Toilet paper rolls, these simple pieces of cardboard and versatility go hand in hand. It may be an unusual image, but more things have been made out of them than almost anything I know. All it takes is a creative mind and a refusal to limit one’s thinking. We all can turn simple everyday items and actions into a versatile, productive life.  

The modern tissue had its origins in our country around 1857 in New York. I don’t know who first used the cardboard roll as a craft item, but I imagine it didn’t take long. Most likely, it was someone with limited financial resources, and an unlimited imagination.  

My point is this, we all have a finite amount of materials, but we are not restricted to them alone. We have been blessed with minds that can turn throw away things into works of art. How much more can we do that with our own lives, if we take a few simple steps.

The first involves perspective. Take inventory of what you have to work with, and then refuse to be limited by it alone. To build a building, you have to be intimately familiar with the building blocks. Our problem is that, too often, we see a brick as just a brick. An architect turns three brick on their side, and places it above a window as a design element. The same brick that makes up the building, now reflects the structure’s character.

Your viewpoint can alter your entire path. For example, my Grandmother was a woman of limited income. Yet she seemed to have her own personal bank. Her health prevented her from extensive travel, but oh how she made use of her closet. 

It was as if she had bankers waiting to lend her money. Grandma would take a few dollars she had here and there, and slip them into a different piece of clothing. When the account “matured” she would make a withdrawal and send Grandpa to the store for her new living room suit.

Second, you must have tenacity. In mineralogy, tenacity refers to a mineral’s behavior when deformed or broken. Things are going to try to break you, to do deform you, or at the very least scar you. Their goal is not to injure your body, but to bruise your mind. Their hope is that if they can weaken your resolve, you will give up. They can hinder, but only you can stop you.

The third is flexibility. It may sound counterintuitive to the second, but I assure you it’s not. Tenacity is about refusing to quit, not being too rigid to alter a plan. You will succeed, but you may need to adjust your methods to get there.  

There are going to be times in your life when something isn’t working, and your attempts to fix it aren’t either. You must first ask yourself why what has worked in the past doesn’t now. The most likely answer is it’s a different problem.  

If it’s a different problem you have to look at it from a different perspective. Don’t allow frustration to force you into giving up, have the tenacity to see it through. Once you eliminate waking away, you’re committed to finding a new solution through flexibility.  

A toilet paper roll can be everything from a kazoo to a flying machine. A few crayons, a little glue, and a boundless mind turns trash into a toy. What do you have that can be transformed to improve your life?  

Our tool sheds will be different, but the skills to use them are universal. We are blessed with the same mental facilities that placed a man on the moon. They weren’t successes at first either. Before that big piece of metal landed on the moon, it was a paper rocket. Prior to the model it was a drawing, and before that it was an idea.  

One scientist’s propulsion system may have even entered existence as a hand propelling a toilet paper roll across the room. You have ideas, dreams, and hopes, don’t allow you’re struggle to stifle you. Refuse to be rigid, you may have to reshape a few things, but you can be successful. Take a fresh look at your life, and build with what you have. Where you start doesn’t dictate where, or how far you can go.

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