Thinkers and visionaries see old things in new ways; constantly preparing their minds to be observant and busy. They take on fresh amounts of information all the time, frequently producing new discoveries and conclusions. We can find many examples in history of people who had imaginative plans that have made us all more productive and efficient. It’s hard to understand how these people could think up some of these ideas. If you are like me, it’s humbling and the best we can do is to continue to ask questions, seek answers, and be teachable.
One thinker and visionary in 1948 named Walter Frederick Morrison gives us a good example of what can happen when people observe what’s going on around them and simply think of ways to invent products people will buy. Walter’s father was an inventor. In fact, his father invented the automobile sealed-beam headlight. After serving in World War II and being a prisoner of War in Stalag 13, Walter returned home to eventually be an inventor himself. He worked for the city of Los Angeles as a building inspector but in his spare time, he took action on an idea.
In 1948, flying saucers from outer space were beginning to capture people’s imagination so Walter decided to take his idea and try to turn it into a craze. He remembered as a boy collecting pie tins and throwing them; watching as the wind carried the pie tins long distances. Instead of tin, plastic was beginning to be used in many products so he perfected a pie tin built out of plastic that one could throw through the air like a flying saucer and a friend could catch on the other end.
In 1955, Wham-O bought the rights to his design and they looked for a catchy name to increase sales. They heard stories from people around the community of Bridgeport Connecticut of college students tossing around pie tins just like Walter did when he was younger. Many students attending New England colleges like Yale would purchase pies from a local bakery and save the pie tin; using them for hours of game and sport as they tossed them around to each other. The bakery was named Frisbie Baking Company, hence the toy we know today with the registered trademark name Frisbee. The company sold over one hundred million units before selling the toy to Mattel. Morrison received over $1 million in royalties for his invention.
I hope there is a lesson for you in this story. If you are older, you have all those years of experience to pull from. If you’re young, you have all that enthusiasm to get you going. You may have an idea just sitting in the back of your mind just waiting to be put to use. It’s not always easy but continued focus on the positives to clear out the negatives will help. Be inspired by stories like the story today of the inventor of the Frisbee who went through a difficult time in life as a prisoner of war. If a negative pops up, replace it with a positive to clean it up and keep going. Whatever age, identify your strengths and allow God to continue to form the great person you are. Know the truth about who you are – because God thinks you’re “AWESOME”. He’s been refining you over the years to fulfill the purpose for which He has for you.