Monday, July 14, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I often marvel at the creativity that emerges in the face of great need. We humans are often at our best when we are facing our toughest challenges.

Years ago, when I traveled to India, I had an interesting and unusual challenge arise. This was way before 9/11/01, so I was using combination locks on my suitcase as I traveled through India.

After one of my flights inside India, I went to open my suitcase in my hotel room. I was saddened and dismayed to find that the security personnel at one of the airport, obviously irritated by my locked luggage, had wrapped security stickers around my combination lock! The lock could not be opened. They had gummed up the rollers so that they wouldn't move. The adhesive on the stickers had melted into the actual rollers and they were stuck.

I went through some emotions of frustration and anger at the security people, and then realized that I needed to find a way to get into my luggage. I thought about how I could clean the adhesive from the lock. I remembered that I carried individually wrapped 'handiwipes' whenever I traveled. These handiwipes are alcohol based. I wondered if the alcohol in the wipes might dissolve the adhesive.

I opened several handiwipes and wrapped them around the lock. I put a baggie over the whole blob to keep it from drying out. Then I went to eat dinner, hoping that the alcohol wipes would 'melt' the glue in the adhesive.

When I came back from dinner - lo and behold... my scheme had worked and the lock rollers moved easily and I was able to get into my luggage.

It was a victory of ingenuity and creativity over a 'sticky' problem.

We all have the ability to resolve the challenges in our lives. We need to invite and nurture our 'out of the box' thinking in order to have the best shot at solving those problems that initially perplex us.

Happy problem solving!

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