By Patricia Mae L. Ybañez
Has it ever occurred to you when a bright idea popped up in your mind, be it during your idle time or your class’s brain storming session? Remember that feeling of bliss and contentment that finally, finally you thought of something that can solve humanity’s recurring problems even in the simplest ways?
You then began to envision yourself bringing your idea to life, people admiring your genius, and bringing forth global change. All things bright and beautiful, right? Suddenly, this feeling of uncertainty kicks in. You began to doubt, question yourself, and you even ask yourself how you came up with such outrageous and bizarre idea. After throwing a potential solution away, you program your mind into returning to your “usual” routine and focus on doing things that actually “work.”
I once thought of an all-around machine. Being a complete lazy-ass when it came to household chores, I chose to lie on my bed and meditate…
One day, I was so bored that I came this close to actually cleaning around the house and my room. Of course, I didn’t. I was sitting on my usual spot at the living room, the rocking chair, when I felt my butt ache from sitting too long doing absolutely nothing. So I decided to use my potential energy and made a beeline to the kitchen to grab some food and brought it upstairs to my room. When everything is set (food + laptop combo), I lied on my bed and began watching comedy YouTube videos. When my eyes started to hurt, I decided to turn my laptop off and relax instead. Then it hit me; if only there’s a way all chores in the house could be done without having to get dirty and tired….. my life would be almost perfect.
So, I thought of a vacuum cleaner that can also wash dirty clothes, swipe the floor, and clean the furniture and cook delicious meals as well. Oh, if I only have enough knowledge in Science and Engineering, I would actually develop this “Wonder Machine” of mine. It is a product of my imagination due to laziness, but hey, I guess I’m not the only one who wishes for something like this? Right?
What is it with “bizarre” or “weird” things that make us cringe? Is it because of unknowing? Is it because of the feeling of being far from familiarity that keeps us from trying out new things and preferring to be stagnant and just blend in?
However, we must remember that the only constant thing in this world is change. No matter what you do, you will be forced to make drastic changes in your life. Make that change worth it. Take a chance, gamble twice or thrice, and stand out from the crowd. Do something that is never done before. Cliché, yes, but true.
Look around you and observe. That simple light bulb? Its inventor took multiple failures before successfully creating a working model. The plane you just rode, people once thought that things heavier than birds cannot fly. People mocked their inventors and called them “silly”, “crackpots”, and “insane”, but if weren’t for their “insanity” and out of the box thinking, we wouldn’t be able to experience the comforts we have now that we take for granted.
Aside from the usual inventions that we are so used to acknowledge, there are quite a few bizarre inventions that made it big. These things might be silly, but brilliant as well.
Heard of iRobot’s robotic vacuum cleaner, Roomba? It’s like your typical vacuum cleaner, but so much better. It’s a robotic disc-shaped vacuum with built-in sensors that enables it to avoid bumping into things and falling down the stairs, and “provides superior performance for picking up pet hair, dirt, dust, allergens and more.” It automatically adjusts to different floor surfaces and laminate floor on its own. It is a stroke of pure brilliance, but when it was first released, people laugh at it and its “absurdity.” However, it became a huge success and its manufacturers went on to release other models.
The Silly Putty that became popular toy, was created by accident by General Electric Engineer James Wright to aid the US troops’ rubber shortage during the WWII. Made from silicone oil and boric acid, it bounces and enables to transfer newsprint onto its surface. Fellow engineers could not find any industrial use of Wright’s invention, but a toy shop owner saw its potential in the entertainment industry. According to How Stuff Works, “a social platform source for unbiased, and easy-to-understand answers and explanations of how the world actually works”, the Silly Putty falls under the category of “serendipitous brilliance” or “happy accident.”
Then there’s the Snuggie. What more can you do with a blanket, that is just basically a piece of cloth that keeps you warm and cozy? Add sleeves to it! That’s what the creators of Snuggie did. Reading a book/magazine or eating but you don’t want to sacrifice the warmth of being enveloped by your trusty blanket, worry no more! Snuggie is here to provide you the warmth and comfort of snuggling up in your sheets while giving you the freedom of moving around. It might sound ridiculous and you might dismiss it as a novelty item, but you cannot deny its success. It even managed to be featured by famous television shows like Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart.
And who can forget the Selfie Stick? It originated in Japan, and was listed in a 1995 Japanese catalogue of “useless inventions.” Who would have thought it would turn out to be such a hit today?
As for the show business industry, in order to stand out, you need to make a mark. What is common for celebrities like Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, Megan Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Cruise? Aside from being physically endowed by Mother Nature (which is quite common in Hollywood), they have something in their personality and their performance that made them unique and memorable for the audience and stand out among the sea of pretty faces. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, on the other hand, are known for their creative and sometimes “outrageous” music videos and costumes.
Now, think about that “insanely bizarre” idea of yours once again. Think of the benefits that people can get from it, think of how you can make something worthwhile. Think of that one thing that you always wanted to do but never had the courage because you are afraid of how people will react. Do. It. Now.
It may not seem easy, it may not seem attainable yet, but give it a shot. Be innovative. Remember, fortune favors the bold, and the most successful people in the world are the ones who gambled the most.
Who knows, I might be able to create the all-around vacuum cleaner that I envisioned someday.
Tricia Ybanez is a new Ecosoc member from the Sports Committee. She’s also set to be the next Emira Guingon.