Sitting at my desk, feeling mentally swamped and stuck ~ I look around at the many different items all over it. One item in particular can be found pretty much ANY direction I look and it is one item that is a great metaphor for life and recovery. Can you guess what that item is? Sticky Notes! I’ve been a huge fan of the sticky note, ever since the first time I saw one when I was in middle school. I remember at that time thinking, “WOW – that is SO cool!”
The most well known brand of sticky note is of course, the ®Post It, which was produced by 3M and hit US store shelves in 1980. The creators of the ®Post It was: Arthur Fry, (American inventor and scientist) and Spencer Silver (American Chemist), who both worked for 3M. They first created the product under a different name, (the Press ‘n Peel), in the 1970’s. The original ®Post It was made with Canary Yellow paper and until the 1990’s when the patent expired, was made only in Cynthiana, KY.
Of course since then, other companies developed their own versions of “®Post It” notes, which also come in a variety of colors and designs. They are used in homes and offices for art projects and designs and even used in technology through “virtual notes”. Sticky notes work wonders for things we need “TO DO”; things that are needed to be “REMEMBERED”; “TASKS” that need to be done; as well as being used as “MOTIVATIONAL” and “ORGANIZATIONAL” tools. But the thing is…have you ever found that if all you do is make the notes and not “DO” what’s on them ~ then you just end up with a bunch of notes and a mess?
“Soooooo….what does ANY of this have to do with life or recovery?” (You might be asking) Let me pose this question: How many times have you ever heard or read something so incredible or with such impact that you said to yourself, “I will never forget that”? I know I’ve done it more times than I could ever possibly remember! I actually did begin, (at a certain point in my life); to make a note of things I see, hear, think of or learn, so that I wouldn’t forget them. Do you know what I would most often write them on? You got it – ®Post It Notes! But what will sometimes happen, is that I get busy and before long my note is one of many notes and I completely forget what the note was about, due to the amount of time that has gone by. The result then being the miserable reality that something which had really mattered to me is lost and the opportunity that it brought ~ lost right along with it!
What then is it, which has to happen for the things that really matter to have “Sticking Power”? Many years ago I was sitting in a church attending a meeting and noticed a list of 6 items outlining how “We Learn and Retain Information” and it went something like this:
10% of what we READ
20% of what we HEAR
30% of what we SEE
50% of what we READ/SEE and HEAR
80% of what we DO
95% of what we TEACH others
I found this to be really amazing…enough so, that I wrote it in the back of a book I have with or near me MUCH of the time! I immediately realized that this was quite literally the order of action taken in the 12 principles of recovery ~ that is, in developing a new manner of living that will “stick”. Over the years, I’ve personally grown tremendously in the areas of my life in which I have and continue to apply this 6 prong method of “Getting STUCK”. (Not to say that I’m not still guilty of grocery lists and the like that I put on paper and then forget about.) But when we want to grab hold of something important and make it become an actual “part of us”…we must resist the two deadly “A’s”: Apathy and Arrogance that either tells us “I will do it later” OR “I will never forget that”. The ability to allow those things of importance to remain with us will NEVER be found on a “sticky note”, but rather in our continual effort to maintain action behind what was “ON” the note! So go out there and get yourself STUCK!
©2014 Rebecca Balko
Resource for ®Post It ~ Wikipedia.com (and) Resource for Sticky Note definition ~ DictionaryReference.com