When I was a kid I learned about famous inventors in school. I was so intrigued that whenever I could get to the library, I’d check out the books that detailed their accomplishments. Many of them grew up poor, like me. Their discoveries lifted them out of poverty, giving them a financial cushion for a comfortable life.
I wanted to join their ranks.
The problem was that everything I thought of already existed.
For example, I hated my clamp-on skates that I tightened with a key. They worked, but not well. They also frequently fell off, at inopportune times. Unbeknownst to me, shoe skates already existed. The first time I went to an indoor skating rink, my dreams were shattered.
Like many kids back then, and even those today, my shoe strings refused to stay tied. Walking around with dangling laces led to severe punishment as well as a public dressing-down. I thought that if I could invent a string that stayed put, my name would find a place amongst the world’s greatest inventors.
I put some time trying to think of different designs, but I was too young to come up with anything. Add to my inexperience was a lack of drawing skills that made it impossible for me to sketch anything workable.
Imagine my surprise when, as an adult, spiral laces appeared on the market. They required no tying skills, only a twist or two and they’d stay put all day long.
Just think, if I had had the skills and acumen back then, I would have achieved my goal. Not only would my name be added to the list of inventors, but I’d probably be wealthy today.