Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Lessons from Rubber-band Bracelets

How's the new year been so far?  Hopefully, you've been successful in sticking with your New Year's resolutions.  Me? I'm looking around my house for what might be the next million dollar idea.  I'm inspired by my new bracelets, courtesy of my youngest daughter. 
Rubber-band jewelry - why didn't I think of this?!
She spent hours and hours of her Christmas break making these rubber band bracelets.  She made them by hand, literally - wrapping them around her two little fingers and weaving them together with her other little fingers. She got one of the looms from her aunt for Christmas, but she's still figuring that out.   It's amazing to me how this loom and the accompanying little teeny rubber bands have taken off and grown into an "undisclosed amount" (i.e. a bazillion dollars) of sales.  And it all started in a guy's basement, as he messed around with rubbery patterns, bugging his wife to let him sink their whole life savings into this great idea he had (you can read more in this Entrepreneur article.)

The success of the Rainbow Loom highlights a few lessons for all of us as we consider sticking with our resolutions, or not.  Here's five.

Look close - the answer is probably right in front of you.  When my daughter ran out of the rubber bands that were especially colored and packaged for this craft, you know what she used?  The little teeny bands I use for the ends of her hair.  I was sitting on a gold mine and didn't even know it!  Many of us are looking for something - an adventure of some sort because that's so exciting. But the Good Witch told us long ago - we've had it all along.  You can go back to school or be a better mother, the will and determination to do better is inside of you. Look for it.

Prove your idea to the people who love you, then ask for their support.  We want, no, we need, our loved ones' support of our dreams and our hopes. But we've got to let them know we're serious.  Don't go to your spouse or friends with a half-baked idea, then get mad when they won't turn over all their pennies to you.  You want your family to believe you are working to lose weight?  Put down the cookies and get to the gym, then they'll stop offering you pie.

Be dedicated for the long-term. As they say, an overnight success takes a long time.  We hear the encapsulated version of people's success.  "This dude, he figured out how to make bracelets out of rubberbands and just like that, he's selling millions at Michael's." That "overnight" took 3 years.  In the meantime, he was packaging and selling his product himself, with the help of his wife and kids and family, working out of his basement.   I read somewhere that 80% of people give up their new year's resolutions by January 8.  What, that's a week in?  How can you quit on a 365 day promise 8 days in?  Be thoughtful and realistic, and stick with your plan.

You're going to stumble. Get up and keep moving.   Remember when you learned to ride a bike or roller skate?  I bet you fell a few times. And you handled it one of two ways. 1 - You checked the rip in the knee of your jeans, wiped the little pebbles off your palms, and rolled away again. And today you can jump on a bike and go for a breezy ride whenever you'd like. Or 2 - You cried because you scraped your knee, bandaged up your palms, and went inside to watch TV.  And you get left behind when your friends suggest a bike ride and you don't know how to teach your kids to ride their bike, either.  How will you handle you're next fall?

Realize there will be an end and plan for the next step.  Rubber-band bracelets? They're a fad. A lucrative one, but still a fad.  Eventually, kids will get pains of carpal tunnel, moms will tire of vacuuming up rubber bands, and we'll all move on to some other amazing, how-did-that-become-so-popular thing.  What will happen to the inventor then? I would imagine that he's saving and making a plan for that time. What will you do when you've lost the weight, ran the marathon, read 35 books, climbed Mt. Everest? What will be your next step? What will you do to sustain yourself after you've reached your goal?

We use different terms - resolutions, goals, vision boards, improvements, dreams - to identify the things we want to do to be a better us.  But one things similar - it all requires hard work to make them reality.  What are you working towards?  Feel free to answer in the comments.  I'm going figure out what million dollar idea I can come up with using the bread ties and chopsticks in the kitchen.

(I'm collecting ideas for weaving these things for my kids.  See them on my "bored kids" Pinterest board and let me know of any other cool ones to keep them busy.)

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Anonymous said...

love this post!! going to leave it my box to visit on those stumble days........thanks for these words!

Mommyx4 said...

thank you for reading - I'm glad you enjoyed it!