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Inspiring Lessons You Can Learn From a Wad of Silly Putty

October 7, 2011

We have all rolled a squishy lump of Silly Putty in our hands as a child and remember the strange feeling of this one-of-a-kind substance. It is bouncy, yet flows like a liquid, and will even break from a sharp blow. It is one of those toys that you spent hours playing with as a child, but did you know that the same brightly coloured wad of Silly Putty can also teach you many lessons for success as an adult?

Here are a few inspiring lessons you can learn from this squishy substance:

Sometimes Accidents Can Be Genius

During World War II the United States War Department needed rubber to produce boots and tires, but imports from rubber-producing countries in the Far East were cut off. The War Department was experimenting with several different methods to create a cheap and flexible synthetic substitute. Instead, they accidently created silly putty. The bouncy substance seemed to have no practical use, until a local entrepreneur named Paul Hodgson bought the recipe for it.

Rather than seeing a mistake or an accident, Hodgson saw potential. He marketed the product as a children’s toy instead and began selling it through a toy-store catalogue. His innovative look at the problem paid off, and Silly Putty became a favourite toy all over the world.

Look at your mistakes in a new way, how can they become solutions?

It Helps to Be Flexible                                   

Silly Putty’s malleability allows a child’s imagination to create it into anything at all. However, Silly Putty is not just used as a toy, as it has been discovered to be useful for many other different purposes over the years. Silly Putty has been used as everything from a lint-picker-upper, drumhead resonance dampener, stress reduction ball, physiotherapy tool for hand injuries, and a masking medium for model building hobbyists. The gooey stuff has even been used by Apollo astronauts to secure tools in zero gravity!

Be versatile. If you can adapt for many different challenges and situations you will be more successful.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

The hint is in the name “Silly Putty”. When this unusual synthetic rubber substitute was branded as goofy and wacky, more people took a liking to it. People are drawn to things that tickle their funny bone, and showing your sense of humour is a great way to win people over both in business and in life.

Don’t be afraid to be a bit silly. People will love you for it!

These are just a few secrets that Silly Putty can teach you about success. I’ll bet you never realized how many life lessons were hiding inside that colourful plastic egg?

From → Life Lessons

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