© 2016 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Sometimes we get into situations without something we think we need, and we are forced to be inventive; something in the situation becomes the Mother of Your Invention. Who hasn’t used a screwdriver to open a classic soda bottle, when a no bottle opener could be found? I’ve seen rags holding on a muffler. And who hasn’t used a screw pounded into a wall when there was no nail available to hang that picture? One Christmas, I used 20 different ingredients for a simple cake, because I hadn’t prepared, and I had about a half cup of each of 8 different flours. When done, it tasted very festive. I called it “Ting-Ting-Ting Cake”, in honor of a friend playing the triangle in the Nutcracker Suite, with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. You do what you need to do to get a thing done.
The expression, “necessity is the mother of invention”, is a variation of something Plato said around 360 BC. Plato (in Greek), referred to “necessity, which is the mother of invention”. Plato was writing, in Plato’s Republic, Book II, about creating a new state out of the needs of the people. Since then, many authors and pundits have used the phrase, “necessity is the mother of invention”. If something is needed strongly enough, then a solution or an innovation will be found. This principle goes for the smallest levels of challenges and the greatest.
Consider this example. A friend remembers repairing a grandfather clock, in which a tiny part had broken. The part was no longer available, and the clock stood silent and useless. My friend puzzled and tinkered. Today, decades later, the clock works well, and there is still a sewing needle, deep in the works of the clock. Necessity mothered invention.
In the TLC television show, What Not to Wear (WNTW), over 200 episodes of makeovers took place between 2003 and 2013. But this was no shopping show, no find-the-right-pants show, no get-a-better-hairstyle show. There was a much larger vision. WNTW created a unique opportunity for women—and an occasional man—to completely re-envision how they presented themselves to the world. Each participant, or “contributor”, was offered the chance to go to New York City with their entire wardrobe and have their collection reviewed by Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. Stacy and Clinton literally took away any pieces they did not believe worked for the contributor’s lifestyle; this was often the entire wardrobe. There was no going back.
The old clothes were gone. The contributor then had $5000 to use to shop for new pieces by WNTW rules. In the studio, as the old clothes were disappearing before the contributor’s eyes, the shock opened questions like: what are the essentials of who I am? What do I take with me into this new time of my life, and how? How do I design my appearance, to represent who I really am? By the time the wardrobe is replaced, the person’s hair restyled, and new makeup designed, observers could see the contributor’s attitude, stance, languaging, and self-esteem powerfully shifting. Contributors often reported better relationships and careers after their makeovers. WNTW created the necessity to re-invent, not only a person’s style, but a person’s self-concepts, by removing the contributor’s habitual lifestyle props: their wardrobe. WNTW powerfully mothered (re)invention.
Occasionally, a serious situation may be the mother of our invention or innovation. In 2003, 28-year-old outdoorsman Aron Ralston was mountain climbing in Utah, when his arm became wedged between boulders. Ralston remained there for over 5 days, until he realized he could leverage enough force to break two of his arm bones and cut off his now-dead forearm with a dull multi-tool. This graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University had majored in mechanical engineering and French, and had minored in piano. He knew his piano-playing days were over. He knew that, to live, he would need to break and cut off the now-useless arm, rappel down a cliff one-armed, and hike 8 miles. He did these things. Today, he still climbs mountains, wearing a prosthesis. And he has a wife, a son, and a speaking career. When Ralston realized his arm was lifeless, he re-invented himself and his life. Want more of his story? His book is called, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Necessity was the mother of his (re)invention.
So in your life, right now, what uncomfortable necessity is calling you to invent something? Do you need a re-invent a relationship that isn’t working, innovate a change in your stale business life, or invent a new schedule with more family time? Is the ugly doorway of your home in need of a change of direction and redesign of the entire porch? Is your health calling you to re-invent your wellness, with a fresh exercise/diet/supplements regime? What necessity will be the mother of your next invention? Make notes right now, and enjoy your inventing!
And that’s Upbeat Living!
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, plus Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. All the books are available through her office. Just call, or email email@example.com.
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