building mouse traps

I love building better mouse traps. I find a challenge (sometimes it finds me), I pick it up and play with it. I study it, immerse myself, until I have a real comprehension of why it is the way it is and then... well then, I find a way (any way) to make it better. To improve it. I'll scale walls of bureaucracy, test and adjust, convince people I'm worthy of their time and work until my fingers bleed (paper cuts can be brutal). It amazes me that I will not hesitate to push something forward if I think it will solve the problem.

What I've learned in my ferocity to build better mouse traps is this - the solution isn't always celebrated.

Motion, movement, progress, whatever you call it, it's all necessary to build cool sh*t. Though, to be honest, I don't believe every movement is cause for recognition... nor should it be. We progress because we move forward, even if it is just one step at a time. Who gives a rat's ass about a celebration at the finish line?

Yes, recognition matters. I'll be the first to say, I love being told I did a great job. And yes, it's sometimes the only thing that motivates me. But usually when that's the case I don't actually accomplish much. I find very little joy in doing something just for the sake of recognition. For me, recognition is much sweeter when it's not expected.

If we approach building a better mouse trap with the intention to be recognized I think we lose out. We lose out on acquiring the deep understanding of the challenge and of the potential solutions. We lose out on the pure motivation of understanding what makes something really incredible in and of itself. We often end up giving away our power to scale walls for some flashy streamers and a pat on the back.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather scale the wall - even if it makes my fingers bleed. I can always put up my own streamers if I need to.

StorytellingAlicia Johnson