A while back I ran into some electrical problems in our office at Personality Insights. One of the circuit breakers blew, which caused power to go out in several different rooms. When the electrician came to work on the problem, I pointed out to him that several of our overhead light fixtures were also not working. He got his ladder and began to try to diagnose the problem. Boy, was I in for a shock!
The electrician noticed that the ballasts had not been properly installed in the light fixtures. In fact, he let me feel one of them and it was almost hot enough to catch on fire! I decided it would be better to spend a little bit of money to fix the electrical issues in the office than it would be to find our building burned to the ground one day!
You know, it is true in life, that when we get painted into a corner, or when we are in a desperate situation, it is at that point that we have to do something about it. Granted, this particular incident was not a crisis situation, but it could have turned into one very easily. I have found that one of life’s great teachers is a difficult situation. It often takes the pressure of difficult situations to occur before we open our eyes to become creative and look for good solutions.
Everyone knows about the small self-stick note papers called Post-It Notes. I would be willing to bet that almost everyone reading this Tip could reach out and touch a Post-It Note within a few feet from where they are at this very moment. Most of us use them and love them. But, did you know that Post-It Notes were never planned to be a product? No one came up with the idea and developed it. It took someone getting desperate before they got creative.
In the 1970’s, a man by the name of Spencer Silver was working for the 3M Research Laboratories, trying to develop a strong adhesive. Mr. Silver actually developed a new adhesive but, rather than being stronger, it turned out to be weaker than the one the 3M Company already manufactured. It stuck to objects but could easily be lifted off. Instead of being super strong, it was super weak! No one knew what to do with the material, but Mr. Silver did not discard it. He told a few of his friends about it but no one had gotten desperate enough to discover a creative use for it.
Then one Sunday, four years later, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry, was singing in his church’s choir. He had used slips of paper to mark his place in his hymnal but they kept falling out of the book. He was so desperate that suddenly he became creative. He remembered Silver’s adhesive. Fry used some of the coating on a few of his markers with great success. With the weak adhesive, the markers stayed in place, yet lifted off the pages without doing any damage when he wanted to remove them. It was only a matter of time before 3M began distributing Post-It Notes. However, it was not until 1980, ten years after Silver developed the super weak adhesive that Post-It Notes were found on the shelves in most office supply stores. Today, they are one of the most popular office products available in the world.
I love stories like that. They teach me that problems and challenges that come our way are truly just road markers to the next great success story.
Some of you are only inches away from finding your pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. I don’t know of anyone who is getting this Tip who does not deserve to be successful. It could be anyone. Why not you?
All you have to do is get desperate enough and then the creative juices will begin to flow. While I would not wish hardship on anyone, I do hope that you get desperate enough to find your creative genius and let it take you to places you have never imagined!
Tip: Sometimes you have to get desperate before you can get creative!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm