On May 8th, Spencer Silver died at the age of 80. His death did not get much notice or attention at the time, a shame considering his important contribution to societal progress. Whatever successes I may have had in my professional and/or personal life, some portion of credit must be attributed to the revolutionary tool he made available equally to us all.
Spencer Silver was the 3-M product developer who created the Post-It Notes. Those little yellow 3” x 3” square pads ubiquitously scattered about in home and office. The special sticky glue on one side allowed them to be posted virtually anywhere, on anything, moved around or removed at will. Upon them has been written the major building blocks of “things to be done” and “information to remember” that has kept America undeniably running more smoothly. No high-tech equipment are required when your pen and Post-Its are immediately handy on nearby countertops and desks.
In my own case, as a strategic planner, they made possible the easy collection of group brainstorming ideas, little visions of the future captured in 3-5 words sharable with others. As a project planner, individual project requirements and milestones could be easily identified, and scrambled and sorted into variable options for consideration. The home “to do” list covering all sorts of tasks-to-do are conveniently noted at the moment of realization, then efficiently transported to the appropriate wall, mirror or desk most appropriate to any household member you feel needs “reminding.” Highly important is their use as a sleep aid – those minutes (seemingly hours) you toss and turn in bed thinking about some “critical” idea, or brainstorming a needed solution, or drafting a document to be written (e.g. a blog essay), all in dialog with your over-stimulated mind in lieu of sleep. Finally, you get up, grab your pen and Post-It pad on your nightstand, and write down those key words that assure you that your ideas will not be forgotten come the rude awakening of morning. Nervous energy turns into calm sleep at last.
For these and many other examples, we owe a debt to a guy by the name of Spencer Silver. It is human nature to want to save the world, change the difficult life conditions of humanity, accomplish “big ideas” for the sake of future generations. Yet, in its own way, the Post-It note reminds us that sometimes it is the small idea, the single step forward, that just helps us along a little more easily. It is someone – typically unnamed – who benefits us by sharing a moment of their inherent creativity. We should remember that it is often the accumulated little steps we take that make the big ones possible, so it behooves us to notice and acknowledge such contributions and acts of kindness as we come across them.
For that reminder, we thank you Spencer Silver. And I now consign to the paper recycle box the Post-It note written weeks ago reminding me to write this statement. Task done.
© 2021 Randy Bell https://OurSpiritualWay.blogspot.com