mm, which skyrocketed the toothpaste consumption and hence increasing the sales. So, the more you squeeze from the bottom and flatten as you go up the faster you will run out of toothpaste and order the next tube!

So, regardless of our level of intelligence, the other person almost always has a point. You just need to be sharp enough to go deep.

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