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If It Ain’t Broke, Break It

Scott Palasik

There are so many famous sayings that can inspire someone to change or grow, like:

  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
  • “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix fit.”― Thomas Bertram Lance


Look closely at that last one; it isn’t about change at all. You may be correct, but years ago, I heard a different spin on this saying that made me think more about what we need to do to create change.


I was attending an honor’s college dinner just before winter break at the University of Akron. It was the first and only one I had the chance to attend. It was inspiring to see so many wonderfully talented young college students proud of their projects by completing a giant leap into the world of research. 


The keynote speaker was the interim president at the time, Jim Tressel. He was once Ohio State’s football coach between 2000-2011, where he won a national title for the Buckeyes. 


He opened up his speech with, “You’ve heard the expression, if it ain’t broke, don’t fit it. I like this version better if it ain’t broke, break it!”


I’m not going to lie; it caught me off guard. I had no idea where he was going with this. “If it ain’t broke, break it?”. I glanced around the giant hall to see if anyone else wore a confused face. 


As he explained, I realized the importance of the lesson he passed on to the adults in the room. 


You see, just because something has been working for a while doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Just because something has been done the same way for years does not mean it can’t be changed to make it better. 


Sometimes to make improvements, grow, and change, we need to break what we know has worked to see where we can help that thing work even better. In other words, “If it ain’t broke. Break it!”


Learning is a lot like this expression. We have to look at what we think we know and break it a little bit to learn a little deeper. 


Our minds are like that too. We can get stuck in a rut and think, “I don’t have to grow; I’m good.” Nevertheless, if we can facilitate the slightest self-awareness and step outside of our comfort zone, we can become the person beyond our dreams, even if it’s little by little. That would be time worth spending. Comfort zones sound worth breaking to me. 

What do you want to break to grow and change? It doesn’t have to be significant. It just needs to be enough to take a step toward learning something new or make an adjustment that will foster growth. Have fun breaking it! Keep being you and remember together; we can learn.

Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate. That is the 3C way!

With compassion, kindness, and hopes of learning from you,


~ Scott Palasik

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About the blogger

Scott Palasik, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Scott values compassion and kindness toward himself and others. He values honesty and the power of creative expression. With these core values, Scott chose to pursue a life of helping others with communication disorders as a skilled Speech-Language Pathologist.

As a person who stutters, Scott has seen the ups and downs of struggling with daily communication and what comes with trying to manage the negative perceptions both internally and externally about communication disorder.

With 3C, Scott hopes to spread the idea that we can all support each other with education, collaboration of ideas, and to help us all build social capital for an accepting and caring community of communicators.

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