Great ideas are born every day; many by very ordinary people. How many times has opportunity come pounding on your front door only to be ignored because you were playing video games, watching Family Guy, or sleeping in?
Two years ago I bought a retractable leash for my pooch. When I used it, I felt as though I didn’t have as firm of a grasp on my dog as I did with an old-fashioned nylon leash. So, I rigged up a secondary handle with a plastic bungee keychain that held the hard casing more firmly to my wrist so if I accidentally let go of the handle my dog wouldn’t escape. Aren’t I smart?
Well, I’ve been using my little invention for years now and it's been very handy. Enter, Capability: Mom and her blog entry about a new attachment for retractable leashes. She sponsored a contest to give away the Freehand Safety Strap and yours truly was the lucky winner.
Well, guess what? The attachment works very similarly to the one I concocted years ago. Granted, the end result isn’t as primitive as mine and is adjustable (you can also undo the buckle to attach your dog to another object such as a park bench). However, the concept is the same as my crude prototype; connecting the hard casing to wrist of the dog walker. Just like the contraption I jerry rigged years ago, the accessory gives a second layer of protection while using a retractable leash.
The inventor obviously saw the same flaw with the retractable leash that I did. The difference? He designed the accessory, manufactured it, and now has it on the market! And I was watching an episode of The Simpsons. D’oh!
So, this lesson from The School of Hard Knocks comes at my expense. However, there is still hope for me—and you! Rest assured, the next time I find some way to improve a product, I’m not just going to keep the idea to myself. Lesson learned.
So, my friends, learn from my mistake. Open your eyes! Listen! Innovate! But, most importantly, execute! Act! Do! Create! Take that extra step in life. Don’t let your million dollar idea become someone else’s fortune. Take action! That’s what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary, is it not?