Latrine Savvy, Mega Resourcefulness and other Travel Insights
Imagine you are seated in a tiny outdoor diner where several people have walked for an hour and a bit just to have lunch with you. A lovely plate of barbecue pork and something that looks like mashed potatoes but is actually mashed-up overcooked corn, is set before you. Everyone is served and you look around for silverware and napkins. Then you notice that everyone else is eating this same dish with their fingers: no silverware or napkins.
I secretly retrieved a saved Delta Airlines napkin from my purse (frugalista habit) and went on to enjoy a delightful lunch. Afterward, the server brought over wet washcloths for us to clean off our hands. Turns out the lovely diner has no indoor plumbing.
Takeaway: the next time someone complains about washing the dishes, simply offer to have the next meal sans silverware. That might just lead to an engaging life lesson. Or a really messy meal. Or both.
This lunch took place in Lesotho, where I was visiting my son before his return from a stint with the Peace Corps. Lesotho, ruled by a monarchy, is located inside South Africa. It is beautiful as it is largely plumbing free.
Those who know me well will not be surprised to learn that upon arriving to my son’s abode, I quickly calculated in my head to see if I could hold it until the following day when we would visit a hotel with an indoor toilet. Alas, my innards are not so strong and visiting the latrine became part of my education.
When I got to the door, I was rather surprised to see it had a lock on the outside. Weird, right?
Well, the lock really serves just to keep the door shut. I don’t think they really lock it that often. There is no door handle so when you’re in the inside, there is nothing to hold the door shut, except your hand. Did I mention it’s quite windy there? It is. So it takes a significant level of skill to take care of your business without having the door fly open.
If you notice in the photo, the latrine doors face away from the house. That’s a privacy measure.
Also even though it has a roof, the seat is still quite wet after it rains.
But as my son pointed out, you never have to worry about the latrine clogging up. You will never see a sign “Please don’t throw paper towels into the latrine.” I’m not even sure if there are paper towels in Lesotho.
The point of all this, in case you are wondering, is what the late great Steve Jobs said.
That is the work I do with my coaching clients, the work of using their imagination to see their situations in such a way that the benefits, solutions and opportunities jump out and bounce up and down, instead of skulking unnoticed and ignored in the dark corner.
A Primer on Mega Resourcefulness
If you want to get better at finding and creating abundance of any sort, i.e. developing mega resourcefulness, you first need to find examples. The examples are used to shut down or tone down your inner critic who is telling you not to be fooled by something silly like “mega resourcefulness.”
You probably have a suitcase full of examples but here’s another.
Visiting my son’s school in Lesotho, we were both greeted like rock stars. They were thrilled that Lea brought his mother. (Some thought I was his wife but I attribute that to “all white people look alike”.)
These kids walk between 1 and 2 hours each way to get to school. They wear clean, elegant and threadbare uniforms. They get no lunch. There is no lunch break between 8 am and 3:20 pm. There is no lunchroom. But do you see or hear moaning, groaning and whining about the lack of lunch? (Besides from me of course) Nope. The kids who are better off bring snacks, which they share. But it’s not a balanced or complete meal. Everyone is supremely cheerful.
So if these kids can have a good attitude with no lunch, maybe you and I can have a better attitude about having slower internet or traffic.
After you collect your samples of mega resourcefulness, then decide which problem you want to solve using these newly-found resources. The problem can be some form of doing more with less, or evergreen desire to build a stronger client base.
Now get out your pen and paper and finish this sentence 20 times using the 3 magical words:
We can _[the thing you want to do]__ if ________________________.
- We can get more exposure for our music festival if we partner with an art gallery to hold a cocktail party with our musicians performing.
- We can get more exposure for our music festival if we think of it as creating a new product category like The Laundress. (Remember metaphors and similes from English class? They’re useful!)
- We can get more exposure for our music festival if we remove any attitude of “needy arts” to allow us more magnetic confidence.
Got the picture? Become mega resourceful!
Mega Resourcefulness is a power tool for you solve any problem. Please let me know how you use this concept to make things better in your own world.
Laura Camacho is obsessed with communication as a tool for building bridges and businesses. She believes all conversations should be carried out with style and enthusiasm. And a presentation is just a special conversation. Read her bi-weekly posts at www.mixonian.com. She’s up for hire for quirky communication workshops and private coaching.