When I was in second grade, my teacher assigned my class to create our own science project. Like most kids at that time, I went straight to the World Book Encyclopedia to search for ideas. After a while, I spotted a scale that looked like it was within my ability to build. My chief obstacle was that my family was poor, so I had no building materials or tools with which to create my project.
But even at that young age, not having any financial resources was teaching me a valuable lesson. I was learning to innovate. I looked around my house and yard, gathered whatever materials I could, and pieced together my small scale.
I have to admit my little project looked pretty ridiculous sitting next to the polished projects built by my classmates—two small pieces of wood joined by a nail, creating the fulcrum and beam, and two pieces of plastic tied with string serving as the pans. Suffice to say, I was pretty humiliated by my efforts, until the teacher and one of my classmates and then another, began to compliment my innovativeness.
It was one of the first times in my life that I learned that if the perfect materials fail to present themselves, then I need to use whatever imperfect materials I have at hand.
When you don’t have the materials you want, that doesn’t mean you don’t have something you can use to get the job done. You have something better than the perfect set of circumstances. You have a brain. Use it to innovate your solution.