Most people are not fully challenged or fully engaged in their job. There is usually plenty of time to shoot the breeze in the break room and still get most of one’s responsibilities done. The nature of work in corporations also virtually guarantees that one’s creativity is not challenged on a daily basis. People tend to fall into a rut, doing more of the same tomorrow that they did today and yesterday. Busy without challenge, without using creativity, turns into weeks, then months, then years of unfulfilling toil.
I want to make a simple suggestion: invent one new product. Set a deadline. Find a problem that needs a better mousetrap, a creative solution. One guy I knew created a rubber molding that makes a snug seal when his garage door is closed, keeping out rain and wind blown debris. Before long, he was hawking the solution on late night TV commercials. Not too long after that, his retirement-in-comfort outlook improved dramatically.
There are plenty of problems that need creative solutions. What the world seems short on is people that decide to do something about it — people of creativity and most importantly, action and optimism. There is always room for one more great invention!
Your first attempt might not rock late night TV ads, but inventing a product and seeing it to a finish line is none-the-less extremely satisfying. You feel like you got a chance to swing the bat and hit a home run in the big game of capitalism. Your second product might not get rave reviews. Or the third. But it you try this idea — invent one new product — or better yet — invent one new product every year — your life will be changed for the better. You will feel alive and vibrant, even if none ever make you millions.
What do you have to lose but the feeling that you are toiling in a 2011 knowledge-worker coal mine?
Be optimistic. Take decisive action. Enjoy life.
I.M. Optimism Man