Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Better Mouse Trap

It wasn't one of my finer moments. The strategy was simple - by employing shock and awe tactics scare the mice that had invaded my condo to either surrender or to return beyond their own borders. I had marched into Home Depot, equipped myself with the necessary accoutrements (that's for you, Ralph) and went on the attack. Except there was one minor problem - I couldn't figure out how to use the mouse trap.

Now if you're like me you're probably thinking, 'it's a mouse trap, how difficult can it be?" That is an excellent question. The answer - surprisingly, maybe even astonishingly, so. Now mind you this wasn't some new fangled, high-tech mouse trap. It was your standard wooden base, metal lever, disposable weapon of choice that had been used for generations, and despite all my years of wasted education, I couldn't figure it out.

The concept of making a better mouse trap is a tried and true one. Throughout my years of business school it was repeatedly preached. After a while you realize it's not a better mouse trap that's needed. What you need is to differentiate your mouse trap from the rest, to somehow take the commonness of the trap and make it desirable to the masses.

In a way, that's what we all need. We need something to set us apart, to make us feel special in a sea of ordinariness. To some how, in some way, feel like we offer a value that can't be realized in the other mouse traps of this world. Although we may look and act the same, there's something that makes us different and therefore wanted.

The mouse trap that I had purchased at Home Depot seemed simple. And to the person who showed me how to use it, it was. But that's because he understood it; I thought I did, but I was wrong. How many relationships suffer from the same fate?



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A Better Mouse Trap