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Friday, April 25, 2014

Money Versus Ingenuity

Posted by Raul on December 2, 2010



    Having money to pay for all the stuff we need seems to be the perfect solution for a simplified and easy life, yet money can become a problem, even if is in small amounts.

    What I see (and it has happened to me) is the lost of ingenuity to solve even simple, everyday problems. We tend to just use money for everything (plastic…kicking the purchase to the future) and forget how to use our creativity. I know because when in my country in South America, due to a lack of money, I used to take apart every mechanical device that supposed to be disposable, and fix it with ingenuity and lots of work.

    For some time, while in the States, I used the normal procedure of throwing away and buying a new one. Soon I discovered I was loosing my capability of thinking, analyzing, and even the fun of fixing something that suppose to be “not fixable” (breaking the system :) ), and instead having the stress of requiring more and more money.

    Let me give you an example:

    Some time ago I had a problem with the alternator in my van. It stopped charging, and for a vehicle with everything electric, and using it for night delivery, it just couldn’t be driven without it. So I checked the cost in an auto part store and got shocked: More than 300 dollars for a rebuilt one! I just couldn’t afford it at that moment.

    So decided to go back to the “ingenuity solution system” and took the alternator apart to find out what the exact problem was. It happened to be the carbon brushes that wore out beyond the minimum size. So searched in my tool box and found a couple of old, used carbon brushes from another vehicle, which were bigger in size. I sand them down to the approximate size required, then installed them in the alternator and returned it to the vehicle.

    It worked like a charm! It’s been more than 25,000 miles since then and it is still working without a problem. Total cost: Zero!  Time: Approximately twice that it’ll take just exchanging the old alternator for a new one (four hours).

    There are many things we can do, not only to save money, but to keep “oiled” our creativity, and avoid becoming more and more dependant on money to solve everyday problems.

    It is really nice to just buy and replace, especially when there’s new, with more features to enjoy, but the problem is we are giving up our thinking capabilities in the process, and after a while, we might find ourselves unable to find solutions to bigger, life-size problems, becoming people highly trained in using the latest device, yet desperate for more money to sustain our way of life, and having at the same time a sense of loss that we cannot explain (so many in search of minimalism, self awareness, inner balance, and so on).

    “Sometimes having money can destroy a good, working brain”

    Ahh…the pleasures of not being rich!  :)


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